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Team USA Sweeps Saber Titles at Pan Am Games

07/24/2015, 8:15pm CDT
By Nicole Jomantas

Team USA won the men's saber title at the Pan American Games. Canada took silver and Argentina finished with bronze. Photo Credit: Serge Timacheff / FIE /

(Colorado Springs, Colo.) – The Star Spangled Banner played twice on Thursday night as both the U.S. Men’s and Women’s Saber Teams won gold at the Pan American Games in Toronto.

Less than a week after winning bronze at the Senior World Championships in Moscow, U.S. Women’s Saber Team fencers Mariel Zagunis (Beaverton, Ore.), Dagmara Wozniak (Avenel, N.J.) and Ibtihaj Muhammad (Maplewood, N.J.) defended the title that the same three fencers won at the 2011 Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico.

With two-time Olympic Champion Zagunis as anchor, Team USA won seven of its first eight bouts against El Salvador in the quarter-finals and Zagunis closed for a 45-25 win.

In the semifinals, Cuba put up a good fight, winning the sixth and seventh bouts and tying the eighth to cut Team USA’s lead to eight touches at 40-32. Zagunis dominated the final bout, defeating Jennifer Morales, 5-1, as Team USA ended with a 45-33 victory.

The gold medal final would be a repeat of the final from the Pan American Championships which were held in April as Team USA took on Mexico. Zagunis gave up just four touches in each of her opening bouts while Wozniak and Muhammad worked to secure a 40-26 lead going into the anchor bout. Zagunis fenced 2014 Junior World Cup Overall Champion Paola Pliego, her teammate at the Oregon Fencing Alliance, and held off Pliego to finish the match, 45-31.

While none of the members of the U.S. Men’s Saber Team had previously competed in a Pan American Games, the squad placed fifth at the Senior Worlds in the team event with Daryl Homer (Bronx, N.Y.) earning silver in the individual competition. His teammate, Eli Dershwitz (Sherborn, Mass.), won gold in the individual event in Toronto as well as at the Pan Am Championships in Santiago Chile while 2012 Olympian Jeff Spear (Wynantskill, N.Y.) has anchored Team USA to three straight Pan Am Championship titles.

In the quarters, Team USA won or tied each of its first eight bouts against Chile with Homer anchoring the squad to a 45-24 win.

Fencing Argentina in the semis, Team USA won seven of its first eight bouts with Homer giving up just four touches in each of his first two bouts before ending the match, 45-25, after a 5-3 win over Ricardo Bustamante.

In the finals, Team USA fenced Canada in another rematch from the 2015 Pan Am Championship finals.

After the first six bouts, Canada was up by two touches at 30-28 when Spear scored seven against Mark Peros to give Team USA a 35-33 lead. Fencing 2012 Pan Am Champion Joseph Polossifakis in the eighth bout, Dershwitz shut out the Canadian, 5-0, after defeating him in the individual gold medal final as well. Homer finished the match with a 5-3 win over 2013 NCAA Championships silver medalist Shaul Gordon to give Team USA a 45-37 victory.

Click here to view complete results.

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

Pan American Games Men’s Team Saber
1. USA

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

Pan American Games Women’s Team Saber
1. USA

2. Mexico
3. Venezuela
4. Cuba
5. Canada
6. Brazil
7. Dominican Republic
8. El Salvador

Tag(s): News  Eli Dershwitz  Daryl Homer  Ibtihaj Muhammad  Jeff Spear  Dagmara Wozniak  Mariel Zagunis