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Absolute Fencing Gear® Korfanty World Cup Preview

05/01/2013, 5:45pm CDT
By Nicole Jomantas

Team USA to Take on 32 Nations at the Absolute Fencing Gear® Korfanty World Cup in Chicago, May 3-5

(Chicago, Ill.) – Thirty U.S. men and 30 women will represent Team USA at the Absolute Fencing Gear® Korfanty World Cup this weekend at the University of Illinois at Chicago, 839 W. Roosevelt Rd.

General admission tickets are available for $5 per day or $12 for a three-day pass at

Team USA will fence athletes from 32 nations at this saber event – the only World Cup held on U.S. soil and the final saber World Cup of the season.

In 2012, this tournament was renamed in honor of Ed Korfanty (Portland, Ore.) – the coach of two-time Olympic Champion Mariel Zagunis (Beaverton, Ore.) Zagunis will be looking for gold after silver medal finishes at this event in 2011 and 2012. Ranked #2 in the world, Zagunis will be challenged by Olga Kharlan (UKR) who recently assumed the top position in the world rankings. While Kharlan defeated Zagunis in the bronze medal bout at the London Games, the two have split their bouts on the circuit this year with Zagunis taking the win at the Gent World Cup in Belgium and Kharlan winning their bout at the Antalya World Cup in Turkey.

Korean Jiyeon Kim upset Zagunis in the semifinals of the London Games and, though she has only medaled once on the circuit this season, will be looking to prove that she can win it all again.

Americans Dagmara Wozniak and Ibtihaj Muhammad will both enter this World Cup ranked in the top 16 in the world. Wozniak, who finished eighth in London, has four individual World Cup medals to her credit and Muhammad reached the podium for the first time in Bologna in March where she placed second behind Zagunis.

While Zagunis’s position on the 2013 Senior World Championship Team has been mathematically secured, her teammates will be vying for the remaining three positions on the squad that will compete in Budapest, Hungary in August.

Fencing her hometown of Chicago, Eliza Stone (Chicago, Ill.) joined the full Senior World Cup circuit for the first time this season and made her mark with a top-16 finish at the Orleans Grand Prix in France and a seventh-place result at the Gent World Cup in Belgium in February. Ranked fourth in the nation after winning the Division I National Championships two weeks ago, Stone is aiming for her first World Cup medal and a position on her first Senior World Team.

Although she has had a slow start to the season with just two top-64 results on the World Cup circuit and is ranked eighth in the team standings now, two-time Senior World Team medalist Daria Schneider (New York City, N.Y.) has been on every Senior World Team since 2009 and has earned both individual and team World Cup podium finishes in the past.  

All four members of the U.S. Team that won gold at the Junior World Championships will be fencing in Chicago as well.

With valuable ranking points on the line in Chicago, the juniors who won the U.S. Women’s Saber Team’s first gold at the Junior Worlds since 2006 will all be vying for potential senior team berths.

Both Sage Palmedo (Portland, Ore.) and Adrienne Jarocki (Middle Village, N.Y.) have had success on the Senior World Cup circuit this season. Palmedo is ranked fifth in the national team standings after placing in the top 32 at four of the five World Cups so far this season. Jarocki is ranked 10th after two top-64 finishes at Senior World Cups and a gold medal win at the December North American Cup.

Skyla Powers (Decatur, Ga.) and Francesca Russo (Wayne, N.J.) are also hoping to follow their gold medal win in Croatia with success in Chicago. Ranked 12th and 13th, respectively, Powers and Russo are still in possible contention for Senior World Team qualification.

On the men’s side, all three of the individual medalists from the London Olympic Games will be in action at the Flames Athletic Center.

Aron Szilagyi (HUN) not only won gold in London, but his success has continued this season with three bronze medal finishes on the international circuit and a gold medal at the Athens World Cup in Greece last week. With four medals in the last five events, Szilagyi has a stronghold on the #1 ranking in the world.

After winning an Olympic medal in the team event in 2008, Diego Occhiuzzi (ITA) broke through in London to take the silver medal in the individual competition as well as a bronze in team.

London bronze medalist Nikolay Kovalev leads a trio of Russians who all of have podium potential. In addition to Kovalev, Russia’s contingent also includes Veniamin Reshetnikov who won bronze at the 2010 Senior Worlds.

Both Yakimenko and Reshetnikov fell short of the podium in London after losses to Americans, however.

One of those U.S. fencers – Daryl Homer (Bronx, N.Y.) – will be in Chicago looking for his first individual World Cup finish. Homer placed sixth in London after knocking off the former world #1 in the table of 16 and would love to add a new list of upsets to his resume in Chicago.

Homer’s London teammate, Jeff Spear (Wynantskill, N.Y.) earned a career-high 12th place finish at the Plovdiv Grand Prix in January, but an injury at the Madrid World Cup in February kept Spear out of the next three international events. Spear returned to competition last weekend at the Athens World Cup.

