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Team USA Sweeps Pan Am Team Events with Golds in Men’s Saber and Women’s Foil

04/24/2015, 3:30am CDT
By Nicole Jomantas

Women's foil gold medalists Nicole Ross, Nzingha Prescod, Margaret Lu and Lee Kiefer. Photo Credit: Nicole Jomantas

U.S. Men's Saber Team's Pete Souders, Jeff Spear, Jimmy Moody and Gabe Armijo with Coach Zoran Tulum. Photo Credit: Nicole Jomantas

(Santiago, Chile) – After winning gold in the first four team events and four of the six individual events at the Pan American Championships, Team USA finished out the tournament on Thursday with two more titles in men’s team saber and women’s team foil.

Following his bronze medal in the individual event, London Olympian Jeff Spear (Wynantskill, N.Y.) anchored the team of Peter Souders (Silver Spring, Md.), Gabe Armijo (San Diego, Calif.) and Jimmy Moody (Wynantskill, N.Y.) who followed his team epee gold medal on Wednesday with a position as the saber reserve on Thursday.

Seeded first in the direct elimination table, Team USA defeated Colombia, 45-24, after a bye into the quarter-finals. Although Mexico tied the semifinals at 37, Souders kept Team USA with a two-touch lead as he closed out the eighth bout at 40-38. Spear held Mexican anchor Julian Ayala to just two touches in the final bout, however, to finish the win for Team USA, 45-40.

In the gold medal final against Canada, Team USA was up by just two touches when Souders scored a pivotal 5-1 win for Team USA in the sixth to give the Americans a 30-24 lead. Armijo picked up another touch against Mark Peros in the seventh to set the score at 35-28 and Souders held off Shaul Gordon to give Spear a 40-35 lead going into the final bout. Spear outscored Joseph Polossifakis, 5-2, to give Team USA the victory, 40-37.

“Pete fenced out of his mind in that sixth bout where he went 5-1 and turned that into a six-point lead and Gabe managed to hold that and we kept it up all the way through the end,” Spear said. “There’s definitely been some question marks coming up the last couple years at this team event. Everyone is really gunning for it, but we keep bringing new people in and they keep performing out of this world, but it shows good things for the future of our squad. I’m really proud of Gabe and Pete. Neither one of them has ever fenced a senior team event anywhere before. It’s a very different kind of pressure, but they stepped up.”

Although just three years ago, Spear was the fourth fencer himself at the Games, he has now anchored the Pan Ams every year since 2013.

“I always feel that, as long as you’re up there, you’re an integral part of the team. So especially in 2011 even though I was third, I was competing and I felt the pressure, but it’s a different kind of pressure now. But I look forward to the fact that I can still count on my teammates to back me up and I don’t have to do it on my own, regardless of where I am in the order,” Spear said.

In the women’s foil team competition, Team USA included a trio of London Olympians: Lee Kiefer (Lexington, Ky.) and Nicole Ross (New York City) who won gold and silver in the individual event as well as top-eight finisher Nzingha Prescod (Brooklyn, N.Y.) Margaret Lu (Greenwich, Conn.) did not fence individual, but did enter the starting lineup for the team event.

The top-seeded U.S. squad won their first two matches by at least 25 touches with victories over Argentina, 45-19, in the quarters and Venezuela, 45-20, in the semis to put them into the gold medal final against Canada – a team they have fenced for gold at this event every year since 2008.

Although Canada held a 7-5 lead after the first two bouts, Kiefer went on a 10-3 run against Shannon Comerford in the third to put Team USA up, 15-10. From there, the Americans never looked back and retained a 35-24 lead going into Prescod’s anchor bout against two-time Junior World silver medalist Eleanor Harvey. Prescod outscored Harvey, 6-5, to finish the match for Team USA at 41-30.

“I think everyone fenced well today. Each of us had moments where we weren’t fencing super great, but then someone else would pick it up. This event is always a challenge, though. It’s never easy. You always have to work hard for it,” Prescod said.   

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

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

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

Men’s Team Saber Pan American Championships
1. USA

2. Canada
3. Venezuela
4. Mexico
5. Argentina
6. Brazil
7. Colombia
8. Puerto Rico

Women’s Team Foil Pan American Championships
1. USA

2. Canada
3. Venezuela
4. Brazil
5. Mexico
6. Chile
7. Argentina
8. Puerto Rico 

Tag(s): News  Jimmy Moody