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Junior World Team Members Win Div I Nationals

03/02/2015, 10:15am CST
By Nicole Jomantas

Sixteen-year-old Sam Moelis won the Div I men's foil gold medal. Photo Credit: Nicole Jomantas

Div I women's saber gold medalist Sage Palmedo and Coach Ed Korfanty. Photo Credit: Nicole Jomantas

(Reno, Nev.) – Two of the youngest athletes in their respective events won gold at the Division I National Championships as 16-year-old Sam Moelis (Hewlett, N.Y.) and 18-year-old Sage Palmedo (Portland, Ore.) took titles in the men’s foil and women’s saber events on Sunday.

Moelis, who recently qualified for his first Junior and Cadet World Teams, gave up just eight touches in his six pool bouts to earn the No. 1 seed in the direct elimination rounds and a bye into the table of 32.

After a close win over Lucas Orts (Burlingame, Calif.), 15-13, Moelis defeated Nick Itkin (Los Angeles, Calif.), 15-5, in the table of 16 and John Crumpler (Notre Dame, Ind.), 15-8, to qualify for the semifinals.

Moelis controlled his bout against 2012 Junior World Team Champion Jerry Chang (Mountain View, Calif.) for a 15-7 victory.

The win would set up a final between Moelis and two-time Junior World team medalist Nobuo Bravo (San Francisco, Calif.) who won their last bout, 15-13, in the Div I event at the January North American Cup.

“Nobuo was very difficult and he’s a very skilled fencer. You really have to hold your own because if you make mistakes you get hit, that’s the bottom line,” Moelis said.

Moelis held an 11-9 lead in the first period, but Bravo answered with four straight touches to take the score to 13-11. Moelis came back to tie the bout at 13 and Bravo picked up another touch for a 14-13 lead. With 20 seconds remaining in the first period bout, Moelis scored two one-light touches to take the win, 15-14.

“I knew that I trained for that moment. I would say that one full year of going to the club can come down to that one touch. That’s personally what I believe that every time I go to the club and put in work with Race [Imboden] and Dan [Kellner]and Brendan Myers and Henry Kennard and everyone else at the club that it all comes down to that moment and that, the more that I train, the more that I’ll be able to come through when that moment comes,” Moelis said.

A three-time Junior World medalist, Palmedo earned a bye into the women’s saber table of 32 where she defeated Marta Lasota (Silver Spring, Md.), 15-5, and won her next bout against 2014 Cadet World Team member Violet Michel (Wellesley, Mass.), 15-7.

Palmedo cruised through her quarter-final bout against her 2013 and 2014 Junior World teammate, Francesca Russo (Wayne, N.J.), to take a 15-5 victory.

Palmedo’s greatest challenge of the day would come from 2014 Senior World Team Champion Ibtihaj Muhammad (Maplewood, N.J.) Not only is Muhammad a four-time Senior World team medalist, but she also is one of Palmedo’s top rivals for a place on the 2015 Senior World Team.

Although the last time the two have fenced each other in competition was the 2013 December North American Cup, Palmedo and Muhammad have trained together and traveled on the Senior World Cup circuit.

“We fenced each other at the training camp in France two weeks ago. She’s also come to Portland to train and I’ve trained in New York, so we know each other’s fencing a little bit and it always gets intense with any top member of the National Team,” Palmedo said.

Palmedo held up to the pressure, however, and defeated Muhammad, 15-11, to qualify for the gold medal final for the first time since winning silver at this event as a 15-year-old in 2012.

In the gold medal final, Palmedo fenced 2013 World University Games Team member Kamali Thompson (Teaneck, N.J.) and scored seven straight touches to hold an 8-1 lead after the first period.

Thompson fought back in the second period where she matched Palmedo’s touches, six-for-six. With Palmedo up, 14-7, Thompson scored four straight to stay in the bout before Palmedo closed out the win, 15-11.