Ben Igoe (Staten Island, N.Y.) has fenced in the table of 64 twice during this international season and is looking to qualify for his fourth straight Senior World Team with a solid result in Chicago.

A 2010 Junior World Team medalist, Aleksander Ochocki (Linden, N.J.) won the Division I National Championships for the first time in April and placed in the top 32 in Plovdiv and the top 64 in Athens.

Eli Dershwitz (Sherborn, Mass.) has only fenced twice at the senior international level, but he finished in the top 64 in Plovdiv and placed 29th at the Korfanty Cup in 2012 – the third highest result for a U.S. male fencer at the event. This will be Dershwitz’s first event since winning bronze at the Junior Worlds in April.

Competition schedule is as follows:

Friday, May 3 (Physical Education Building)
9 a.m.
Women’s Individual Pool Rounds and Preliminary Tables

1 p.m.
Men’s Individual Pool Rounds and Preliminary Tables

Saturday, May 4 (Flames Athletic Center)
9 a.m.
Women’s Individual Direct Elimination Table of 64 – Quarter-finals

1:40 p.m.
Men’s Individual Direct Elimination Table of 64 – Quarter-finals

6:30 p.m.
Men’s and Women’s Individual Semifinal and Final and Final Rounds

Sunday, May 5 (Flames Athletic Center)
8:20 a.m.
Women’s Team Direct Elimination Tables

Men’s Team Direct Elimination Tables

6 p.m.
Men’s and Women’s Bronze and Gold Medal Matches

Click here to view the entrants list.

The roster of U.S. competitors is as follows:

U.S. Men’s Roster
Christofer Ahn (Houston, Texas)
Gabriel Armijo (San Diego, Calif.)
Sam Austin (Chapel Hill, N.C.)
Ameen Borojerdi (Plantation, Fla.)
Sean Buckley (Secaucus, N.J.)
Edward Chin (Livingston, N.J.)
Michael Costin (Culver City, Calif.)
Jeffrey Dalli (San Carlos, Calif.)
Donovan Deans (Tempe, Ariz.)
Eli Dershwitz (Sherborn, Mass.)
Evangelos Efstathiou (Cambridge, Mass.)
Andrew Fischl (Huntington, N.Y.)
John Hallsten (Sacramento, Calif.)
Daryl Homer (Bronx, N.Y.)
Ben Igoe (Staten Island, N.Y.)
Thomas Kolasa (Princeton, N.J.)
Calvin Liang (Phoenix, Ariz.)
Geoffrey Loss (Laguna Beach, Calif.)
Andrew Mackiewicz (Westwood, Mass.)
Christopher Monti (Cary, Ill.)
Benjamin Natanzon (Manalpan, N.J.)
Aleksander Ochocki (Linden, N.J.)
Evan Prochniak (Hudson, N.H.)
Bartosz Pukal (Evanston, Ill.)
Jonah Shainberg (Rye, N.Y.)
Peter Souders (Silver Springs, Md.)
Jeff Spear (Wynantskill, N.Y.)
Kaito Streets (Redwood City, Calif.)
Marty Williams (Plainfield, N.J.)
Matthew Zich (New York City, N.Y.)

U.S. Women’s Roster
Monica Aksamit (Matawan, N.J.)
Riya Dave (Ardsley, N.Y.)
Nicole Glon (State College, Pa.)
Alisha Gomez (Wayne, N.J.)
Aziza Hassan (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
Adrienne Jarocki (Middle Village, N.Y.)
Lena Johnson (Peachtree City, Ga.)
Ilana Kamber (Short Hills, N.J.)
Emma Keehan (Chandler, Ariz.)
Sophie Keehan (Chandler, Ariz.)
Dana Kong (Princeton, N.J.)
Allison Lee (Saddle River, N.J.)
Joanna Lew (Durham, N.C.)
Desirae Major (Broomfield, Colo.)
Margaret McDonald (Atlanta, Ga.)
Celina Merza (Wayne, N.J.)
Sarah Merza (Wayne, N.J.)
Alison Miller (Chicago, Ill.)
Faizah Muhammad (Maplewood, N.J.)
Ibtihaj Muhammad (Maplewood, N.J.)
Sage Palmedo (Portland, Ore.)
Skyla Powers (Decatur, Ga.)
Francesca Russo (Wayne, N.J.)
Daria Schneider (New York City, N.Y.)
Eliza Stone (Chicago, Ill.)
Gracie Stone (Chicago, Ill.)
Kamali Thompson (Teaneck, N.J.)
Dagmara Wozniak (Avenel, N.J.)
Kimberly Young (Gilbert, Ariz.)
Mariel Zagunis (Beaverton, Ore.)

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