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Muhammad and Stone Win Grand Prix Bronze in Moscow

03/23/2014, 1:30pm CDT
By Nicole Jomantas

Ibtihaj Muhammad (far left) and Eliza Stone (far right) won bronze at the Moscow Saber Grand Prix. Photo credit: Cathy Zagunis

(Colorado Springs, Colo.) – Four of Team USA’s eight fencers each placed in the top eight at the Moscow Grand Prix on Saturday with Ibtihaj Muhammad (Maplewood, N.J.) and Eliza Stone (Chicago, Ill.) winning bronze. Mariel Zagunis (Beaverton, Ore.) and Dagmara Wozniak (Avenel, N.J.) finished fifth and eighth, respectively.

Muhammad won all of her pool bouts on Friday and entered the table of 64 on Saturday as the 17th seed.

After an opening win against Marta Baeza Centurion (BRA), 15-5, Muhammad defeated 2013 Senior World Team silver medalist Yana Egorian (RUS), 15-14.

In the table of 16, Muhammad fenced Jiyeon Kim for the first time since the Korean won gold at the 2012 Olympic Games. Muhammad came away with another 15-14 victory to advance to the quarter-finals where she outscored Wozniak, 15-11.

Fencing in just her second season on the international circuit, Stone won bronze in Senegal in February and placed sixth in Antalya last week.

Stone came into the event exempt from pools and drew the 10th seed in the table of 64. Both of her opening bouts came down to the final touch as she defeated 2010 Senior World Champion Svetlana Kormilitsyna (RUS) and Anna Limbach (GER) each both 15-14 scores.

In the table of 16, Stone defeated 2003 Senior World medalist Aleksandra Socha (POL), 15-12.

The win set up a quarter-final between Stone and Zagunis who held two of her previous three opponents to six touches or less. Even 2012 Olympic silver medalist Sophia Velikaia (RUS) only came within five touches as Zagunis won their table of 32 bout, 15-10.

Stone won the quarter-final bout, 15-14, and gave Zagunis her first loss to an American since the 2012 season.

In the semifinals, Muhammad took the strip first where she would fence World No. 5 Vassiliki Vougiouka (GRE) for the second time ever.

Vougiouka led the bout, 8-6, at the break and scored the first touch of the second period before Muhammad picked up two to cut Vougiouka’s lead to one.

Vougiouka replied with three straight touches to take the score to 12-8 and went on to win the bout, 15-12.

Stone faced a new opponent in her semifinal – 2013 Senior World silver medalist Ekaterina Diatchenko (RUS). Although the two have faced each other in team competition, this would be their first individual bout.

Stone built a 6-5 lead early in the first before Diatchenko reeled off three straight before the break. Diatchenko’s lead grew to four and a score of 14-10 at the end of the second period. Stone scored twice, but Diatchenko won the bout, 15-12.

The medal wins allowed both Stone and Muhammad to climb the world rankings where Stone is now a career-high eighth and Muhammad is 15th. Zagunis remains No. 2 in the world behind 2013 Senior World Champion Olga Kharlan (UKR) and Wozniak sits in 11th.

Two U.S. fencers advanced to the table of 32.  

Competing in her final tournament before the Junior World Championships, Sage Palmedo (Portland, Ore.) came into the DE rounds as the 24th seed and drew Russian opponents for her first two bouts.

Palmedo won her opener in the 64 against Alexandra Shatalova, 15-14, but lost to three-time Senior World Team Champion Dina Galiakbarova, 15-6 in the table of 32.

After a 15-13 win against Aibike Khabibullina (KAZ), Daria Schneider (New York City, N.Y.) lost her next bout to Wozniak, 15-8.  

Francesca Russo (Wayne, N.J.), who will be fencing at the Junior Worlds with Palmedo next month, advanced to the second day of competition for the third time this season, but lost her table of 64 bout to 2012 Junior World medalist Saoussen Boudaf (FRA), 15-12.

Monica Aksamit (Avenel, N.J.), a 2009 Senior World Team member, struggled in the pools where she finished 2-4. Her 62nd seed meant that Aksamit drew Diatchenko in the table of 64. Although she kept the score close, Aksamit lost the bout, 15-13, to the eventual gold medalist.

Click here to view complete results.

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

Moscow Saber Grand Prix
1. Ekaterina Diatchenko (RUS)
2. Vassiliki Vougiouka (GRE)
3. Ibtihaj Muhammad (Maplewood, N.J.)
3. Eliza Stone (Chicago, Ill.)
5. Mariel Zagunis (Beaverton, Ore.)

6. Irene Vecchi (ITA)
7. Ra Jin Lee (KRO)
8. Dagmara Wozniak (Avenel, N.J.)

22. Sage Palmedo (Portland, Ore.)
24. Daria Schneider (New York City, N.Y.)
41. Francesca Russo (Wayne, N.J.)
62. Monica Aksamit (Avenel, N.J.)

Tag(s): News  Ibtihaj Muhammad  Dagmara Wozniak  Mariel Zagunis  Eliza Stone