“I was feeling pretty well fencing-wise this whole day and I think it slowed down a bit because the reality set in that I was in the final bout and also I was getting tired and I got a little distracted. It’s always a little hard for me to come back from a moment where I kind of have a brain freeze, but I was happy I was able to pull through,” Palmedo said.

After placing second three times on the Div I circuit, this is Palmedo’s first national title at this level.

“It’s really exciting for me because the Senior World Team race is really close, so it mattered a lot for that and also I’ve never won a Div I NAC before, so it was really exciting to be able to win today, especially because pretty much all of the top fencers were here except for Mariel and Daga, so it was definitely an intense day. I’ve been working really hard and it’s nice to see all the hard work pay off,” Palmedo said.

Next month, Palmedo will travel to Uzbekistan where she enters Junior Worlds as the No. 1 junior women's saber fencer in the world.

“I’m going for gold this year. It’s going to be really intense with everyone competing. The girl that won last year, Anna Marton (HUN), she’s still a junior this year, so, if we’re in the final again, hopefully it will be a different score this year,” Palmedo laughed. “But my goals are just to work hard, fence my best and see what happens. It’s easy to put a lot of pressure on yourself, but it’s easier for me if I just go in with no expectations and I still have one more year of junior left, so there’s not all the pressure, but it’s still an intense tournament.”

Palmedo also holds a gold (2013) and bronze (2014) medal in the Junior Worlds team competition.

“I’m excited for the team event this year. It’s going to be a little bit different, though. Last year we had three out of the four members from the team that won gold in 2013. We have two out of the four from the year that we won,” Palmedo said. “I think we have a strong team this year with Francesca and Regina and then Lena or Sarah or whomever makes the team this year. I have confidence in all of the fencers who are in that top group this year that we can definitely pull through and win. We won the Pan Am Championships in Toronto and that gave our team some confidence going in. I think as long as we are close and train and work together than we have a good shot.”

In the Div I team competition, the NYAC concluded its sweep of the team golds this weekend with a win in the men’s epee event to go with the club’s women’s epee and men’s saber titles from Saturday.

It would be an all-NYAC final between the Red and White teams as 2014 Senior World Team members and Olympic Training Center residents Andras Horanyi (Colorado Springs, Colo.), Jimmy Moody (Colorado Springs, Colo.) and Jason Pryor (Colorado Springs, Colo.) fenced for NYAC Red and took on the NYAC White squad that included 2010 Senior World team silver medalist Benji Ungar (Bronx, N.Y.),  two-time Senior World Team member Adam Watson (Richford, Vt.), 2013 Senior World Team member Alex Tsinis (Little Neck, N.Y.) and Kevin Mo (Irvine, Calif.)

NYAC Red won six of the match’s first eight bouts and Moody closed out the match as anchor with a 5-0 win against Ungar to finish the match, 45-28.

In the wheelchair events, former Wheelchair World Champion Tareq Alqallaf (KUW) and Patricia Dykes (Gulf Breeze, Fla.) each won their second gold medals of the weekend after both athletes took the foil titles on Saturday. Alqallaf won his final bout against Leo Curtis (Rainier, Ore.), 15-7, in the gold medal final and Dykes won her bout against Vikki Espinoza (Portland, Ore.), 15-10.

The veteran competition included three women’s age group events which featured athletes looking to qualify for the 2015 Vet World Team in the second of a best-of-three series of qualifying tournaments.

Three-time Veteran World Champion Elizabeth Kocab (Farmington Hills, Mich.) remained undefeated as a 60-69 epee fencer with her 11th straight national title and secured a chance to defend her 2013 and 2014 titles after she defeated Janice Midgley (Tinton Falls, N.J.), 10-5.

In the 50-59 women’s epee event, two-time Veteran World Team member Cristina Ford (Salem, Ore.) followed her win at the 2014 April NAC with another gold in title after she defeated Mary Huang (Pasadena, Calif.), 10-5, in the final bout. Two-time Veteran World Team member Valerie Asher (Bethesda, Md.) secured a position on a third team with her bronze medal finish in the event after taking gold at the December NAC.

