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Massialas and Jarocki Win Gold and Silver at Junior Worlds

04/13/2013, 10:00pm CDT
By Nicole Jomantas

Alexander Massialas (right) scores the winning touch for gold against Lorenzo Nista (ITA). Photo credit: Serge Timacheff / FIE /

Alexander Massialas Becomes First U.S. Men’s Foil Fencer to Win Individual Gold at Junior Worlds, Adrienne Jarocki Claims Saber Silver

Saber fencer Adrienne Jarocki (far left) won silver at her first Junior Worlds. Photo credit: Serge Timacheff / FIE /

(Colorado Springs, Colo.) – Although the U.S. Men’s Foil Team has collected three team titles at the Junior World Championships in the last three years and individual medals of various colors at the last four Junior Worlds, there is one position that has been left open in the U.S. trophy case – individual gold.

Alexander Massialas (San Francisco, Calif.) has come close in each of the last two years. Before he was an Olympian... before he earned a #5 senior world ranking and multiple World Cup medals in a season… before he was an NCAA Champion as a freshman at Stanford… Massialas was a 16-year-old who won silver at the Junior Worlds in 2011 and a 17-year-old who won bronze in 2012.

Seeded fourth in the tournament in Porec, Croatia, Massialas opened with a 15-4 victory over Nikita Nagaev (RUS) in the table of 32 on Friday, but his quest for gold almost ended in the 16 when Russian Pavel Borontov (RUS) took a 7-1 lead against Massialas during the first period. Massialas cut his deficit to two in the last 30 seconds before the break and tied the bout at eight during the second period. The American finished with three straight touches to finish with a 15-11 win.

While many expected that Massialas and his London teammate Race Imboden (Brooklyn, N.Y.) could take the top two spots on the podium, that vision ended on Thursday when Massialas and Imboden both went undefeated in the pools and would be seeded fourth and fifth in the direct elimination tables – positions that would set up an All-American quarter-final. 

In another unfortunate twist to the draw, Imboden had to fence teammate Nobuo Bravo (San Francisco, Calif.) in the table of 32. Imboden took the win over the Penn State freshman by a 15-11 margin and defeated Mark Perelmann (GER), 15-5, in the table of 16.

Massialas took an early 4-1 lead over Imboden and finished the bout, 15-8, in the first period.

In the semifinals, Massialas was up, 12-10, over Russian Kirill Lichagin at the break. Massialas scored five straight touches in the first 18 seconds of the next period to finish the bout.

Massialas faced Italian Lorenzo Nista (ITA) in the gold medal final and found himself down, 4-2, early in the bout. Massialas brought the score back to a tie at four and the lead was exchanged several times before the break where Massialas was up, 7-8. Massialas took a 12-9 lead in the second period and, although Nista came back to tie the bout at 12, the American prevailed for a 15-13 victory.

“It was a hard fought day and I had to go through a teammate, three Russians and, finally, an Italian who beat me in the semifinals of the Cadet World Championships four or five years ago, so it was a tough day, but I made it through in the end,” Massialas said.

Massialas’s was the latest podium finish for his family after his 16-year-old sister won silver in the cadet event earlier this week. The sport is truly a family affair as both siblings are coached by their father -- three-time Olympian Greg Massialas (San Francisco, Calif.)

“My sister’s grown up looking at me and my results and my dad’s been there every step of the way and all the invisible stuff my mom does.  It’s been years of her driving me to practice and no one really gives her enough credit, so my mom’s been great and it really means a lot to bring this home as a family,” Alexander Massialas said.

On Sunday, Massialas, Imboden, Bravo and Harvard freshman Brian Kaneshige (Maplewood, N.J.) will fence in the team event where they will attempt to defend their Junior World title for the fourth straight time.

"I think we have a very strong team.  We’ve gotten three gold medals in a row. I think we can win it all and we’re going to win it all," he said.

For 17-year-old saber fencer Adrienne Jarocki (Middle Village, N.Y.), the journey to the Junior Worlds podium was a short one.

After taking up the sport just three years ago, the former ballroom dancer and one-time Miss New York Preteen shot up the rankings this season to not only claim a spot on the Junior World Team for the first time, but earn a #4 junior world ranking at the start of the tournament.

Jarocki finished the pools with a 5-1 record to earn a #8 seed in the direct elimination tables.

In the table of 32, Jarocki defeated Italian Chiara Mormile, 15-12.  

