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Junior and Cadet World Championships Begin on Wednesday in Uzbekistan

03/30/2015, 1:00pm CDT
By Nicole Jomantas

Team USA's cadet épée squads in Uzbekistan (L-R): Coach Gago Demirchian, Charlie Horowitz, Saanchi Kukadia, Barbara Vanbenthuysen, Farrah Lee-Elabd, Jonathan Piskovatskov, Jack Bradford and Coach Andrey Geva. Photo Credit: Jen Yamin

(Colorado Springs, Colo.) – Thirty-nine members of Team USA will compete at the 2015 Junior and Cadet World Championships beginning on Wednesday, April 1 and concluding on April 9 in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

This year’s Junior and Cadet Worlds will feature more than 1,000 athletes from 100 nations as future Olympians battle for a chance at gold on the world’s stage.

The nine-day tournament will include individual events for cadets (U17) and juniors (U20) as well as junior team events for each weapon and a new mixed weapon cadet team competition.

Athletes were selected for the team based on the National Team Point Standings with the top three athletes in each weapon and age group earning berths on the Junior and Cadet World Team for both individual and team events. For the junior team competition, a fourth athlete was selected to fence the team event only. The cadet mixed weapon team will include the top cadet fencer in the standings for each weapon as of each squad’s selection date.

Twelve members of Team USA are returning medalists from past Junior and Cadet Worlds with the Americans looking to build on last year’s historic 15-medal finish.

In 2014, five of Team USA’s weapon squads won medals in the team event with women’s foil winning its first gold since 2009. Women’s epee and men’s foil won silver and the men’s and women’s saber squads each took bronze.

While many of the 2014 Junior World Team athletes have aged out, each squad has at least one returner from the team that medaled at least year’s competition.

Junior Women’s Foil
The reigning Junior World Champions lost three members of the 2014 squad, but watch for 2014 Senior World Team member Sabrina Massialas (San Francisco, Calif.) to step up as anchor – the position she held in the final match when Team USA beat Russia for gold. A silver medalist at the Cadet Worlds in 2013 and 2014, this will be Massialas’s first year fencing only in the junior event. Sara Taffel (New York City, N.Y.), a silver medalist at the 2012 Cadet Worlds, is making her first return to Team USA since winning silver in the team event in 2013. A 2014 Cadet World Team member, Iman Blow (New York City, N.Y.) is making her debut at the Junior Worlds, but Blow is hardly a rookie. Although she has fenced in just three junior tournaments on the international circuit this year, Blow advanced to the finals of each, winning gold at the Junior Pan Ams and at the Zagreb Junior World Cup in Croatia and taking silver in Timisoara, Romania. Morgan Partridge (Swansea, Mass.) will fence in the individual event only following competing at her third Cadet Worlds.

Junior Men’s Foil
Team USA has a long legacy to live up to in the junior men’s foil team event as the Americans have won four golds and three silver medals since 2008. While Axel Kiefer (Lexington, Ky.) is the lone holdover from the 2014 team that won silver, Matthew Branman (Villanova, Pa.) is ranked eighth in the world after winning gold at the Junior Pan Ams and the Budapest Junior World Cup. Fencing in both the cadet and junior events, Sam Moelis (Hewlett, N.Y.) became one of the youngest men’s foil fencers ever to win the Division I National Championships when he took the title at just 16-years-old earlier this month shortly after winning bronze at the Junior Pan Ams. Raymond Chen (Dallas, Texas), a 2012 Cadet World Team member, will be joining Kiefer, Branman and Moelis in the team event.

Junior Women’s Saber
Ranked No. 1 in the world after winning four Junior World Cup golds, Sage Palmedo (Portland, Ore.) has lost just one bout on the international circuit this season and has the potential to become the first U.S. fencer since two-time Olympian Kelley Hurley (San Antonio, Texas) to win both individual and team titles at the Junior Worlds. A silver medalist at the 2014 Junior Worlds in the individual event, Palmedo won bronze in team last year and gold in 2013 with teammate Francesca Russo (Wayne, N.J.) – a 2012 Cadet World medalist who is hoping for a podium finish on the individual side as well and is fresh off winning the NCAA Championships as a freshman for Notre Dame. Regina O’Brien (Wellesley, Mass.) qualified for her first Junior World Team after becoming the only junior to place in the top 16 at the 2014 Absolute Fencing Gear® Korfanty World Cup where she showed that she can upset some of the best seniors in the world shortly after aging up from the cadet ranks. Violet Michel (Cambridge, Mass.) will fence as the team’s fourth after competing at her second Cadet World Championships at the start of the tournament.

