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Team USA Wins Double Gold, Takes Seven Cadet Saber Medals in Konin

09/14/2015, 3:30pm CDT
By Nicole Jomantas

Team USA earned 11 individual top-eight finishes in Konin, including five individual medals. Photo Credit: Jeff Salmon

(Colorado Springs, Colo.) – The international season began for U17 fencers over the weekend at the Konin Cadet European Cup in Poland where Team USA won seven medals, including both men’s and women’s individual golds.

After taking gold at the 2014 Konin event as a 14-year-old, Kara Linder (Chandler, Ariz.) entered the event as the one to watch while 16-year-old Erwin Cai (Marietta, Ga.) opened his final season of cadet eligibility seeking his first Cadet European title and second individual medal after taking silver in Godollo last year.

Linder finished both pool rounds with 5-1 records on Friday and earned a bye into the table of 64 on Saturday. In addition to Linder, all 20 U.S. women qualified for the second day of competition – more than any other country in the tournament.

Linder won her first three direct elimination bouts on Saturday qualify as one of seven U.S. fencers to advance to the quarter-finals where Linder defeated teammate 14-year-old Casey Chan (Cresskill, N.J.), 15-5, to secure her second Cadet European Cup medal.

Following in the footsteps of older sister Lena Johnson (Peachtree City, Ga.) who represented Team USA at the 2013 Cadet Worlds, 14-year-old Tori Johnson (Peachtree City, Ga.) earned her first podium finish on the circuit when she defeated 14-year-old Morgan Jenkins (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.), 15-3, in the quarters to set up a semifinal against Linder.

A top-eight finisher in Konin last year, 15-year-old Martha Merriam (Tenafly, N.J.) also locked down her first Cadet European Cup medal when won her quarter-final bout by a 15-11 score against 15-year-old Chloe Fox-Gitomer (Portland, Ore.) – the No. 2-ranked cadet women’s saber fencer in the nation behind Linder.

Merriam finished the day with a bronze after losing a close semifinal to Alina Mikhailova (RUS), 15-13.

Johnson would add another bronze to Team USA’s medal count after Linder won their semifinal, 15-8.

In the gold medal final, Linder defeated Mikhailova, 15-13, to become the first fencer ever to win back-to-back titles at the Konin Cadet European Cup.

Cai went 5-1 in the first round of pools and 6-0 in the second to earn the No. 2 seed in the direct elimination tables. After a bye into the second day of competition, Cai won three bouts to advance to the quarter-finals.

With four Russians and four Americans in the quarters, Cai would need three straight wins against Russian opponents to win gold.

Cai earned commanding victories over Arseniy Panteleev (RUS) and Artem Tselyshev (RUS) by 15-6 and 15-8 scores, respectively.

Fencing at his first Cadet European Cup, 15-year-old Jason Oh (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.) defeated Alexander Chaplygin (RUS), 15-8, in the quarters. The reigning Div II National Champion took on Cadet European No. 1 Vladislav Pozdnyakov  (RUS) in the semis, but lost the bout, 15-11, and finished with a bronze medal.

In the gold medal final, Pozdynakov led the bout against Cai, 8-6, at the break. Cai came back in the second period to tie the bout at 14 and scored the final touch with one light to win gold, 15-14.

Cai’s win makes him the first U.S. man to take gold in Konin since three-time Senior World Team member Eli Dershwitz (Sherborn, Mass.) won this event in 2011.

On Sunday, Team USA won silver in both the men’s and women’s team events.

In the men’s competition, Mitchell Saron (Ridgewood, N.J.), Daniel Solomon (Setauket, N.Y.) and Andrew Sun (Alpharetta, Ga.)

Seeded fourth, the Americans defeated Polish team Gim 6 Konin 1, 45-21, in the table of 16 and the Hungarian Ute 1, 45-26, in the quarter-finals.

In the semis, Russia 2 held a 40-38 lead, but Sun won his anchor bout against Artem Tselyshev, 7-3, to give Team USA the win, 45-43.

