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Sage Palmedo Breaks Saber Record with Fourth Junior World Cup Gold, Secures Overall World Cup Title

03/09/2015, 10:30pm CDT
By Nicole Jomantas

Sage Palmedo. Photo Credit: Augusto Bizzi / FederScherma

(Colorado Springs, Colo.) – Sage Palmedo (Portland, Ore.) went into the Udine Junior World Cup in Italy on Friday as the top-ranked junior women’s saber fencer in the world and came home with her fourth gold medal of the season and the knowledge that she has secured the Overall Junior World Cup title with just one tournament remaining in the season. .

Palmedo’s victory in Italy makes her the first U.S. saber fencer to win four Junior World Cup gold medals in a single season, tying the number of titles won by epee fencer and 2012 Olympic team bronze medalist Courtney Hurley (San Antonio, Texas) who won four golds and the women's epee Overall Junior World Cup title during her final season of junior eligibility in 2009-2010.

The previous record of three saber Junior World Cup titles was held by two-time Olympic Champion Mariel Zagunis (Beaverton, Ore.) who trains with Palmedo at the Oregon Fencing Alliance. Zagunis also was the last U.S. saber fencer to win the Overall Junior World Cup title in 2005 after taking gold in both the individual and team events at the Junior Worlds.

A silver medalist at the 2014 Junior World Championships, Palmedo followed last week’s Division I National Championship title with one final junior tournament as a tuneup for next month’s Junior Worlds in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

Palmedo dropped just one bout in pools and held her first four direct elimination opponents to single digits as she picked up wins against Luzia Hirn (GER), 15-4; Lucia Lucarini (ITA), 15-8; Ann-Sophie Kindler (GER), 15-9; and Eloisa Passaro (ITA), 15-7.

In the semifinals, Palmedo took a 5-1 lead early in the first period and went on to defeat Rebecca Gargano (ITA), 15-13, to advance to the gold medal finals for the fourth time this season.

Palmedo got off to a slow start in the finals where Ekaterina Vorobyeva (RUS) took a 5-2 lead early in the first period. Palmedo answered with six straight touches to finish the first period at 8-5 and gave up just two touches in the second period to win the bout, 15-7.

Palmedo has one tournament remaining – the Seoul Grand Prix on March 28 – on the senior circuit before she travels to Uzbekistan for Junior Worlds.

While Palmedo’s 2013 and 2014 Junior World teammate, Francesca Russo (Wayne, N.J.), remained in the United States for the NCAA Regionals as she had already secured the second position on the Junior World team, 10 U.S. athletes fenced for a final chance at positions on the Junior and Cadet World Team.

Ranked third in the Junior National Team Point Standings at the start of the tournament, 2015 Junior Pan American Team Champion Regina O’Brien (Wellesley Hills, Mass.) clinched a spot on her first Junior World Team when she defeated Alexandra Gevaert (BEL), 15-10, in the table of 32. Although O’Brien lost her next bout to Adrianny Torres (VEN), 15-5, her 28th place result was good enough to hold on to her No. 3 position in the team standings.

Violet Michel (Cambridge, Mass.), a 2014 Cadet World Team member and O’Brien’s Zeta Fencing teammate, qualified for her second Cadet World Team by advancing to the table of 16. Michel defeated Jessica Whang (Westfield, N.J.), 15-12, in the table of 64 and Larisa Eifler (GER), 15-8, in the 32.

Michel needed one more win to pass O’Brien in the team standings, but she fell short with a 15-5 loss to Svetlana Sheveleva (RUS). Despite the loss, Michel remains the top-ranked cadet in the United States and will earn a position competing in the junior team event as the squad’s fourth athlete.

In the race for the remaining positions on the Cadet World Team, Maia Chamberlain (Menlo Park, Calif.) followed her fifth-place result at the Div I Nationals with a 27th-place finish in Udine to move up to No. 2 and earn a position on her first Cadet World Team.

Sarah Merza (Wayne, N.J.), a 2014 Cadet World Team member, lost in the table of 64, but held on for the third spot on the team.