Three-time Veteran World medalist Patricia Bedrosian (Malibu, Calif.) won her fourth straight national gold medal in the +70 epee event where she edged 2011 Veteran World medalist Bettie Graham (Washington, D.C.), 10-9. Bedrosian’s win allows her to qualify for a 17th Vet World Team.

Two veteran events were contested that are not on the World Championship program.

In the women’s 40-49 epee event, Michele Chimienti (Temple City, Calif.) won her first NAC title after defeating Ann Totemeier (Boulder, Colo.), 10-9, in the gold medal final.  

A gold medalist in the 50-59 saber competition at the December NAC, Bill Becker (Chandler, Ariz.) won his final bout against Tony Jochaniewicz (Oak Park, Ill.), 10-7.

The Wildlife team of Kristian Anderson (Lincoln, Neb.), John Kissingford (Ouray, Colo.) and Juan Ignacio Calderon (San Diego, Calif.) won the veteran team men’s saber title, 45-43, over the LAMICHAGO team of four-time Veteran World Team members Jamie Douraghy (Los Angeles, Calif.) and Ed Kaihatsu (Skokie, Ill.) and Vadim Ayupov (Woodland Hills, Calif.) and Michael Cho (Northville, Mich.)

The veteran team women’s saber title came down to a final match between the Broad Swords team of Ariana Klinkov (Westford, Mass.), Michelle Orton-Becker (Chandler, Ariz.), Cathleen Coyle Randall (Watertown, Mass.) and Dawn Wilson (Louisville, Ky.) and the Good luck storming the castle! team that included Miyako DeRose (Morristown, N.J.), former Vet World medalists Lydia Mazorol (Simi Valley, Calif.) and Chaz Smith (Placerville, Calif.) and 2014 Vet World Team member Rachelle Arama (Phoenix, Ariz.) The Broad Swords won the final, 45-43, to take gold.

In the Div III events, Ethan Walters (Golden, Colo.) won the men’s epee gold, 15-11, over Parker Miner (Apple Valley, Utah) and Elena Jin (Fremont, Calif.) defeated Eunice Cho (Alpine, N.J.), 15-7, in the women’s foil final.

Click here to view complete results.

Top eight results are as follows:

Division I Men’s Foil
1. Sam Moelis (Hewlett, N.Y.)
2. Nobuo Bravo (San Francisco, Calif.)
3. Jerry Chang (Mountain View, Calif.)
3. Stephen Mageras (Darien, Conn.)
5. David Kong II (Rutherford, N.J.)
6. George Haglund (Califon, N.J.)
7. John Crumpler (Notre Dame, Ind.)
8. Harrison Bergman (Lebanon, N.J.)

Division I Women’s Saber
1. Sage Palmedo (Portland, Ore.)
2. Kamali Thompson (Teaenck, N.J.)
3. Eliza Stone (Chicago, Ill.)
3. Ibtihaj Muhammad (Maplewood, N.J.)
5. Maia Chamberlain (Menlo Park, Calif.)
6. Claudia Kulmacz (Upper Saddle River, N.J.)
7. Francesca Russo (Wayne, N.J.)
8. Faizah Muhammad (Maplewood, N.J.)

Division I Men’s Team Epee
1. NYAC Red
2. NYAC White
3. Peter Westbrook Foundation
4. Schoolhouse Fencing
5. NYAC Blue
6. Air Force Fencing

Wheelchair Men’s Saber
1. Tareq Alqallaf (KUW)
2. Leo Curtis (Rainier, Ore.)
3. Dennis Aspy (Woodstock, Ga.)
3. Joseph Brinson (Florence, Miss.)
5. DeJuan Surrell (Jackson, Miss.)

