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First Olympic Qualification World Cups to be Held Around the World This Weekend

04/30/2015, 7:30pm CDT
By Nicole Jomantas

Race Imboden comes into this weekend as the No. 2-ranked men's foil fencer in the world. Photo Credit: Nicole Jomantas

(Colorado Springs, Colo.) – Team USA will fence in six World Cups across three continents as the first of the World Cup qualifiers for the 2016 Olympic Games begin this weekend.

Following a perfect, six-for-six, finish at the Pan American Championships last week in Santiago, Chile the U.S. teams for men’s and women’s epee, foil and saber will fence the best in the world in tournaments across Asia, Europe and Africa.

The tournaments will be held in the following locations (Click links for live results):

Men’s Epee: Paris
Women’s Epee: Johannesburg, South Africa
Men’s Foil: St. Petersburg, Russia
Women’s Foil: Tauberbischofsheim, Germany
Men’s Saber: Madrid Spain
Women’s Saber: Beijing, China

The three-day events will begin on Friday and conclude on Sunday. Friday’s competition includes the pool and preliminary rounds while medals will be awarded on Saturday as the table of 64 is pared down to a winner. All team rounds will be held on Sunday.

For men’s and women’s epee, men’s foil and women’s saber, both individual and team events will be held in Rio and this is the second qualifying event for the Rio Games after the Pan American Championships.

For team events, this is the second of seven events (Zonal Championships as well as five World Cups and the 2015 Senior World Championships) that make up the Olympic qualification process.

The top four teams in the world on the FIE Adjusted Official Rankings in each weapon as of April 3, 2016 will qualify for Rio with additional slots reserved for the highest ranked team in each weapon per zone for a total of eight teams per weapon, plus host nation, if applicable. Should a nation qualify a team for Rio, that country will receive both a position in the team event as well as three positions in the individual competition.

In turn, should the U.S. qualify an individual weapon squad (men’s foil, women’s saber, etc.), athletes who are ranked in the top three in the USA Fencing National Team Point Standings as of April 12, 2016 will fence in both the individual and team events in Rio. The fourth athlete in the rankings will travel to Rio as a replacement athlete for the team event.

For men’s saber and women’s foil, which will be contested only for individuals in Rio, qualification will be done by name. A maximum of two athletes per nation per weapon will be able to qualify for Rio through positions in the top-14 fencers in the FIE Individual Adjusted Official Rankings or as one of the top two fencers in the Individual AOR by zone.

Ten U.S. fencers are currently ranked among the top 16 in their world in their respective weapons and will be exempt from the pool and preliminary rounds. These athletes will advance directly to the individual table of 64 on Saturday.

The following are some of Team USA’s top athletes to watch this weekend:

Men’s Epee
All four of the fencers who won gold in the team event at the Pan Ams will be fencing in Paris, including 2012 World Team Champion Ben Bratton (New York City) and his teammates Jason Pryor (Colorado Springs, Colo.), Jimmy Moody (Colorado Springs, Colo.) and Ari Simmons (Bellaire, Texas). Bratton and Simmons are coming off top-eight individual results in Santiago as well. Yeisser Ramirez (Brooklyn, N.Y.) earned Team USA’s best individual finish of the season at the last Grand Prix in Budapest where he placed in the top 32.

Women’s Epee
A 2012 Olympic team bronze medalist, Courtney Hurley (San Antonio, Texas) is ranked No. 10 in the world. She is joined by her older sister Kelley Hurley (San Antonio, Texas) who also won bronze in London and took individual silver at the Pan Ams. Kat Holmes (Washington, D.C.) won bronze in Santiago and has placed in the top 16 twice this season on the World Cup circuit. Isabel Ford (Salem, Ore.) had a breakout season this year where she earned her first top-32 result in Argentina.

Men’s Foil
With four London Olympians and three athletes ranked in the top six in the world, Team USA is expected to be a force to be reckoned with. After winning three gold medals on the circuit this season, Race Imboden (Brooklyn, N.Y.) is ranked No. 2 in the world. A top-eight finisher at the 2014 Senior Worlds, Gerek Meinhardt (San Francisco, Calif.) is ranked fourth in the standings while Alex Massialas (San Francisco, Calif.) is sixth with three podium finishes on the circuit this season. A gold medalist at the 2013 Senior Worlds, Miles Chamley-Watson (New York City) finished in the top eight in Santiago.

Women’s Foil
Ranked No. 3 in the world, Lee Kiefer (Lexington, Ky.) has had one of the best seasons on record for a U.S. women’s foil fencer after winning gold in Algers and silver in St. Maur as well as her sixth straight individual Pan Am title. Nzingha Prescod (Brooklyn, N.Y.) has earned two top-eight results out of the three events she has fenced on the circuit this season and is ranked 13th in the world. Kiefer and Prescod’s London teammate, Nicole Ross (New York City), won silver at the Pan Ams in Santiago and has earned three top-32 and a top-16 result this season. Sabrina Massialas (San Francisco, Calif.) earned her first top-16 result in Algers and placed in the top eight in Santiago.

