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Team USA Sweeps Golds in Chalons

11/26/2013, 3:45pm CST
By Nicole Jomantas

Gold medalist Justin Yoo and silver medalist Esteban Sanchez on the podium in Chalons. Photo Credit: Andrey Geva

(Colorado Springs, Colo.) – Team USA’s men’s epee fencers claimed gold in both the individual and team competition at the Chalons Cadet European Cup in France over the weekend.

The U.S. team set the tone for the weekend when 16-year-olds Justin Yoo (La Verne, Calif.) and Esteban Sanchez (League City, Texas) won gold and silver, respectively, in the individual competition on Saturday.

Yoo and Sanchez both went undefeated in the pools and earned byes into the table of 128 as the third and fourth seeds, respectively.

Yoo’s first bout pitted him against teammate Leonard Behrens (Cincinnati, Ohio). Yoo took the win, 15-7, over the 16-year-old and won his table of 64 bout against Valerio Cuomo (ITA), 15-8.

In the table of 32, Yoo defeated Alvaro Gil Martinez (ESP), 15-10, and won his next two bouts by the same score over Philipp Kondring (GER) and Samuel Unterhauser (GER) to advance to the quarter-finals.

Although Sanchez is still in his first year on the cadet European circuit, he got off to a quick start in the direct elimination tables with three straight single-digit victories.

Sanchez advanced to the table of 16 with wins over Louis Maurier (FRA), 15-9; Zachary Zeller (Henderson, Nev.), 15-6; and Manuel-Stephen Horstmann (GER), 15-8.

Sanchez moved on to the quarter-finals after winning his next two bouts by 15-12 scores against Italians Federico Marenco and Riccardo Abate.

With the Americans on opposite sides of the table, Yoo and Sanchez each needed two more victories to set up an all-American gold medal final.

Yoo won his quarter-final bout against Linus Slas-Flygare (SWE), 15-12, and defeated Romain Cannone (FRA), 15-13.

Sanchez took a quick win over Pierre-Emmanuel Rodriguez (FRA), 15-7, in the quarters and Rico Braun (GER), 15-12, in the semis.

A three-time gold medalist at the North American Cups this year, Yoo won his fourth title of 2013 when he defeated Sanchez, 15-10, in the final bout.

Sanchez returned to competition on Sunday when he led USA 2 to a gold medal finish in the team event.

Seeded third out of the pools, Sanchez and teammates Gabriel Weininger (Northbrook, Ill.), Zachary Zeller (Henderson, Nev.) and Nicholas Campbell-Kruger (Boulder, Colo.) drew USA 1 in the quarter-finals and won the match, 38-37, over the team of Robin Cheong (San Antonio, Texas), Charles Horowitz (Los Angeles, Calif.), Wesley Johnson (Pleasant View, Utah) and Michael Popovici (Katy, Texas).

The match against their American teammates would be the closest of the day for USA 2 as the team went on to defeat Italy 2, 45-38, in the semis and France 1, 45-39, in the gold medal final.

Click here to view complete results.

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

Chalons Individual Epee Cadet European Cup
1. Justin Yoo (La Verne, Calif.)
2. Esteban Sanchez (League City, Texas)

3. Rico Braun (GER)
3. Romain Cannone (FRA)
5. Marco Brinkmann (GER)
6. Samuel Unterhauser (GER)
7. Linus Islas-Flygare (SWE)
8. Pierre-Emmanuel Rodriguez (FRA)

15. Robin Cheong (San Antonio, Texas)
18. Michael Popovici (Katy, Texas)
24. Charlie Horowitz (Los Angeles, Calif.)
27. Joshua Cole (Chappaqua, N.Y.)
40. Oliver Shindler (Chicago, Ill.)
52. Zachary Zeller (Henderson, Nev.)
53. Gabriel Weininger (Northbrook, Ill.)
56. Connor Ghazaleh (Winchester, Mass.)
66. Darius Zacharakis (Houston, Texas)
73. Clinton Rodell (Anandale, Va.)
93. Cameron Woods (Chicago, Ill.)
96. Isaac Shelanski (Washington, D.C.)
104. Nicholas Campbell-Kruger (Boulder, Colo.)
111. Ryan Swei (Greenwich, Conn.)
114. Leonard Behrens (Cincinnati, Ohio)
120. Wesley Johnson (Pleasant View, Utah)
135. Aidan Antekeier (Houston, Texas)
145. Demetri Zacharakis (Houston, Texas)

Chalons Team Epee Cadet European Cup
1. USA 2

2. France 1
3. Italy 2
4. Switzerland
5. France
6. Italy 1
7. Italy 3
8. USA 1

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