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Mariel Zagunis Opens World Cup Season with Gold in Venezuela

10/13/2015, 5:45pm CDT
By Nicole Jomantas

Mariel Zagunis on top of the podium in Caracas. Photo Credit: Cathy Zagunis

Zagunis and Coach Ed Korfanty. Photo Credit: Cathy Zagunis

(Colorado Springs, Colo.) – Mariel Zagunis (Beaverton, Ore.) began her quest for a third Olympic title with a season-opening gold medal at the Caracas World Cup in Venezuela on Saturday.

Ranked No. 3 in the world, Zagunis won her first two bouts of the day by 15-4 margins, defeating 2011 Junior World Team Champion Martina Petraglia (ITA) in the table of 64 and four-time Junior World medalist Sage Palmedo (Portland, Ore.) in the 32.

In the table of 16, Zagunis was challenged by Vassiliki Vougiouka (GRE), but held on for a 15-14 win.

Zagunis would need a win against 2012 Olympic Champion Jiyeon Kim (KOR) in the quarters to secure a medal and defeated her rival, 15-13, to qualify for the semis.

With a medal guaranteed, Zagunis gave up just seven touches to 2014 Senior World team silver medalist Manon Brunet (FRA) for a 15-7 win.

In the gold medal final, Zagunis fenced Jiyeon Seo – the Korean who upset reigning Senior World Champion Sofya Velikaya (RUS) in the quarters and defeated London Olympian Dagmara Wozniak (Avenel, N.J.), 15-13, in the 32. Zagunis bested Seo, 15-8, to make her first medal of the new season a gold.

Five-time Senior World medalist Ibtihaj Muhammad (Maplewood, N.J.) won her first bout of the day against Xin Zhang (CHN), 15-9, and defeated 2013 Senior World bronze medalist Irene Vecchi (ITA), 15-11.

Muhammad fenced Chen Shen (CHN) in the 16, but missed the quarters when she lost the bout, 15-8. Shen also eliminated Muhammad’s younger sister, Faizah Muhammad (Maplewood, N.J.), with a 15-11 win in the 64.

Three-time Senior World medalist Eliza Stone (Chicago, Ill.) advanced through the preliminary rounds on Friday and on to the table of 64, but she lost her opening bout to Loreta Gulotta (ITA), 15-12.

Zagunis, Wozniak, Stone and Ibtihaj Muhammad fenced in the team competition on Sunday, but the former World Champions were upset in the table of 16 by the Dominican Republic who won the match, 45-40.

Team USA came back with a 45-31 win over Japan in the 9th – 16th place table before falling to Hungary, 45-44. The Americans ended the day with a 45-24 victory over Hong Kong.

Click here to view complete individual results.

Click here to view complete team results.

Women’s Individual Caracas Saber World Cup
1. Mariel Zagunis (Beaverton, Ore.)

2. Jiyeon Seo (KOR)
3. Rossella Gregorio (ITA)
3. Manon Brunet (FRA)
5. Sofya Velikaya (RUS)
6. Chen Shen (CHN)
7. Jiyeon Kim (KOR)
8. Alina Komashchuk (UKR)

12. Ibtihaj Muhammad (Maplewood, N.J.)
19. Dagmara Wozniak (Avenel, N.J.)
29. Sage Palmedo (Portland, Ore.)
37. Eliza Stone (Chicago, Ill.)
61. Faizah Muhammad (Maplewood, N.J.)
71. Kamali Thompson (Teaneck, N.J.)
77. Daria Schneider (New York City, N.Y.)
88. Kara Linder (Chandler, Ariz.)
97. Francesca Russo (Wayne, N.J.)
107. Celina Merza (Wayne, N.J.)
118. Claudia Kulmacz (Upper Saddle River, N.J.)

Women’s Team Caracas Saber World Cup
1. Russia
2. Ukraine
3. Poland
4. Italy
5. France
6. Korea
7. Mexico
8. Dominican Republic

11. USA

Tag(s): News  Dagmara Wozniak  Mariel Zagunis