Wheelchair Women’s Saber
1. Patricia Dykes (Gulf Breeze, Fla.)
2. Vikki Espinosa (Portland, Ore.)

Veteran 40-49 Women’s Epee
1. Michele Chimienti (Temple City, Calif.)
2. Ann Totemeier (Boulder, Colo.)
3. Maria Copelan (Portland, Ore.)
3. Amanda Yen-Shih Chang (Pasadena, Calif.)
5. Lisa Wolf (Hadley, Mass.)
6. Victoria Bowen (Daly City, Calif.)
7. Jennifer DeVore (Westport, Conn.)
8. Barbara Antonio (San Marino, Calif.)

Veteran 50-59 Women’s Epee
1. Cristina Ford (Salem, Ore.)
2. Mary Huang (Pasadena, Calif.)
3. Ellen Finnegan (West Roxbury, Mass.)
3. Valerie Asher (Bethesda, Md.)
5. Beth Slikas (East Falmouth, Mass.)
6. Suzanne Bloomer (Mountain View, Calif.)
7. Lynn Botelho (Indiana, Pa.)
8. Rosanna Lacarra (Carlsbad, Calif.)

Veteran 60-69 Women’s Epee
1. Elizabeth Kocab (Farmington Hills, Mich.)
2. Janice Midgley (Tinton Falls, N.J.)
3. Tanya Hurley (Hillsborough, N.J.)
3. Debra Allen (Ashland, Ore.)
5. Bonnie Aher (Brookfield, Conn.)
6. Anne-Marie Walters (Parkland, Fla.)
7. Paula Straka (Philadelphia, Pa.)
8. June Hurme (San Antonio, Texas)

Veteran +70 Women’s Epee
1. Patricia Bedrosian (Malibu, Calif.)
2. Bettie Graham (Washington, D.C.)
3. Sally Higgins (Tinton Falls, N.J.)
3. Kathryn Rubin (Waban, Mass.)
5. Diane Hiatt (Sparks, Nev.)

Veteran Open Men’s Saber
1. Bill Becker (Chandler, Ariz.)
2. Tony Jochaniewicz (Oak Park, Ill.)
3. Louis Montorio (New York, N.Y.)
3. Will Milne (Redwood City, Calif.)
5. Steve Wildman (Louisburg, Kans.)
6. Paul Hicha (Mesa, Ariz.)
7. Stephen Andrews (Bloomington, Ind.)
8. Dmitri Kopylov (Roseland, N.J.)

Veteran Team Men’s Foil
1. Wildlife
3. NorCal
4. Eagle Stoccato Alliance
5. Denver Fencing Center
6. Salle Auriol Blue
7. Brooklyn F.C.
8. Men of Steel

Veteran Team Women’s Saber
1. Broad Swords
2. Good luck storming the castle!
4. Red Hot Pokers

Division III Men’s Epee
1. Ethan Walters (Golden, Colo.)
2. Parker Miner (Apple Valley, Utah)
3. Andy Faubert (Danville, Calif.)
3. Kevin Miller (Woodland, Calif.)
5. Channing Chi (Englewood, Colo.)
6. Jake Green (Anchorage, Alaska)
7. Zachary Chien (Seal Beach, Calif.)
8. Henry Mattingly (San Francisco, Calif.)

Division III Women’s Foil
1. Elena Jin (Fremont, Calif.)
2. Eunice Cho (Alpine, N.J.)
3. Konami Masui (Torrance, Calif.)
3. Tarleton Hunt (Bellaire, Texas)
5. Amy Jungsu Kim (NZL)
6. Rachel Yuen (San Francisco, Calif.)
7. Marissa Nelson (Pingree, Idaho)
8. Skylar Harfeld (Philadelphia, Pa.)

Tag(s): News  Valerie Asher  Ibtihaj Muhammad  Nicole Ross  Eliza Stone  Anne-Marie Walters  Sage Palmedo