Team USA faced Russia 1 in the gold medal final with the Russians holding a 40-36 lead after eight bouts. Sun outscored Arseniy Pateleev, 6-5, but couldn’t hold off Russia 1 who took the bout, 45-41.

Following her top-eight finish in the individual quarter-finals, Fox-Gitomer joined Allison Dunlap (Redondo Beach, Calif.) and Sara Cunningham (Atlanta, Ga.) in the women’s team event.

Fox-Gitomer served as Team USA’s anchor where she put up +11 and +10 indicators in the squad’s wins over Belarus 2 and Russia 3 by 45-28 and 45-32 scores, respectively.

In the semis against Russia 2, Fox-Gitomer made up a three-touch deficit in the anchor bout where she outscored Kristina Efimtseva (RUS), 8-1, to give Team USA a 45-41 win.

Cunningham posted an outstanding result in the gold medal final where she scored 19 touches for Team USA, but Russia 1 still held a 40-33 lead going into the last bout between Fox-Gitomer and Mikhailova. The Russian outscored Fox-Gitomer, 5-3, and Russia came away with a 45-36 victory.

Click here to view complete results.

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

Konin Women’s Individual Saber Cadet European Cup
1. Kara Linder (Chandler, Ariz.)

2. Alina Mikhailova (RUS)
3. Martha Merriam (Tenafly, N.J.)
3. Tori Johnson (Peachtree City, Ga.)
5. Casey Chan (Cresskill, N.J.)
6. Gillian Harrill (Chandler, Ariz.)
7. Chloe Fox-Gitomer (Portland, Ore.)
8. Morgan Jenkins (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.)

10. Nora Burke (New York, N.Y.)
12. Francesca Fedorovsky (San Clemente, Calif.)
18. Alexandra Gorman (Wellesley, Mass.)
19. Elizabeth Tartakovsky (Livingston, N.J.)
22. Alexis Anglade (Alpharetta, Ga.)
23. Daniella Timofeyev (Antelope, Calif.)
27. Ryan Jenkins (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.)
29. Keli Izenson (Atlanta, Ga.)
38. Sara Cunningham (Atlanta, Ga.)
41. Kaitlyn Becker (Gilbert, Ariz.)
43. Miranda Gieg (Sudbury, Mass.)
59. Zhesi Zhuang (Laguna Niguel, Calif.)
63. Allison Dunlap (Redondo Beach, Calif.)

Konin Men’s Individual Men’s Saber Cadet European Cup
1. Erwin Cai (Marietta, Ga.)

2. Vladislav Pozdnyakov (RUS)
3. Artem Tselyshev (RUS)
3. Jason Oh (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.)
5. Filip Dolegiewicz (Park Ridge, Ill.)
6. Alexander Chaplygin (RUS)
7. Arseniy Panteleev (RUS)
8. Ben Stone (New York, N.Y.)

9. Gerardo Flores (Oakland, Calif.)
10. Eric Pei (Saratoga, Calif.)
16. Salvatore Centanni (Washington, D.C.)
17. Mitchell Saron (Ridgewood, N.J.)
18. Daniel Solomon (Setauket, N.Y.)
28. Ethan Mullennix (San Francisco, Calif.)
29. Kevin Callahan (Glen Rock, N.J.)
31. Zachary Johnson (Chandler, Ariz.)
33. Andrew Sun (Alpharetta, Ga.)
35. Nicholas No (Carmichael, Calif.)
36. Edward Zhao (Potomac, Md.)
37. Matthew Chen (Monmouth Lakes, N.J.)
45. Nicholas Del Vecchio (Silver Spring, Md.)
54. Christian Fernandes (Atlanta, Ga.)
62. Christopher Walker (Atlanta, Ga.)
76. Ben Scholl (Portland, Ore.)

Konin Men’s Team Saber Cadet European Cup
1. Russia 1
2. USA
3. Russia 2
4. Polska
5. Ute 1
6. Russia 3
7. Belarus
8. ZKS Sosowiec

Konin Women’s Team Saber Cadet Europoean Cup
1. Russia 1
2. USA
3. Russia 2
4. Poland 2
5. Poland 1
6. Russia 3
7. Ukraine
8. Russia 4

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