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Alexander Massialas and Lee Kiefer Defend Pan Am Games Titles in Toronto

07/24/2015, 5:00am CDT
By Nicole Jomantas

Alexander Massialas (right) and Gerek Meinhardt won gold and silver in men's foil. Photo Credit: Serge Timacheff / FIE /

Colorado Springs, Colo.) – The last time Alexander Massialas (San Francisco, Calif.) and Lee Kiefer (Lexington, Ky.) competed at the Pan American Games, the two foil fencers were teenagers trying to qualify for the London Olympic Games and being billed as the future of fencing.

Four( years later, Massialas and Kiefer arrived in Toronto as the top seeds in the individual foil events with Massialas ranked third in the world and Kiefer ranked fourth.

Although the Pan Am Games restricts entries to two athletes per nation in each event, Team USA was poised to maximize their podium potential with three-time Senior World medalist Gerek Meinhardt (San Francisco, Calif.) and 2015 Pan Am Championships silver medalist Nicole Ross (New York City, N.Y.) also contending for a shot at the Pan Am Games title in Toronto.

On Wednesday, Massialas and Meinhardt both posted perfect, 5-0, records in the pools to take the first and second seeds in the table of 16.

Both Massialas and Meinhardt opened with 15-8 wins in the table of 16 with Massialas defeating Raul Arizaga Vaca (MEX) and Meinhardt besting Jonathan Lugo Rivera (PUR).

In the quarter-finals, Massialas took on 2014 Pan Am Championships bronze medalist Guilherme Toldo (BRA) in a rematch of their semifinal at the 2011 Pan Am Games. Massialas built a 10-5 lead after the first period and ended the bout at 15-7 in the second.

Meinhardt cruised through his quarter-final bout, scoring 14 touches in the first period and advancing to the semis with a 15-6 win against Ruben Silva (CHI).

Massialas fenced his semifinal first and left little to doubt as he defeated Daniel Gomez Tanamachi (MEX), 15-2.

Meinhardt struggled during the first half of his semi against 2014 Seoul World Cup medalist Ghislain Perrier (BRA) who was up, 9-4, in the second period before Meinhardt scored five straight touches to tie the bout at nine. Meinhardt ended the second period tied at 10 and outscored Perrier, 5-2, in the third to win the bout, 15-12.

Just a week after Massialas won silver at the Senior World Championships in Moscow and Meinhardt took bronze, the two were back on the finals stage – this time fencing each other as they have countless times in the past – both on the international stage and as lifelong teammates at the Massialas Foundation in San Francisco.

Massialas won their last bout by a 15-12 score in the semifinals of the Pan Am Championships in April and took an 8-4 lead in the first period of their rematch. Meinhardt stayed in the bout with a five-touch run and a tie at nine going into the break. Meinhardt scored first in the second, but it was Massialas who won the bout, 15-12, to take his second individual Pan Am Games title at just 21-years-old.

In the women’s event, Kiefer got the day off to a fast-paced start with a 15-5 first-period win over Liz Rivero (VEN) while Ross defeated Denisse Hernandez Martinez (MEX), 15-10, to advance to the quarters.

Kiefer won her next bout, 15-9, against Gabriela Cecchini (BRA) and Ross held off 2014 Pan Am Championships silver medalist Kelleigh Ryan (CAN) for an 11-10 win that would set up a semifinal bout between the U.S. teammates.

Fencing for the third time in just over three months, the bout would be a rematch of the gold medal finals at both the Pan Am Championships and the July Challenge.

Kiefer took a 7-2 lead in the first period and fenced an aggressive start to the second half where she scored five unanswered touches to take the score to 12-3. Ross scored twice more, but it was Kiefer who would win the bout, 15-5. Ross would take home a bronze medal from her first Pan American Games.

In the finals, Saskia Loretta Van Erven Garcia (COL) was looking for an upset after winning bronze behind the Americans at the Pan American Championships.

Indeed, the Colombian controlled the first period, outscoring Kiefer, 10-4, before the American scored twice to cut her opponent’s lead to 10-6 at the break. The second period would be all Kiefer, however, as the 2011 Senior World medalist gave up just one touch and scored nine to win the bout, 15-11, to ear her second Pan Am Games gold.

Click here to view complete results.

Top eight results are as follows:

Pan American Games Men’s Individual Foil
1. Alexander Massialas (San Francisco, Calif.)
2. Gerek Meinhardt (San Francisco, Calif.)

3. Daniel Gomez Tanamachi (MEX)
3. Ghislain Perrier (BRA)
5. Maximilien Van Haaster (CAN)
6. Guilherme Toldo (BRA)
7. Ruben Silva (CHI)
8. Cesar Aguirre (VEN)

Pan American Games Women’s Individual Foil
1. Lee Kiefer (Lexington, Ky.)

2. Saskia Loretta Van Erven Garcia (COL)
3. Alanna Goldie (CAN)
3. Nicole Ross (New York City, N.Y.)
5. Kelleigh Ryan (CAN)
6. Isis Gimenez (VEN)
7. Elizabeth Hidalgo (CUB)
8. Gabriela Cecchini (BRA)


Tag(s): News  Alexander Massialas  Gerek Meinhardt  Nicole Ross  Lee Kiefer