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USA Fencing Names Team for Pan Am Games in Toronto

06/18/2015, 5:30pm CDT
By Nicole Jomantas

Alex Massialas won gold in men's foil at the last Pan Am Games in 2011. Photo Credit: Amy Alden Timacheff / FIE /

(Colorado Springs, Colo.) – USA Fencing is pleased to announce that 18 athletes have been selected to represent Team USA at the Pan American Games in Toronto, Canada.

Fencing at the Pan Am Games will be held from July 20-25 and immediately follows the Senior World Championships which take place in Moscow from July 13-19.

All three weapons (epee, foil and saber) will be contested with two athletes fencing in each individual event and a third fencer joining the squad for the team event only. Athletes were selected for the team based on their position on the USA Fencing National Team Point Standings.

The U.S. Fencing Team had its most successful Pan Am Games in 2011 in Guadalajara, Mexico and eight members of this year’s team were members of the delegation that won 11 of 12 gold medals in 2011, including all six team events.

Two-time Olympic Champion Mariel Zagunis (Beaverton, Ore.) won the individual women’s saber title in 2011 and both London Olympian Dagmara Wozniak (Avenel, N.J.) and Ibtihaj Muhammad (Maplewood, N.J.) were on the squad that won team gold that year as well. Wozniak, who took silver to Zagunis at the Pan Am Championships in April, will fence in the individual competition and Muhammad will be added for the team event. The U.S. Women’s Saber Team is ranked No. 1 in the world as the reigning Senior World Champions and has never lost a match in Pan Am competition.

Ranked No. 3 in the world, women’s foil fencer Lee Kiefer (Lexington, Ky.) is only 20-years-old, but holds seven Pan Am individual titles. Kiefer, who won her sixth straight Pan Am Championship gold in April, will be defending her individual 2011 Pan Am Games gold where she defeated her London Olympic teammate Nzingha Prescod (Brooklyn, N.Y.) in the final. An individual silver medalist at the Pan Am Championships in Chile this year, London Olympian Nicole Ross (New York City) will fence the team event at her first Pan Am Games.

London Olympian Alexander Massialas (San Francisco, Calif.) won gold as a 17-year-old at his first Pan Am Games in 2011 and the men’s foil fencer will return to the Games for a chance at a second title. After winning team gold in Guadalajara, two-time Olympian Gerek Meinhardt (San Francisco, Calif.) will compete in both individual and team this year where he enters the competition with three individual Pan Am Championship titles to his name. Miles Chamley-Watson (New York City), a London Olympian and 2013 Senior World Champion, will competing at his second Pan Am Games.

Although all three members of the U.S. Men’s Saber Team are first-time Pan Am Games Team members, the squad features two Olympians and all three athletes have won gold at the Pan Am Championships. London Olympian Daryl Homer (Bronx, N.Y.) won gold at the 2011 Pan Am Championships, but did not compete in the Pan Am Games. This year, Homer took individual silver at the Pan Am Championships after a 15-14 loss to 2015 Junior World Champion Eli Dershwitz (Sherborn, Mass.) who is the two-time reigning Pan Am Champion. London Olympian Jeff Spear (Wynantskill, N.Y.) will be competing in the team event only after anchoring Team USA to three straight Pan Am Championship titles from 2013-15.

The U.S. Men’s Epee Team comes into the Pan Am Games after upsetting Venezuela in the gold medal final of the Pan Am Championships in Venezuela. Featuring three first-time Pan Am Games Team members, the men’s epee squad is led by 2012 Senior World Team Champion Ben Bratton (New York City). Jason Pryor (Colorado Springs, Colo.), a 2013 individual Pan Am bronze medalist, also will fence in the individual competition and Yeisser Ramirez (Brooklyn, N.Y.) will fence team.

The women’s epee squad also includes three athletes who each will be making her Pan Am Games debut. Three-time Senior World Team member will Katharine Holmes (Washington, D.C.) won individual silver medals at the Pan Am Championships in 2013 and 2014 and took bronze this year. Katarzyna Trzopek (Pacifica Calif.) recently qualified for her first U.S. National Team and the Games will mark her first Pan Am event. A 2014 Senior World Team member, Anna Van Brummen (Houston, Texas) took bronze at the 2014 Pan Ams in the individual competition and gold in the team event.

The complete U.S. Pan American Fencing Team is as follows:

Men’s Epee
Ben Bratton (New York City)
Jason Pryor (Colorado Springs, Colo.)
Team Event Only: Yeisser Ramirez (Brooklyn, N.Y.)

Women’s Epee
Katharine Holmes (Washington, D.C.)
Katarzyna Trzopek (Pacifica, Calif.)
Team Event Only: Anna Van Brummen (Houston, Texas)

Men’s Foil
Gerek Meinhardt (San Francisco, Calif.)
Alex Massialas (San Francisco, Calif.)
Team Event Only: Miles Chamley-Watson (New York City)

Women’s Foil
Lee Kiefer (Lexington, Ky.)
Nzingha Prescod (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
Team Event Only: Nicole Ross (New York City)

Men’s Saber
Daryl Homer (Bronx, N.Y.)
Eli Dershwitz (Sherborn, Mass.)
Team Event Only: Jeff Spear (Wynantskill, N.Y.)

Women’s Saber
Mariel Zagunis (Beaverton, Ore.)
Dagmara Wozniak (Avenel, N.J.)
Team Event Only: Ibtihaj Muhammad (Maplewood, N.J.)

Team Leader
Samantha Nemecek Belding (Denver, Colo.)

Men’s and Women’s Epee Coach
Benoit Bouysset (Houston, Texas)

Men’s Foil Coach
Greg Massialas (San Francisco, Calif.)

Men’s Saber Coach
Zoran Tulum (Natick, Mass.)

Women’s Foil Coach
Buckie Leach (Mt. Sinai, N.Y.)

Women’s Saber Coach
Akhnaten Spencer-El (Bergenfield, N.J.)

Raluca Duma (Whittier, Calif.)

The 2015 U.S. Pan American Fencing Team is subject to approval by the United States Olympic Committee. 

Tag(s): News  Eli Dershwitz  Alexander Massialas  Gerek Meinhardt  Nicole Ross  Jeff Spear  Anna van Brummen  Miles Chamley-Watson  Dagmara Wozniak  Mariel Zagunis  Lee Kiefer  Nzingha Prescod  Kat Holmes