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U.S. Men’s Foil Team Upsets Italy in Comeback Victory for Bronze in Bonn

02/09/2015, 5:30pm CST
By Nicole Jomantas

Team USA's bronze medalists Race Imboden, Alex Massialas, Gerek Meinhardt and Miles Chamley-Watson. Photo Credit: Greg Massialas

(Colorado Springs, Colo.) – Team USA earned its second men’s foil World Cup medal of the season on Sunday and posted another victory over top-ranked Italy en route to winning bronze in Bonn Germany.

Seeded fourth in the team table, London Olympians Race Imboden (Brooklyn, N.Y.), Gerek Meinhardt (San Francisco, Calif.), Alexander Massialas (San Francisco, Calif.) and Miles Chamley-Watson (New York City, N.Y.) won or tied all nine bouts in Team USA’s opening match against Canada for a 45-22 victory in the table of 16.

In the quarter-finals against Great Britain, Meinhardt scored 21 points in three bouts to give Team USA a 35-32 lead after the seventh and Imboden set Massialas up with a 36-34 lead going into the final bout.

British anchor Richard Kruse scored four touches on Massialas during the final 30 seconds of the bout to tie the score at 41 and send the match into overtime.

In the semifinals, Team USA fenced a close match against France, but lost to the reigning Senior World Champions, 45-38.

The bronze medal final pitted Team USA against top-ranked Italy in a rematch of the gold medal final in Paris last month.

This time, Italy controlled the match early on and built a 23-18 lead after the first five bouts.

In the sixth period, Chamley-Watson brought Team USA to even at 24 as he outscored 2012 Olympic Team Champion Andrea Baldini, 6-1.

“The sixth bout is very important because it's usually their anchor against our setup, so this can go either way. It's meant for the anchor to gain some momentum and get the team ahead,” Chamley-Watson said. “In this case, I know Baldini very well of course, so I knew this was an extremely big bout and I went for it. Baldini is one of the toughest opponents to fence because he has incredible footwork. Nonetheless, the bout was huge for our team in starting to come back.”

Imboden held the tie at 26 after the seventh bout against 2012 Olympic Team Champion Giorgio Avola and Chamley-Watson returned to the strip against two-time Olympic Team Champion Andrea Cassara.

“Cassara will go down in history as one of, if not the best, fencers ever. He is an extremely big, strong, fast opponent with lots of experience. I knew that he was not going to back down and go for passivity and neither was I,” said Chamley-Watson who started off the bout 2-2 and went on to outscore Cassara 14-5. “This had to be the best fencing I have ever displayed besides winning the world championships, but a close second. I was so amped and the crowd was great, so I just went for it. I was very aggressive like always and was able to get touches. It was actually insane. The look on my teammates’ faces was priceless.”

In the anchor bout, Massialas took on Baldini who made a comeback of his own. The Italian fought back to tie the score at 44 before Massialas finished with the final touch for a 45-44 Team USA win.

“It was a huge match for me, but more importantly, for the team. Alex was able to get the last touch and win 45-44 so it was great to be able to close it out,” Chamley-Watson said. “This is huge for our team morale, because, for years, Italy has not only beaten us, but destroyed us. It was an important team win, and a great mental win for me against the world’s best especially since Cassara won the individual the day before.”

On Saturday, Imboden earned his fifth top-eight individual result of the season after taking medals in Paris, Torino and Tokyo and placing sixth in San Francisco.

Exempt from pools, Imboden was seeded fourth in the table of 64 and jumped out to a 9-5 lead in the first period of his bout against Ben Peggs (GBR). Peggs went on a five-touch run in the second period, but Imboden finished the bout, 15-13.

Imboden fenced Chamley-Watson in the table of 32. The bout remained close for most of the first period with Imboden leading 6-4. With a minute remaining, Imboden outscored Chamley-Watson, 6-2, for a 12-6 score. Imboden held Chamley-Watson to two touches in the second period to win the bout, 15-8.

In the table of 16, Imboden led Junhyuk Kwak (KOR), 10-9, at the break and outscored the Korean, 5-1, in the second period for a 15-10 win.

Imboden and Cassara met in the quarter-finals where Cassara won the bout, 15-14, and went on to take the individual title.

In the previous round, Cassara defeated Massialas, 15-12, early in the second period of the table of 16.

Meinhardt also advanced to the table of 64 where he trailed Rostyslav Hertsyk (UKR), 14-12, at the end of their first period, but came back in the second period to tie the bout at 14. Hertsyk scored first during the next exchange to win the bout, 15-14.

Click here to view complete individual results.

Click here to view complete team results.

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

Bonn Team Foil World Cup
1. France
2. Russia
3. USA
4. Italy
5. Great Britain
6. China
7. Germany
8. Egypt

Bonn Individual Foil World Cup
1. Andrea Cassara (ITA)
2. Yuki Ota (JPN)
3. Jeremy Cadot (FRA)
3. Alessio Foconi (ITA)
5. Race Imboden (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
6. Giorgio Avola (ITA)
7. Artur Akhmatkhuzin (RUS)
8. Haiwei Chen (CHN)

11. Alexander Massialas (San Francisco, Calif.)
22. Miles Chamley-Watson (New York City, N.Y.)
33. Gerek Meinhardt (San Francisco, Calif.)
96. David Willette (Lafayette, Calif.)

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