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Women’s Foil and Men’s Saber Fencers Kick Off Cadet Worlds

04/03/2014, 3:30pm CDT
By Nicole Jomantas

Iman Blow is seeded second in the women's foil event. Photo Credit: Serge Timacheff / FIE /

Karol Metryka is seeded third in the men's saber table of 32. Photo Credit: Serge Timacheff / FIE /

(Colorado Springs, Colo.) – Team USA had a strong start to the Cadet Worlds on Thursday as the Americans went six-for-six in qualifying for the table of 32 which will begin on Friday in Plovdiv, Bulgaria.  

First-time team member Iman Blow (Brooklyn, N.Y.) and 2013 Cadet World silver medalist Sabrina Massialas (San Francisco, Calif.) both went undefeated with 6-0 results in the women’s foil pools and earned the second and fourth seeds in the direct elimination tables, respectively.

After a bye into the table of 64, Blow gave up one touch in the opening seconds of her bout against Anhelina Tsimbolynets (UKR), but scored nine straight in the next 40 seconds to build a 10-1 lead. Blow needed just over a minute total to win the bout, 15-4.

Blow will fence Canadian Ariane Bilodeau in the table of 32 on Friday.

Massialas trailed Kuralay Seidakhmetova (KAZ), 2-1, at the start of her table of 64, but scored 10 straight to take an 11-2 lead. Seidakhmetova scored again with four seconds left in the first period, but Masssialas went on to finish the round with a 15-3 victory.

Massialas’s table of 32 opponent will be first-time team member Stefani Deschner (Mechanicsville, Va.) who went 4-2 in the pools and defeated Rio Azuma (JPN), 15-12, in the table of 64.

Massialas and 2013 Cadet World bronze medalist Gabriela Cecchini (BRA) are the only two athletes returning to this year’s field from the 2013 podium; however, the top 32 includes a number of athletes who could all challenge the Americans for medals.

Massialas’s 2013 quarter-final opponent, Aikaterini-Maria Kontochristopoulou (GRE), is the top seed in the competition on Massialas’s side of the bracket.

Blow’s second seed means she can’t face any of her teammates until the gold medal bout. On Blow’s half of the table, one of her greatest challengers could be 2014 Cadet European Champion Anna Szymczak (POL) who is seeded third after a season in which she won medals in every Cadet European Cup in which she competed. Italy has put a women’s foil fencer on the podium at this event every year since 2009 and both Italians who advanced to the 32 are in Szymczak’s quadrant with Elisabetta Bianchin fencing Szymczak in the 32. Claudia Borella is seeded sixth and could face Szymczak in the quarters.

In the men’s saber event, first-time team member Karol Metryka (Linden, N.J.) gave up just seven touches over five bouts to earn the third seed out of the pools.

After a bye into the table of 64, Metryka was tied with Vasiliy Shirshov (RUS) at three touches each early in the first period before going on a five-touch run to take a 8-3 lead at the break. Metryka controlled the second period for a 15-7 win.

On Friday, Metryka will fence Pietro Jose Di Martino (ARG) in the table of 32.

Metryka’s teammates, Ben Natanzon (Manalapan, N.J.) and 2013 Cadet World Team member Calvin Liang (Chandler, Ariz.), both finished the pools with 4-1 records.

Natanzon led his bout against Iho Lee (KOR), 8-5, at the break and outscored the Korean, 7-4, in the second period to win the bout, 15-9.

In the table of 32, Natanzon will fence Kanisorn Pangmoon (THA).

Liang gave up just one touch in the first period to his table of 64 opponent, Fraser Alexander Woodburn (GBR), and held an 8-1 lead at the break. Woodburn regrouped in the second period, but Liang won the bout, 15-7.

Liang’s next opponent will be Hugo Soler (FRA) who is fresh off his gold medal win at the Cadet European Championships in Jerusalem.

The only guarantee in the men’s saber event is that the podium will include an entirely new crop of faces as all of the 2013 medalists have aged out.

In fact, the field is considered wide open as the highest placing athlete from the 2013 Cadet Worlds in this year’s lineup is 11th place finisher Tudor Cucu (ROU).

Among the athletes the Americans will be watching out for are top seed Leonardo Dreossi (ITA) who won gold in the team competition at the Cadet European Championships and Marios Giakoumatos (GRE) who won gold twice on the Cadet European Circuit this year and took silver behind Soler in Jerusalem.

Also on Friday, competition will begin with the preliminary rounds for the men’s and women’s epee events.

Team USA’s epee lineup includes:

Cadet Men’s Epee
Justin Yoo (La Verne, Calif.)
Joshua Cole (Chappaqua, N.Y.)
Charlie Horowitz (Los Angeles, Calif.)

Cadet Women’s Epee
Kasia Nixon (Los Angeles, Calif.)
Charlene Liu (Bridgewater, N.J.)
Giana Vierheller (Houston, Texas)

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