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U.S. Men’s Foil Team Defeats World Champion France at the San Francisco Foil World Cup

10/20/2014, 4:45am CDT
By Nicole Jomantas

Team USA's Gerek Meinhardt, Miles Chamley-Watson, Race Imboden and Alexander Massialas. Photo Credit: Serge Timacheff /

Italy won gold while Russia finished second and Germany took bronze. Photo Credit: Serge Timacheff /

(San Francisco, Calif.) – The U.S. Men’s Foil Team battled injuries at the San Francisco Foil World Cup on Sunday, but finished the tournament with a sixth place result and a victory over France – the reigning Senior World Champions.

Team USA came into the event as the fifth seed and drew a bye into the table of 16 where Gerek Meinhardt (San Francisco, Calif.), Alexander Massialas (San Francisco, Calif.), Race Imboden (Brooklyn, N.Y.) and Miles Chamley-Watson (New York, N.Y.) fenced Egypt to qualify for the quarters.

Led by 2012 Olympic silver medalist Alaaeldin Abouelkassem, the Egyptians won just two of nine bouts and the Americans took the match, 45-36.

The quarter-finals would be a rematch of the 2013 Senior World Championships gold medal final against Italy – the 2012 Olympic Champions.

Italy built a 10-touch lead after the first eight periods, but Massialas fought for a comeback against 2009 Senior World Champion Andrea Baldini (ITA).

Massialas scored 10 of the first 14 touches, but Baldini closed the match at 45-35 as Massialas’s hometown crowd cheered and friends chanted “Massi! Massi!” after every score.

“It was awesome because a lot of my Stanford friends were able to make the drive up and were probably the most rowdy and rambunctious unit in the crowd,” said Massialas who won NCAAs for Stanford as a freshman in 2013.

In the 5th – 8th place table, the Americans fenced France – the 2014 Senior World Champions who lost to Germany in the semis.

Team USA won or tied seven of the bouts and earned a 45-34 victory.

“We started off strong and we didn’t let go of our lead. That’s the way we like to do it and the way we like to take care of business,” Massialas said. “It was a really strong showing from everyone on the team. Everyone did their part. Everyone scored their touches and that’s what led to the victory.”

In the match for fifth place, Korea held a 25-18 lead after the first five bouts.

Massialas scored five touches against Young Ki Son, but went down during an exchange.

“He attacked me and I tried to parry and I slipped and I must have overextended or something because the second I got up I knew something was wrong,” Massialas said. “I took the 10 minutes for a medical timeout, but even walking was pretty painful and I knew I couldn’t keep going. So we got en garde again and the Korean was extremely sportsmanlike and he stuck his arm out, went to the back of the strip, signaling that he wasn’t going to fence anymore. I thought about keeping fencing because we were down five or six touches, but the second I took a step forward I knew it wasn’t going to happen. I did the same thing and stuck my arm out and the referee called passivity.”

While his teammates were fencing, the medical staff confirmed that the injury was a strained groin. Because Team USA had already substituted Meinhardt for Imboden earlier in the match, the team rules do not allow for additional substitutions for any reason. With no alternate available to fence the anchor bout, Massialas had a difficult decision to make.   

“I thought we had a strong chance of still winning the bout, but it was 40-34 by the time I would have gone back out and six touches seemed like too much and so we forfeited the match,” Massialas said.  

After the withdrawal, Team USA finished sixth.

Although the Americans fell short of the medal rounds, Massialas said they loved the opportunity to compete in front of a home crowd.

“It’s been an amazing experience. Usually at our national events, when these people are gathered together, it’s divided by club and you cheer for your clubmates and your friends. This was different. Everybody came together to cheer for one reason and that’s for Team USA. It’s an extremely special thing that you don’t get very often,” Massialas said. “I wish I could have performed a little bit better for them, but it is what it is. It was an amazing experience for everyone. Even if the USA doesn’t do well, seeing this high level of fencing really inspires young athletes that they can do anything in their careers.”

Click here to view complete results.

Top eight results are as follows:

San Francisco Team Foil World Cup
1. Italy
2. Russia
3. Germany
4. Japan
5. Korea
6. USA
7. France
8. Canada

Tag(s): News  Race Imboden  Alexander Massialas  Gerek Meinhardt  Miles Chamley-Watson