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Imboden and Guzzi Vincenti Win Division I Titles at the December NAC

12/07/2015, 5:15am CST
By Nicole Jomantas

Div I men's foil gold medalist Race Imboden with Coach Dan Kellner and top-eight finisher William Upbin. Photo Credit: Dan Kellner.

(Colorado Springs, Colo.) – The third domestic qualifying tournament for the 2016 Olympic Games began on Friday with a pair of former National Champions winning gold in the Division I men’s foil and women’s epee events at the December North American Cup in Baltimore, Md. 

Fencing in his first NAC in more than a year, London Olympian Race Imboden (Brooklyn, N.Y.) came to Baltimore to win both gold and claim 1,000 points in the Division I men’s foil competition to put him one step closer to qualifying for a second Olympic Team. 

Imboden, the 2014-15 Overall World Cup Champion, shook up the direct elimination rounds when he dropped a pool bout to come into the DEs as the 10th seed. 

After a bye into the table of 64, Imboden defeated Jacob Joram (Denver, Colo.), 15-4, and bested Harrison Bergman (Lebanon, N.J.), 15-8. 

In the table of 16, Imboden fenced one of his closest bouts of the day, but took the win over Kwang Suk Chung (KOR), 15-12. 

He would beat his Brooklyn Bridge Fencing Center teammate, William Upbin (Brooklyn, N.Y.), 15-5, in the quarters and 2014 Junior World Team medalist Axel Kiefer (Lexington, Ky.), 15-8, to advance to the gold medal final. 

Imboden would meet 2015 Senior World silver medalist Alex Massialas (San Francisco, Calif.) in the finals. In a battle of two of the world’s bests, Imboden and the current World No. 1 fencer went down to the wire, scoring 14 each before Imboden took the win, 15-14. 

Massialas remains No. 1 in the USA Fencing National Team Point Standings and is followed by two-time Olympian Gerek Meinhardt (San Francisco, Calif.) who won bronze at the Senior Worlds in July and did not compete in Baltimore as he picked up gold and bronze medals earlier in the NAC season. 

Imboden’s win moved him from fourth to third in the rankings with the top three men’s foil fencers in the standings after the Division I Nationals in April earning positions on the U.S. Olympic Team for both the individual and team events. The No. 4 fencer will travel to Rio de Janeiro and may be used for the team event only. 

Miles Chamley-Watson (New York City, N.Y.), a Senior World Champion in 2013, was upset by Kiefer in the table of 16 by a 15-14 score and dropped from No. 3 to No. 4 in the team standings. 

Team USA’s men’s foil fencers have three international and two domestic tournaments remaining to earn points before the U.S. Olympic Team is nominated in April. 

A former member of the Italian Junior National Team, Margherita Guzzi Vincenti (Kensington, Md.) became the U.S. National Champion during her first year of eligibility for the event in 2014 and has placed in the top eight at nearly every NAC since. 

Guzzi Vincenti came out of pools as the No. 1 seed, but was nearly knocked out of contention by Ally Ryf (Houston, Texas) before winning their table of 64 bout, 15-14. 

After a 13-6 win against Alejandra Trumble (Cambridge, Mass.), Guzzi Vincenti took her next two bouts by 15-11 scores against Dasha Yefremenko (Manalapan, N.J.) and Michelle Nam (New York City, N.Y.) to qualify for the quarter-finals. 

Guzzi Vincenti defeated Ania Garina (Chicago, Ill.), 15-11, and won her semifinal against 2012 Cadet World Team member Victoria Wines (Mahopac, N.Y.), 15-6. 

Guzzi Vincenti ended the day with a final dominant performance when she won her gold medal final against 2014 Cadet World medalist Kasia Nixon (Los Angeles, Calif.) by another 15-6 margin. 

While Guzzi Vincenti is not yet an American citizen and isn’t eligible for the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team, Nixon climbed the rankings to No. 5 in the nation. 

The December NAC also served as the first of three qualifiers for the 2016 Veteran World Championships for athletes in the 50-59, 60-69 and +70 age categories. 

A former NAC Champion in the Veteran Open men’s saber category, Oleg Stetsiv (Staten Island, N.Y.) won his debut event in the 50-59 category where he established himself as a top candidate for the next Vet World Team when he defeated five-time team member Dmitri Kopylov (Roseland, N.Y.), 10-6. 

In the veteran men’s 60-69 saber event, 2013 Veteran World Champion David Seuss (Charlestown, Mass.) won his second domestic title of the year. The reigning National Champion defeated Robert Sikes (Saint Louis, Mo.), 10-5, in the finals. 

Larry Pinkus (Kensington, Md.) won his first +70 men’s saber title at this event in 2014 and the reigning Vet World silver medalist defended his December NAC title in St. Louis. Pinkus defeated Lucas Dobrzanski (Bakersfield, Calif.), 10-9, in the finals to win gold. 

Three veteran events that were held in events that are not contested at the World Championships. 

In the 40-49 men’s saber competition, 40-year-old Sean Bates (Gastonia, N.C.) continued his undefeated streak in this event on the national circuit with his third straight gold medal win. Bates fenced Louis Montorio (New York, N.Y.) in the final and took the bout, 10-7. 

