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Team USA Wins Pan Am Medal Count with Women’s Epee and Men’s Saber Golds

06/21/2013, 11:30pm CDT
By Nicole Jomantas

The U.S. Men's Saber Team celebrates gold. (L-R): Coach Ed Korfanty, Eli Dershwitz, Jonah Shainberg, Aleksander Ochocki, Jeff Spear and athletic trainer Giuseppe Giovatto. Photo Credit: Cathy Zagunis

The U.S. Women's Epee Team on top of the podium. Photo Credit: Cathy Zagunis.

(Colorado Springs, Colo.) – Team USA concluded the Pan American Championships with two more gold medal victories in women’s team epee and men’s team saber in Cartagena, Colombia on Friday.

With 14 individual medals and six team medals total over the course of the six-day tournament, Team USA claimed gold in four of six individual events and five of six team events.

Seeded first in the women’s epee competition, Team USA opened with a match against Cuba – a strong team that is often an unknown entity as the Cubans rarely fence World Cup competitions. With a starting lineup of London Olympic medalists Maya Lawrence (Teaneck, N.J.), Kelley Hurley (San Antonio, Texas) and Kat Holmes (Washington, D.C.) who won her first senior medal this week with a silver in the individual event, Team USA took an early lead with Lawrence as the opener. The Americans kept the lead for the next five bouts and held off a late attack by the Cubans as London Olympic medalist Courtney Hurley (San Antonio, Texas) was subbed in for the final bout and picked up nine touches against individual bronze medalist Cleia Guilhon  to give Team USA the win, 45-31.

Team USA dominated the semifinals against Canada for a 45-19 victory with all four athletes fencing in the match and Courtney Hurley winning the final bout, 5-1, against Canadian anchor Joanna Guy.

In the gold medal final, Brazil came out with a 5-3 lead after the first bout, but Holmes scored seven to give Team USA a one-touch lead at 10-9. Kelley Hurley won the next bout, 5-2, for a 15-11 overall lead. Lawrence split touches in the next bout and Kelley’s 5-1 victory in the fifth increased Team USA’s lead to eight. Courtney Hurley was subbed in for Holmes at the start of the sixth bout and took a 5-2 victory in her first bout of the match. Kelley Hurley and Lawrence both held off a late push by the Brazilians and Lawrence’s 6-3 final bout put Team USA up 40-29 after the eighth bout. Courtney Hurley returned as anchor to finish the match with a score of 45-37.

The men’s saber team also began the tournament as the top seed. After a bye into the quarters, Team USA faced a difficult opening match against Brazil – a team led by Renzo Agresta who defeated three of the four Americans in the individual event.

With London Olympian Daryl Homer (Bronx, N.Y.) absent from the team competition due to work commitments after his bronze medal win on Tuesday, 17-year-old Jonah Shainberg (Rye, N.Y.) was added to the lineup as a member of his first senior team.

Shainberg gave Team USA a solid start as he outscored Agresta, 5-2, in the opening bout. London Olympian Jeff Spear (Wynantskill, N.Y.) and former Junior World medalists Aleksander Ochocki (Linden, N.J.) and Eli Dershwitz (Sherborn, Mass.) won each of the next seven bouts before Spear anchored Team USA to a 45-18 victory.

All four athletes fenced in the semifinals as well where Team USA won eight bouts and tied one against Cuba for a 45-29 win.

Fencing Canada for gold for the fourth straight year at this event, Team USA had the challenge of living up to a Pan Am legacy of an undefeated streak in the team competition that dates back to the first Pan Ams Zonals in 2006.

With all four fencers back in action again for Team USA, Canada led the match for the first four bouts until Dershwitz scored 10 against 2012 Pan American Champion Joseph Polossifakis (CAN) to give Team USA a 25-24 lead which grew to 40-36 when Spear held off Polossifakis to give Team USA the win, 45-41.

Click here to view complete men’s team saber results.

Click here to view complete women’s team epee results.

Top eight results are as follows:

Women’s Team Epee
1. USA

2. Brazil
3. Argentina
4. Canada
5. Cuba
6. Venezuela
7. Dominican Republic
8. Chile

Men’s Team Saber
1. USA

2. Canada
3. Venezuela
4. Cuba
5. Colombia
6. Mexico
7. Dominican Republic
8. Brazil

Tag(s): News  Eli Dershwitz  Kelley Hurley