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U.S. Men’s Saber Team Wins Bronze at Junior Worlds

04/10/2015, 4:45pm CDT
By Nicole Jomantas

Team USA anchor Eli Dershwitz. Photo Credit: Serge Timacheff / FIE / FencingPhotos.com

(Colorado Springs, Colo.) – The U.S. Men’s Saber Team closed out the Junior and Cadet Worlds with a bronze medal on Thursday in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

The squad’s podium result marked the eighth medal of the championships for Team USA.

Fencing in his final junior tournament, Eli Dershwitz (Sherborn, Mass.) anchored the squad after winning gold in the individual competition on Tuesday and was joined by 2014 Junior World team medalist Andrew Mackiewicz (Westwood, Mass.), 2013 Senior Pan American Team member Jonah Shainberg (Rye, N.Y.) and two-time Cadet World Team member Calvin Liang (Chandler, Ariz.)

After advancing through the early rounds on Wednesday, Team USA led France for nearly the entire quarter-final match against France where Dershwitz entered the anchor bout with a 40-33 lead. Dershwitz outscored Charles Colleau, 5-2, for a 45-35 Team USA victory.

In the semifinals against Korea, Team USA led the bout, 40-38, and Dershwitz outtouched Soohwan Kim, 4-2, to push the score to 44-40. Kim made an outstanding comeback and scored five straight to steal the match for Korea, 45-40.

The 18th seeded Koreans would go on to upset Russia in the finals to take the gold medal.

In the bronze medal final, Poland led Team USA, 35-30, after the first seven bouts. Mateusz Godlewski scored three of the first four touches, but Mackiewicz answered with an eight-touch run as he went on to defeat Godlewski, 10-4. With a 40-39 lead at the start of the final bout, Dershwitz gave up two early touches to Jakub Jaskot before going on to win the match, 45-41, with five straight touches.

In addition to the men’s saber squad, two other U.S. teams fenced for medals on Thursday.

The U.S. Men’s Foil Team came into the Junior Worlds as the reigning silver medalists. With Axel Kiefer (Lexington, Ky.) as the lone carryover from the 2014 squad, Team USA’s newcomers included Sam Moelis (Hewlett, N.Y.) who won the Cadet World title last week, 2015 Pan American Junior Champion Matthew Branman (Villanova, Pa.) and 2012 Cadet World Team member Raymond Chen (Dallas, Texas).

The Americans dominated the quarter-finals with all four fencers competing in the match against Denmark. After seven bout wins, Moelis took the strip in the anchor bout where he outscored Thomas Lerche Berg, 5-4, to give Team USA the 45-24 victory.

In a rematch of the 2014 final, Team USA fenced China in the semis. The Chinese controlled the match from the start and Moelis came in as anchor with a 16-touch deficit to make up as China led the match, 40-24. Moelis was unable to hold off 2015 Junior World bronze medalist Mengkai Huang and Team USA lost the match, 45-24.

The Americans fenced France in the bronze medal final. With Team USA down, 10-8, after the first two bouts, Branman pulled out a 7-3 win against Maximilien Chastanet to put his squad in the lead. France regrouped quickly, however, and won the next five bouts to take a 40-27 lead after the eighth bout. Kiefer returned to the anchor leg, but he couldn’t hold off Erwann Auclin and Team USA lost the match, 45-28, and ended with a fourth place finish.

The U.S. Women’s Epee Team also came into the Junior Worlds as the reigning silver medalists where 2014 Junior World Team members Amanda Sirico (Bowie, Md.) and Mason Speta (Chicago, Ill.) were joined by 2012 Cadet World medalist Jessie Radanovich (Tollhouse, Calif.) and first-time team member Madeline Antekeier (Houston, Texas).

In the quarter-finals, Sirico entered the anchor bout with the score tied at 35 against Hungary’s Reka Bohus who pulled away by two touches to take a 38-36 lead midway through the bout. Sirico scored two singles to tie the bout at 38 and Bohus scored one of her own to pull away at 39-38. With 16 seconds on the clock, Sirico scored the tying touch to send the bout into overtime where she earned both priority and the winning touch to take the match, 40-39, for Team USA.

The semifinals would pit Team USA against Russia – the team the Americans lost to in the 2014 gold medal final.

With Russia leading the match, 23-22, after the sixth period, Speta tied the score at 24 after her bout against Alina Bagaeva and Antekeier split touches with Daria Filina to hold a tie at 24 going into Sirico’s anchor bout against Victoria Kuzmenkova – the No. 3-ranked junior fencer in the world. Sirico was within a touch of Kuzmenkova at 30-29 going into the final minute, but the Russian rattled off seven straight scores and Sirico couldn’t make up the lost ground as the Americans lost the match, 41-33.

In the bronze medal final, Radanovich joined the lineup for Speta who was the squad’s reserve for the match and Team USA fenced a close series against Germany, but remained down, 26-22, after the first  bouts. With Sirico facing off against 2015 Junior World silver medalist Nadine Stahlberg, the pace of the anchor bout was lightning fast as Stahlberg scored 18 touches in three minutes and held Sirico to seven as Germany won the match, 44-29.

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

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

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

Junior Men’s Team Saber World Championships
1. Korea
2. Russia
3. USA
4. Poland
5. France
6. Hungary
7. Kuwait
8. Japan

Junior Men’s Team Foil World Championships
1. Italy
2. China
3. France
4. USA
5. Japan
6. Denmark
7. Russia
8. Australia

Junior Women’s Team Epee World Championships
1. Italy
2. Russia
3. Germany
4. USA
5. Poland
6. China
7. Hungary
8. Egypt

Tag(s): News  Eli Dershwitz  Andrew Mackiewicz