The veteran open women’s saber event would serve as a preview of the age group competition for Sunday. Chaz Smith (Placerville, Calif.), a 2012 Vet World silver medalist in the 50-59 event, met three-time reigning 60-69 Vet World Champion Jane Eyre (Swedesboro, N.J.) in the finals. Smith defeated her teammate, 10-7, to win gold in the open event for the first time since her victory at the 2014 December NAC. 

Canadian Michael Buckley won the veteran open men’s epee competition. Buckley fenced three-time Veteran World Team member Sean Ameli (Las Vegas, Nev.) in the finals. Although Ameli has been out from competition since 2014 following an injury, he secured the silver medal behind Buckley who won gold, 10-6. 

In the day’s final event, a pair of 15-year-olds fenced for the Division II women’s foil title with Samantha Matz (Carrollton, Texas) defeating Isabella Zuzulo (Newtown, Pa.), 15-13, to win her first NAC gold. 

Click here to view complete results. 

Top eight results are as follows:

Division I Men’s Foil
1.  Race Imboden (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
2.  Alexander Massialas (San Francisco, Calif.)
3.  Nick Itkin (Los Angeles, Calif.)
3.  Axel Kiefer (Lexington, Ky.)
5.  Nobuo Bravo (San Francisco, Calif.)
6.  Julian Knodt (Palo Alto, Calif.)
7.  Matthew Branman (Villanova, Pa.)
8.  William Upbin (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
Division I Women’s Epee
1.  Margherita Guzzi Vincenti (Kensington, Md.)
2.  Catherine (Kasia) Nixon (Los Angeles, Calif.)
3.  Lindsay Campbell (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
3.  Victoria Wines (Mahopac, N.Y.)
5.  Francesca Bassa (Palo Alto, Calif.)
6.  Ashley Severson (Franklin Lakes, N.J.)
7.  Giana Vierheller (Houston, Texas) 
8.  Ania Garina (Chicago, Ill.)

Veteran 40-49 Men’s Saber
1.  Sean Bates (Gastonia, N.C.)
2.  Louis Montorio (New York, N.Y.)
3.  Oleksii Kuznetsov (Randolph, NJ)
3.  David Minton (Durham, N.C.)
5.  Stan Prilutsky (Dublin, Ohio)
6.  David Welch (Troy, Mich.)
7.  Alexander Dvorin (West Orange, NJ)
8.  Mamdou Abousamra (Astoria, N.Y.)

Veteran 50-59 Men’s Saber
1.  Oleg Stetsiv (Staten Island, N.Y.)
2.  Dmitri Kopylov (Roseland, N.J.)
3.  Val Kizik (Indianapolis, Ind.)
3.  William Becker (Gilbert, Ariz.)
5.  Mike Krasnich (CAN)
6.  Tamas Vidovszky (Folsom, Calif.)
7.  George (Chris) Matt (Fairfax Station, Va.)
8.  Semion Kiriakidi (Rochester, N.Y.)

Veteran 60-69 Men’s Saber
1.  David Seuss (Charlestown, Mass.)
2.  Robert Sikes (Saint Louis, Mo.)
3.  Joseph Streb (Columbus, Ohio)
3.  Wang Yung (Woolwich Twp, N.J.)
5.  Ted Smith (Placerville, Calif.)
6.  Donald Malnati (Silver Spring Md.)
7.  Richard Brown (Watchung, N.J.)
8.  Carlton Badger (Durham, N.C.)
Veteran +70 Men’s Saber
1.  Larry Pinkus (Kensington, Md.)
2.  Lucas Dobrzanski (Bakersfield, Calif.)
3.  Philip Sbarbaro Esq (Vienna, Va.)
3.  William Carson (Fort Collins, Colo.)
5.  Peter Calderon (Plainsboro, N.J.)
6.  Victor Bianchini (San Diego, Calif.)
7.  William Barwick Jr. (Potomac, Md.)
8.  Michael Vitoux (Champaign, IL)
Veteran Open Women’s Saber
1.  Chaz Smith (Placerville, Calif.)
2.  Jane Eyre (Swedesboro, N.J.)
3.  Nam Heui Kim (Brookline, Mass.)
3.  Kimberly Klein-Braddock (West Linn, Ore.)
5.  Kate Sierra (North Richland Hills, Texas)
6.  Wendy Yano (CAN)
7.  Frauke Berman (New York, N.Y.)
8.  Jennifer Oldham (Durham, N.C.)
Veteran Open Men’s Epee
1.  Michael Buckley (CAN)
2.  Sean Ameli (Las Vegas, Nev.)
3.  Bela Suveg (CAN)
3.  Paul Choi (New York, N.Y.)
5.  Alexandre Rachtchinine (Ashburn, Va.)
6.  Mario Jelev (Davie, Fla.)
7.  Aaron Blanchard (Princeton, N.J.)
8.  Tomas Nonnenmacher (Meadville, Pa.)
Division II Women’s Foil
1.  Samantha Matz (Carrollton, Texas)
2.  Isabella Zuzulo (Newtown, Pa.)
3.  Caitlyn Callaghan (Pocatello, Idaho)
3.  Konami Masui (Torrance, Calif.)
5.  Skylar Harfeld (Philadelphia, Pa.)
6.  Hanna Kopits (New Rochelle, N.Y.)
7.  Zoe Barnette (Bethesda, Md.)
8.  Emily Winstead (Raleigh, N.C.)

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