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Team USA Wins Two Medals at Orleans Saber World Cup

11/23/2014, 5:00pm CST
By Nicole Jomantas

Team silver medalists Mariel Zagunis, Dagmara Wozniak, Ibtihaj Muhammad and Daria Schneider with Coach Ed Korfanty. Photo Credit: Cathy Zagunis

Individual bronze medalist Dagmara Wozniak and Coach Ed Korfanty. Photo Credit: Cathy Zagunis.

(Colorado Springs, Colo.) – Team USA’s women’s saber fencers brought home two medals over the weekend at the Orleans Saber World Cup in France.

London Olympian Dagmara Wozniak (Avenel, N.J.) held onto her highest career individual world ranking this season as one of the top five women’s saber fencers and showed that she remains an Olympic podium contender with a bronze medal result in Orleans.

Wozniak advanced to the table of 16 after a 15-3 win against Jiarui Qian (CHN) and a 15-9 victory over rising Japanese star Misaki Emura.

Wozniak defeated Sara Balzer (FRA), 15-8, less than half an hour after Balzer took out Wozniak’s teammate, Faizah Muhammad (Maplewood, N.J.) by a 15-7 score.

In the quarter-finals, Wozniak found herself in a rematch against Elena Dyachenko – the two-time individual Senior World medalist who defeated Wozniak in the quarter-finals at the Senior Worlds in August. This time, Wozniak was the victor and guaranteed herself a second individual World Cup medal this year after the 15-13 win.

The only person who could stop Wozniak all day remained Sofya Velikaya (RUS) – the 2011 Senior World Champion who has returned for her first full season since having a baby in full force. Not only did Velikaya win her bout against Wozniak, 15-9, but she remains undefeated this season with a second straight gold medal.

In earlier rounds, both two-time Olympic Champion Mariel Zagunis (Beaverton, Ore.) and her teammate on the squad that won gold at the 2014 Senior Worlds, Ibtihaj Muhammad (Maplewood, N.J.) each advanced to the table of 16.

Zagunis won her first two bouts against Bianca Pascu (ROU) and Caroline Queroli (FRA) by 15-12 and 15-6 scores, respectively. In the table of 16, Zagunis lost by a touch to Marion Stolz (FRA) who also took a 15-14 win in the table of 64 over 2009 Senior World Team member Monica Aksamit (Matawan, N.J.)

Muhammad defeated Seona Hwang (FRA), 15-7, in the 64 and Araceli Navarro (ESP), 15-9, in the 32. In the table of 16, Muhammad lost to 2012 Olympic Champion Jiyeon Kim (KOR), 15-12.

In addition to Aksamit, three U.S. team members advanced through the preliminary rounds on Friday, but lost at the start of the direct elimination rounds on Saturday.

Palmedo missed fencing Muhammad in the 32 after her 15-14 loss to Navarro.

Two-time Senior World team bronze medalist Daria Schneider (New York City, N.Y.) missed the 32 after a 15-12 loss to Haiyun Yin (CHN).

Kamali Thompson (Teaneck, N.J.) also was eliminated after a close opening bout on Saturday in which she lost to Azza Besbes (TUN), 15-13.

Following the individual event, Zagunis, Wozniak, Schneider and Ibtihaj Muhammad fenced in the team event on Sunday for a chance at both gold and retaining Team USA’s No. 1 world ranking.

After a bye into the table of 16, Team USA started the day with a 45-21 win against Hong Kong and pulled out a 45-43 win against Spain in the quarter-finals.

Team USA advanced to the finals with a 45-37 win against Italy.

The Americans lost to Russia, 45-33, and finished with a silver medal, bringing Team USA’s string of gold or silver medals won at international events to six.

Click here to view complete results.

Top eight and U.S. results are as follows, including athletes who placed outside the top 64 on Friday:

Orleans Individual Saber World Cup
1. Sofya Velikaya (RUS)
2. Rossella Gregorio (ITA)
3. Dagmara Wozniak (Avenel, N.J.)
3. Olena Kravatska (UKR)
5. Ekaterina Dyachenko (UKR)
6. Jiyeon Kim (KOR)
7. Chen Shen (CHN)
8. Marion Stoltz (FRA)

10. Mariel Zagunis (Beaverton, Ore.)
14. Ibtihaj Muhammad (Maplewood, N.J.)
32. Faizah Muhammad (Maplewood, N.J.)
35. Monica Aksamit (Matawan, N.J.)
36. Sage Palmedo (Portland, Ore.)
38. Daria Schneider (New York City, N.Y.)
51. Kamali Thompson (Teaneck, N.J.)
78. Francesca Russo (Wayne, N.J.)
83. Regina O’Brien (Wellesley, Mass.)
90. Loweye Diedro (New York, N.Y.)
161. Lena Johnson (Peachtree City, Ga.)

Orleans Team Saber World Cup
1. Russia
2. USA
3. Italy
4. France
5. Poland
6. Ukraine
7. Korea
8. Spain

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