A gold medalist at the first Cadet European Cup of the season last fall, 14-year-old Kara Linder (Chandler, Ariz.) earned her best result on the Junior World Cup circuit with a fifth-place finish, but she fell short of qualifying for the cadet squad.

Undefeated out of the pools, Linder was the only U.S. fencer to earn a bye into the table of 32 where she defeated Claudia Di Martino (ITA), 15-14. Linder won her table of 16 bout against Chiara Crovari (ITA), 15-6, but lost to Gargano, 15-13, in the quarters.

On Saturday, Team USA’s men’s epee fencers took to the strip in the individual event which also would be the squad’s final qualifying tournament for the Junior and Cadet World Championships.

With virtually all 12 fencers in contention for a position on either the Junior World Team, the competition was intense at the start of the event, but only 2014 Junior World medalist Justin Yoo (La Verne, Calif.) advanced to the table of 32.

Yoo won his first two direct elimination bouts against Niels Schueling (GER) and Gianluca Casaro (ITA) by 15-11 and 15-14 scores, respectively. In the table of 32, he lost to eventual bronze medalist Sergey Naumov (RUS), 15-12.

With his top-32 result, Yoo remains No. 1 in the Junior National Team Point Standings, ahead of 2013 Cadet World Champion Ariel Simmons (Bellaire, Texas) and Anton Piskovatskov (Houston, Texas) who round out the three fencers who will compete in the individual event. The trio will be joined by Samuel Freiman (Woodlands, Texas) who will compete in the team event only.

Yoo, Simmons, Piskovatskov and Freiman fenced in the team event on Sunday.

Team USA opened with a 42-36 loss to Hungary in the table of 16, but came back in the next round to defeat Venezuela, 45-29. After a 31-24 loss to Germany, Team USA finished 11th with a 45-40 win against Austria.

Click here to view complete women’s saber results.

Click here to view complete men’s epee individual results.

Click here to view complete men’s epee team results.

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

Udine Women’s Saber Junior World Cup
1. Sage Palmedo (Portland, Ore.)

2. Ekaterina Vorobyeva (RUS)
3. Svetlana Sheveleva (ruS)
3. Rebecca Gargano (ItA)
5. Kara Linder (Chandler, Ariz.)
6. Michela Battiston (ITA)
7. Eloisa Passaro (ITA)
8. Anna Bashta (RUS)

16. Violet Michel (Cambridge, Mass.)
19. Marta Lasota (Silver Spring, Md.)
27. Maia Chamberlain (Menlo Park, Calif.)
28. Regina O’Brien (Wellesley Hills, Mass.)
29. Lena Johnson (Peachtree City, Ga.)
42. Jessica Whang (Westfield, N.J.)
46. Olivia Szumilo (Staten Island, N.Y.)
47. Sarah Merza (Wayne, N.J.)
50. Martha Merriam (Tenafly, N.J.)

Udine Men’s Epee Individual Junior World Cup
1. Georgiy Bruev (RUS)
2. Federico Vismara (ITA0
3. Sandor Cho Tauen (HUN)
3. Sergey Naumov (RUS)
5. Gergely Siklosi (HUN)
6. Alexis Bayard (SUI)
7. Maxim Pozdnyakov (ISR)
8. Alan Fardzinov (RUS)

26. Justin Yoo (La Verne, Calif.)
47. Gabriel Canaux (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
56. Michael Popovici (Katy, Texas)
58. Curtis McDowald (Jamaica, N.Y.)
78. Sean Wilson (Houston, Texas)
84. Anton Piskovatskov (Houston, Texas)
93. Samuel Blackwood (Lincroft, N.J.)
95. Samuel Freiman (Woodlands, Texas)
98. Zachary Zeller (Henderson, Nev.)
103. Jason Xu (Prospect, Ky.)
108. Ariel Simmons (Bellaire, Texas)
125. Clinton Rodell (Anandale, Va.)

Udine Men’s Epee Team Junior World Cup
1. Switzerland
2. Italy
3. Ukraine
4. Czech Republic
5. Spain
6. Egypt
7. Hungary
8. Russia

11. USA



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