Junior Men’s Saber
A silver medalist at the 2012 Junior Worlds, 2014 Senior World Team member Eli Dershwitz (Sherborn, Mass.) followed with a bronze in 2013 and, although he missed the individual podium in 2014, he led the United States to a bronze in the team event. Andrew Mackiewicz (Westwood, Mass.) won bronze with Dershwitz in 2014 and fell one bout short of an individual medal. Mackiewicz made his Senior World debut in 2014 and the Penn State freshman will be coming to Tashkent after his NCAA title win. Jonah Shainberg (Rye, N.Y.), a 2013 Cadet World Team member and Pan Am Team Champion, will return to Team USA for the first time as a Junior World Team member. Calvin Liang (Chandler, Ariz.) competed on the 2013 and 2014 Cadet World Teams and climbed the roster to take the fourth position for the team competition after earning a career-best silver medal at the Div I Nationals last month.

Junior Women’s Epee
Team USA will return two members of the squad that won silver at the 2014 Junior Worlds: Amanda Sirico (Bowie, Md.) and Mason Speta (Chicago, Ill.) Individually, Sirico advanced to the quarter-finals in 2014 and the seventh-ranked junior in the world is among Team USA’s top prospects for the women’s epee team’s first individual medal since 2008 when Kelley Hurley won gold. A bronze medalist at the 2012 Cadet Worlds, Jessie Radanovich (Tollhouse, Calif.) will be fencing at her first Junior Worlds in her final year of junior eligibility. Sirico, Speta and Radanovich will be joined in the team event by first-time Junior World Team member Madeline Antekeier (Houston, Texas).

Junior Men’s Epee
In 2014, Justin Yoo (La Verne, Calif.) had a landmark season where he won silver at the Cadet Worlds and bronze at the Junior Worlds – becoming the first U.S. men’s epee fencer to earn medals at both individual events in the same year. Although Team USA fell short of the medal rounds, the Americans have a strong squad this year, including 2013 Cadet World Champion Ariel Simmons (Bellaire, Texas) who recently qualified for his first Senior National Team as well as Anton Piskovatskov (Houston, Texas) who won silver at the Pan Am Junior Championships in February. Sam Freiman (Woodlands, Texas) will fence in the team event only.

Cadet Women’s Foil
Team USA’s women’s foil squad may be one of the deepest teams at the Cadet Worlds as all three of its members are ranked in the top 10 in the Cadet European Rankings. Three-time Cadet World Team member Morgan Partridge (Swansea, Mass.), two-time team member Stefani Deschner (Mechanicsville, Va.) and first-timer Sylvie Binder (Armonk, N.Y.) have each won multiple medals on the Cadet European Cup circuit this season. Although Team USA has only fenced in three women’s foil events on the circuit, this trio has won at least two medals in each of those events. Deschner won gold in Team USA’s final tournament of the season in January in Montecatini, Italy as well as bronze in Tauberbischofsheim, Germany and silver in the season opener in Gyor, Hungary. Binder took gold in Tauberbischofsheim and bronze in Gyor while Partridge won gold in Gyor and silver in Tauberbischofsheim.

Cadet Men’s Foil
The only member of the team to qualify for both the junior and cadet men’s foil events, Sam Moelis (Hewlett, N.Y.) ended his cadet season with a gold medal in Montecatini and added a bronze at the Junior Pan Ams in February. Moelis won gold at the Div I Nationals earlier this month and has a long legacy of U.S. success in this event to follow as an American has medaled in men’s foil at the Cadet Worlds for four of the last six years. First-time team member Geoffrey Tourette (Cupertino, Calif.) has had great success on the Cadet European circuit and will be a top podium contender as the No. 4 athlete in the Cadet European standings after winning gold in Gyor and bronze in Bratislava, Slovakia. Sidarth Kumbla (San Jose, Calif.), Tourette’s teammate at the Silicon Valley Fencing Center, has been consistent on the circuit this year as well, posting top-eight finishes in all three events with a bronze medal win in Gyor.