Men’s Saber
London Olympian Daryl Homer (Bronx, N.Y.) won his first medal on the World Cup circuit in March where he upset a pair of former Senior World Champions en route to taking bronze at the Seoul Grand Prix. Ranked 10th in the world, Homer placed second in Santiago behind his teammate, Eli Dershwitz (Sherborn, Mass.), who also won gold earlier this month at the Junior World Championships. London Olympian Jeff Spear (Wynantskill, N.Y.) placed third in Santiago.

Women’s Saber
Team USA boasts three fencers ranked in the top 16 in the world – each of whom have medaled on the circuit this season. Two-time Olympic Champion Mariel Zagunis (Beaverton, Ore.) is ranked No. 2 after four individual podium finishes out of six events on the circuit this season. London Olympian Dagmara Wozniak (Avenel, N.J.) won bronze medals in Orleans and Athens and is ranked fourth in the world. Ibtihaj Muhammad (Maplewood, N.J.) comes in at 11th on the heels of a silver medal result in Seoul. Eliza Stone (Chicago, Ill.), who won gold with Team USA at the 2014 Senior Worlds, took bronze in Santiago.

The complete list of U.S. athletes fencing this weekend is as follows:

Paris Men’s Epee World Cup
Alex House (Upton, Mass.)
Adam Maczik (Colorado Springs, Colo.)
Kevin Mo (Irvine, Calif.)
Jimmy Moody (Colorado Springs, Colo.)
Jason Pryor (Colorado Springs, Colo.)
Yeisser Ramirez (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
Ariel Simmons (Bellaire, Texas)
Dwight Smith (Elmont, N.Y.)
Alex Tsinis (Little Neck, N.Y.)
Lewis Weiss (Houston, Texas)
Justin Yoo (La Verne, Calif.)

Johannesburg Women’s Epee World Cup
Francesca Bassa (Houston, Texas)
Holly Buechel (New York City)
Isabel Ford (Salem, Ore.)
Danielle Henderson (Piscataway, N.J.)
Katharine Holmes (Washington, D.C.)
Courtney Hurley (San Antonio, Texas)
Kelley Hurley (San Antonio, Texas)
Jasmine McGlade (Littleton, Colo.)
Katarzyna Trzopek (Pacifica, Calif.)
Anna Van Brummen (Houston, Texas)
Nina Van Loon (Boulder, Colo.)
Natalie Vie (Phoenix, Ariz.)

St. Petersburg Men’s Foil World Cup
Nobuo Bravo (San Francisco, Calif.)
Miles Chamley-Watson (New York City, N.Y.)
Jason Chang (Mountain View, Calif.)
Race Imboden (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
Brian Kaneshige (Maplewood, N.J.)
Alex Massialas (San Francisco, Calif.)
Gerek Meinhardt (San Francisco, Calif.)
Christopher Saulys (Metuchen, N.J.)
David Willette (Lafayette, Calif.)

Tauberbischofsheim Women’s Foil World Cup
Lee Kiefer (Lexington, Ky.)
Margaret Lu (Greenwich, Conn.)
Sabrina Massialas (San Francisco, Calif.)
Morgan Partridge (Swansea, Mass.)
Nzingha Prescod (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
Nicole Ross (New York City)

Madrid Men’s Saber World Cup
Gabriel Armijo (San Diego, Calif.)
Eli Dershwitz (Sherborn, Mass.)
Andrew Fischl (Huntington, N.Y.)
Daryl Homer (Bronx, N.Y.)
Thomas Kolasa (Princeton, N.J.)
Michael Mills (Short Hills, N.J.)
Evan Prochniak (Hudson, N.H.)
Dawson Sieradzky
Peter Souders (Silver Spring, Md.)
Dawson Sieradzky (Wayne, N.J.)
Jeff Spear (Wynantskill, N.Y.)
Marty Williams Jr. (Danbury, Conn.)

Beijing Women’s Saber World Cup
Rachel Aho (Wellesley, Mass.)
Monica Aksamit (Matawan, N.J.)
Aziza Hassan (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
Celina Merza (Wayne, N.J.)
Sarah Merza (Wayne, N.J.)
Ibtihaj Muhammad (Maplewood, N.J.)
Sage Palmedo (Portland, Ore.)
Daria Schneider (New York City, N.Y.)
Eliza Stone (Chicago, Ill.)
Kamali Thompson (Teaneck, N.J.)
Dagmara Wozniak (Avenel, N.J.)
Mariel Zagunis (Beaverton, Ore.)

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