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Jeff Spear Places 20th, Men’s Saber World Team Finalized at Warsaw Grand Prix

05/20/2013, 10:15pm CDT
By Nicole Jomantas

Jeff Spear. Photo Credit: Amy Timacheff /

(Colorado Springs, Colo.) – In 2012, Jeff Spear (Wynantskill, N.Y.) competed at the London Olympic Games in his second appearance ever on a U.S. Senior National Team.

Now Spear has become one of the elder statesmen of the squad as he and Daryl Homer (Bronx, N.Y.) are the only two men’s saber fencers from the London Games set to return to the team for the 2013 Senior World Championships in August in Budapest, Hungary.

While 2008 Olympic team silver medalist James Williams (New York City, N.Y.) hasn’t competed since London, his two-time Olympic teammate, Tim Morehouse (New York City, N.Y.) fenced the first half of the season and is ranked #2 in the nation, but has stated that he will not be competing at either the Senior Worlds or the Pan American Championships in June in Cartagena, Colombia.

With Morehouse taking a break from competition to focus on his foundation – Fencing in the Schools – and his new job as a correspondent for E! News, the opportunity to qualify for both teams was open to all seven Americans who fenced at the Warsaw Grand Prix in Poland this weekend.

Homer, who finished sixth at the Olympic Games and has earned three top-eight international results this season, secured his #1 position after placing sixth at the Absolute Fencing Gear® Korfanty World Cup in Chicago two weeks ago. With his position on the team locked, Homer chose to stay in New York for the weekend and walk in his commencement ceremony at St. John’s University.

Spear and his six U.S. teammates each began the weekend with a chance to move into one of the four available positions on the team.

Seeded 16th in the tournament, Spear earned a bye into the table of 64 while his teammates were left to fence in the pools and preliminary rounds on Saturday.

Andrew Fischl (Huntington, N.Y.) and Spear’s younger brother, Will Spear (Wynantskill, N.Y.) were each eliminated after the pool rounds after posting 2-4 and 1-5 records, respectively.

The losses meant that the elder Spear brother secured his position on the team alongside Homer.

With two spots up for grabs, Aleksander Ochocki (Linden, N.J.), Evangelos Efstathiou (Cambridge, Mass.), Peter Souders (Silver Spring, Md.) and Ben Igoe (Staten Island, N.Y.) all advanced from the pools and into the preliminary table of 64.

Ochocki defeated Canadian Philippe Beaudry, 15-11, and Igoe took out Mikolaj Grzegorek (POL), 15-8.

Efstathiou lost his bout to Massimiliano Murolo (ITA), 15-5, which meant he would gain no points from the tournament and remained 26th in the national team standings. Souders dropped his bout to Johannes Klebes (GER), 15-7, and stayed 13th in the standings.

With just three Americans fencing in the table of 64, not only were Spear and Homer’s positions secured, but Ochocki locked his first Senior World Team berth as well, leaving one spot left as the Senior World Team race would come down to two athletes – Igoe and 17-year-old Eli Dershwitz (Sherborn, Mass.)

Dershwitz, who won his second Junior World medal in April, did not compete in Warsaw, but he was ranked ahead of Igoe in the national team standings at the start of the weekend.

Igoe would need a win in the table of 64 to move into Dershwitz’s position and earn his fourth trip to the Senior Worlds.

Igoe drew three-time Senior World medalist Tamas Decsi (HUN) in his opening bout on Sunday and fell one touch short of qualifying for Team USA as he lost the bout, 15-14.

Dershwitz held on for the fourth position on the team with Homer, Spear and Ochocki.

The full Senior World and Pan Am Teams will be announced following the conclusion of the women’s saber and men’s epee international events next weekend.

While Ochocki lost his table of 64 bout to 2012 Olympic bronze medalist Luigi Samele (ITA), 15-8, Spear defeated Mathias Willau (AUT), 15-7.

Spear lost his table of 32 bout by a score of 15-6 to Matyas Szabo (GER), the 2011 Junior World Champion who won his first Senior World Cup gold in Chicago at the Absolute Fencing Gear® Korfanty World Cup.

Click here to view complete results.

Top eight and U.S. results are as follows, including athletes who placed outside the top 64 on Saturday:

Warsaw Saber Grand Prix
1. Aliaksandr Buikevich (BLR)
2. Diego Occhiuzzi (ITA)
3. Bongil Gu (KOR)
3. Benedikt Wagner (GER)
5. Luigi Samele (ITA)
6. Andriy Yagodka (UKR)
7. Julien Pillet (FRA)
8. Junghyun Kim (KOR)

20. Jeff Spear (Wynantskill, N.Y.)
48. Ben Igoe (Staten Island, N.Y.)
60. Aleksander Ochocki (Linden, N.J.)
78. Peter Souders (Silver Spring, Md.)

87. Evangelos Efstathiou (Cambridge, Mass.)
94. Andrew Fischl (Huntington, N.Y.)
106. Will Spear (Wynantskill, N.Y.)

Tag(s): News  Eli Dershwitz  Daryl Homer  Jeff Spear