Cadet Women’s Saber
A pair of 2014 Cadet World Team members – Violet Michel (Cambridge, Mass.) and Sarah Merza (Wayne, N.J.) are back in action this year after Michel missed the podium by a single bout win and Merza finished 21st last year. The two are joined by Maia Chamberlain (Menlo Park, Calif.) who shot up to No. 2 in the U.S. standings after placing fifth at this year’s Div I Nationals.

Cadet Men’s Saber
The cadet men’s saber squad includes a trio of 15-year-olds who are each representing Team USA for the first time at the World Championships. Andrew Doddo (South Orange, N.J.) fenced in two Cadet European Cups this season and advanced to the finals of both tournaments where he won gold in Godollo, Hungary and silver in Konin, Poland. Dawson Sieradzky (Wayne, N.J.) qualified for Team USA after placing fifth at the Div I Nationals as the youngest fencer in the top eight. Fencing in his second season on the Cadet European circuit, Andrew Sun (Alpharetta, Ga.) earned a top-eight result in Konin last fall.

Cadet Women’s Epee
The women’s epee squad also includes a trio of first-time Cadet World Team members. Fencing on the Cadet European circuit for the first time, Barbara Vanbenthuysen (The Woodlands, Texas) won bronze at the first tournament of the season in Klagenfurt, Austria and added a top eight result in Bratislava. Farrah Lee-Elabd (San Antonio, Texas) made her Junior World Cup debut in February where she placed eighth in Burgos, Spain. Saanchi Kukadia (Manhasset, N.Y.) qualified for the third position on Team USA with her first bronze medal in the junior event at the Junior Olympic Championships in February and a sixth-place result in the cadet competition.

Cadet Men’s Epee
Jack Bradford (Erie, Colo.)
has had a breakout season with two top-eight results in Europe where he placed fifth at the Helsinki Cadet European Cup in Finland and eighth in Copenhagen, Denmark. A 2014 Cadet World Team member, Charlie Horowitz (Los Angeles, Calif.) qualified for his second U.S. team after winning bronze in Klagenfurt. The younger brother of Anton Piskovatskov, 13-year-old Jonathan Piskovatskov (Houston, Texas) is Team USA’s youngest member, but is no stranger to the international scene after winning bronze in Helsinki.

Cadet Mixed Team Competition
For the first time, the Cadet Worlds will included a mixed weapon and gender team event with one athlete per weapon squad representing each nation. Team USA’s lineup for the event includes:

Men’s Epee
Jack Bradford (Erie, Colo.)

Women’s Epee
Barbara Vanbenthuysen (The Woodlands, Texas)

Men’s Foil
Sam Moelis (Hewlett, N.Y.)

Women’s Foil
Morgan Partridge (Swansea, Mass.)

Men’s Saber
Andrew Doddo (South Orange, N.J.)

Women’s Saber
Violet Michel (Cambridge, Mass.)

Team USA’s staff includes:

Chef de Mission
Wes Glon (State College, Pa.)

Team Leader
Jennifer Yamin (Allendale, N.J.)

Team Captain
Francisco Martin (Yonkers, N.Y.)

Epee Coaches
Andrey Geva (Houston, Texas)
Sergey Danilov (Katy, Texas)

Foil Coaches
Greg Massialas (San Francisco, Calif.)
Buckie Leach (Mt. Sinai, N.Y.)

Saber Coach
Zoran Tulum (Natick, Mass.)

Michael Mergens (Burke, Va.)
Brian Rosen (Mars, Pa.)

Sports Medicine
Raluca Duma (Whittier, Calif.)
Giuseppe Giovatto Jr. (Clearwater, Fla.)