Jarocki led Oceane Chery Emmanuel (FRA), 8-3, at the break in the table of 16 and, although she gave up a touch on a penalty, Jarocki still controlled the bout for a 15-9 win.

With one more win needed to secure a medal, Jarocki scored five straight touches against Darya Andreyeva (BLR) to take an 8-3 lead. Jarocki’s momentum continued in the second half where she outscored the Belarussian, 7-4, to win the quarter-finals.

In the semifinals, Jarocki scored 11 touches without before Martina Scriscio (ITA) put a score on the board – an almost unheard of feat at the Junior Worlds. Scriscio earned two more touches, but Jarocki won the bout, 15-3.

Jarocki took the finals strip just minutes after Massialas won gold and she was prepared to make it a double gold day for Team USA.

Jarocki was up 8-7 at the break against four-time Junior World Team member Alina Komaschuk (UKR) and took the lead to 14-12 late in the second period.

“I actually never fenced her before this, not even a pool bout. I just knew that I had to be aggressive and not let her push me around and control me. I started off really well and thought we were kind of head to head the whole time. I thought I was getting better actions on her. I was controlling the bout more. I was getting parry ripostes,” Jarocki said of her finals opponent.

When two lights went off during the next exchange, Jarocki thought she had won the bout, but the score was awarded to the Ukrainian.

“I thought at 14-12 that was my touch, but I videoed and it wasn’t,” she said.

Komaschuk scored the next touch to tie the bout at 14 and, after three simultaneous attacks, Komaschuk took the touch for a 15-14 victory when Jarocki’s blade hit her opponent’s guard and one light went off for the Ukrainian.

“This is my first time at World Championships and it’s been one of the greatest experiences of my life. I really feel united with everybody here as a team,” Jarocki said. “We’re not competing against each other. We’re completely rooting for each other and it was really nice how we had the flags and everyone was cheering for me and Alex.”

Jarocki’s accomplishment puts her in good company as each of the four Americans to have won women’s saber medals at the Junior Worlds have gone on to qualify for Olympic Teams later in their careers.

Jarocki’s teammates in Croatia – two-time Junior World Team member Sage Palmedo (Portland, Ore.) and 2012 Cadet World medalist Skyla Powers (Decatur, Ga.) – both finished in the top 16.

Palmedo, who finished eighth in the cadet event earlier this week, was seeded first out of the junior pools and opened the table of 32 on Friday with a 15-9 victory over Maria Carreno (VEN).

Palmedo lost on her final touch against Darya Andreyeva (BLR), 15-14, in the table of 16 to finish ninth.

While #2 seed Sofia Ciaraglia (ITA) began her table of 32 bout against Powers with a 4-1 lead, the American scored seven of the next eight touches and was up, 8-5, going into the break. Powers finished the bout, 15-12.

Powers’s run came to an end in the table of 16 when she lost to Mariya Ridel (FRA), 15-10.

Jarocki, Palmedo and Powers will all fence in the team event with 2012 Cadet World medalist Francesca Russo (Wayne, N.J.) beginning on Sunday.

“I think we’re the only country where all three girls made the 16 and I think we’re going to be ranked #1 for the team event which means we’re gonna get a bye and we’re gonna have a nice path,” Jarocki said.

The team competition will begin on Saturday for the Americans when the junior men’s saber and women’s foil teams fence in the table of 16

The men’s and women’s epee events also will begin on Saturday with the early rounds. Epee finals will be held on Sunday, beginning with the table of eight. 

Click here to watch the action live on the FIE YouTube Channel. 


Click here for complete results.


Top eight and U.S. results are as follows:


Junior Men’s Foil
1. Alexander Massialas (San Francisco, Calif.)
2. Lorenzo Nista (ITA)
3. Alexander Choupenitch (CZE)
3. Kirill Lichagin (RUS)
5. Race Imboden (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
6. Tevfik Burak Babaoglu (TUR)
7. Amol Rattan (GBR)
8. Stanislav Sudilovsky (ISR)

26. Nobuo Bravo (San Francisco, Calif.)

Junior Women’s Saber
1. Alina Komashchuk (UKR)
2. Adrienne Jarocki (Middle Village, N.Y.)
3. Martina Criscio (ITA)
3. Mariya Ridel (RUS)
5. Iryna Shchukla (UKR)
6. Manon Brunet (FRA)
7. Darya Andreyeva (BLR)
8. Anna Marton (HUN)

9. Sage Palmedo (Portland, Ore.)
15. Skyla Powers (Decatur, Ga.)


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