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Team USA to Conclude Foil World Cup Season at the Shanghai Grand Prix

05/14/2015, 4:45pm CDT
By Nicole Jomantas

Gerek Meinhardt won the final Grand Prix of the season in 2014. Photo Credit: Nicole Jomantas

Race Imboden is ranked No. 2 in the worlds. Photo Credit: Nicole Jomantas

(Colorado Springs, Colo.) – The eight-tournament World Cup season will come to an end for the world’s foil fencers at the Shanghai Grand Prix this weekend.

Both men’s and women’s foil events will be held in the tournament that also will serve as the first 2016 Olympic qualifying Grand Prix for foil.

Nine U.S. men and nine U.S. women will compete against a field of 321 total fencers across both genders.

On the men’s side, London Olympian Race Imboden (Brooklyn, N.Y.) has the potential to use this event as a springboard into the No. 1 world ranking and the top seed at this summer’s Senior World Championships. Ranked No. 2 in the world now, Imboden took bronze at the last Grand Prix of 2014 and is hoping to improve on that result after a season that has included four medals on the World Cup circuit and his third Pan Am title.

Two of Imboden’s London Olympic teammates, Gerek Meinhardt (San Francisco, Calif.) and Alex Massialas (San Francisco, Calif.), are ranked in the top six in the world as well. Meinhardt won the final Grand Prix of 2014 when this event was held in Tokyo and led Team USA to a three-medal finish with Imboden and Massialas each taking bronze.

As the World Rankings system has each event replacing the prior year’s result, the pressure will be on for the U.S. men who are looking for top seeds going into the Senior Worlds.

Since the 2016 Olympic Team for women’s foil will be selected off an adjusted version of the World Rankings, the stakes will be high for Team USA’s women at the Grand Prix which is worth 1 ½ times the value of a World Cup result in the rankings.

London Olympian Lee Kiefer (Lexington, Ky.) recently passed six-time Olympic Champion Valentina Vezzali (ITA) to take the No. 3 position in the World Rankings where she sits behind reigning Senior World Champion Arianna Errigo (ITA) and 2012 Olympic Champion Elisa Di Francisca (ITA) – both of whom Kiefer has defeated this season.

Kiefer’s 2012 Olympic teammate, Nicole Ross (New York City), climbed the Adjusted Olympic Rankings when she took silver behind Kiefer with a career-best result at the Pan American Championships in Santiago, Chile last month. Ross placed in the top 32 at the Tauberbischofsheim World Cup two weeks ago and is aiming to build on her momentum in Shanghai.

Like Kiefer and Ross, Nzingha Prescod (Brooklyn, N.Y.) is aiming to qualify for her second Olympic Team. Prescod lost to Ross in the quarter-finals of the Pan Ams, but was the only U.S. fencer to make the 16 in Tauberbischofsheim and is currently ranked No. 12 in the world.

Competition begins on Friday with the pools and preliminary rounds for both men and women. The table of 64 will be held for the women on Saturday and the men on Sunday.

Click here to follow live results.

The complete roster of U.S. athletes fencing at the Shanghai Grand Prix is as follows:

Men’s Foil
Nobuo Bravo (San Francisco, Calif.)
Miles Chamley-Watson (New York City)
Jason Chang (Mountain View, Calif.)
Race Imboden (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
Brian Kaneshige (Maplewood, N.J.)
Forrest MacDougall (Los Angeles, Calif.)
Alex Massialas (San Francisco, Calif.)
Gerek Meinhardt (San Francisco, Calif.)
David Willette (Lafayette, Calif.)

Women’s Foil
Caitlin Buteau (Bernardsville, N.J.)
Amy Jia (Houston, Texas)
Lee Kiefer (Lexington, Ky.)
Elyssa Kleiner (San Francisco, Calif.)
Margaret Lu (Greenwich, Conn.)
Sabrina Massialas (San Francisco, Calif.)
Nzingha Prescod (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
Nicole Ross (New York City)
Xiao-Qing Tsai (Salt Lake City, Utah)

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