Team USA’s athlete roster is as follows (* indicates fencers who will compete in the team event, but not individual):

Junior Men’s Epee
Justin Yoo (La Verne, Calif.)
Ariel Simmons (Bellaire, Texas)
Anton Piskovatskov (Houston, Texas)
Sam Freiman* (Woodland, Texas)

Junior Women’s Epee
Amanda Sirico (Bowie, Md.)
Jessie Radanovich (Tollhouse, Calif.)
Mason Speta (Chicago, Ill.)
Madeline Antekeier* (Houston, Texas)

Junior Men’s Foil
Matthew Branman (Villanova, Pa.)
Sam Moelis (Hewlett, N.Y.)
Axel Kiefer (Lexington, Ky.)
Raymond Chen* (Dallas, Texas)

Junior Women’s Foil
Sabrina Massialas (San Francisco, Calif.)
Iman Blow (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
Sara Taffel (New York, N.Y.)
Morgan Partridge* (Swansea, Mass.)

Junior Men’s Saber
Eli Dershwitz (Sherborn, Mass.)
Andrew Mackiewicz (Westwood, Mass.)
Jonah Shainberg (Rye, N.Y.)
Calvin Liang* (Chandler, Ariz.)

Junior Women’s Saber
Sage Palmedo (Portland, Ore.)
Francesca Russo (Wayne, N.J.)
Regina O’Brien (Wellesley, Mass.)
Violet Michel* (Cambridge, Mass.)

Cadet Men’s Epee
Jack Bradford (Erie, Colo.)
Charles Horowitz (Los Angeles, Calif.)
Jonathan Piskovatskov (Houston, Texas)

Cadet Women’s Epee
Barbara Vanbenthuysen (The Woodlands, Texas)
Farrah Lee-Elabd (San Antonio, Texas)
Saanchi Kukadia (Manhasset, N.Y.)

Cadet Men’s Foil
Sam Moelis (Hewlett, N.Y.)
Geoffrey Tourette (Cupertino, Calif.)
Sidarth Kumbla (San Jose, Calif.)

Cadet Women’s Foil
Morgan Partridge (Swansea, Mass.)
Stefani Deschner (Mechanicsville, Va.)
Sylvie Binder (Armonk, N.Y.)

Cadet Men’s Saber
Andrew Doddo (South Orange, N.J.)
Dawson Sieradzky (Wayne, N.J.)
Andrew Sun (Alpharetta, Ga.)

Cadet Women’s Saber
Violet Michel (Cambridge, Mass.)
Maia Chamberlain (Menlo Park, Calif.)
Sarah Merza (Wayne, N.J.)

Competition schedule is as follows:

Wednesday, April 1
Individual Cadet Women’s Epee
Individual Cadet Men’s Epee

Thursday, April 2
Individual Cadet Women’s Saber
Individual Cadet Men’s Foil

Friday, April 3
Individual Cadet Women’s Foil
Individual Cadet Men’s Saber

Saturday, April 4
Mixed Cadet Team

Sunday, April 5
Individual Junior Women’s Foil
Individual Junior Men’s Epee

Monday, April 6
Individual Junior Women’s Saber
Individual Junior Men’s Foil  
Team Junior Women’s Foil (T32-16)
Team Junior Men’s Epee (T32-16)

Tuesday, April 7
Individual Junior Women’s Epee
Individual Junior Men’s Saber
Team Junior Women’s Saber T32-16
Team Junior Men’s Foil T32-16

Wednesday, April 8
Team Junior Women’s Foil Quarters – Gold Medal Final
Team Junior Men’s Epee Quarters – Gold Medal Final
Team Junior Women’s Saber Quarters – Gold Medal Final
Team Junior Women’s Epee T32-16
Team Junior Men’s Saber T32-16

Thursday, April 9
Team Junior Men’s Foil Quarters – Gold Medal Final
Team Junior Women’s Epee Quarters – Gold Medal Final
Team Junior Men’s Saber Quarters – Gold Medal Final 

Tag(s): News  Eli Dershwitz  Sabrina Massialas  Andrew Mackiewicz  Sage Palmedo