Miles Chamley-Watson (right) finished 5-0 in pools on Saturday. Photo Credit: #BizziTeam
Monica Aksamit finished 5-0 in Wuxi. Photo Credit: #BizziTeam
(Wuxi, China) – Team USA qualified eight more fencers for the table of 64 at the Senior World Championships on Saturday, bringing the total of U.S. fencers to advance through the preliminary rounds to 21 of a maximum 24.
Rio Olympic team bronze medalist Miles Chamley-Watson (New York City, N.Y.) secured the final team slot in men’s foil while Monica Aksamit (Matawan, N.J.), Eliza Stone (Chicago, Ill.) and Chloe Fox-Gitomer (Portland, Ore.) took the remaining open women’s saber positions for Team USA.
Fencing pools at a World Championships for the first time since he won the 2013 Senior World title, Chamley-Watson took wins by four or more touches in three bouts, finishing 5-0 overall with a +16 indicator.
“I felt good in pools. I felt strong. I felt like everything I wanted to do I did, so I’m happy that worked out well and I didn’t have to fence a DE, so I can’t complain,” Chamley-Watson said. “Worlds are crazy. It’s always a crazy tournament. It’s going to be a battle in three days, but I hope that I was able to show some signs of promising fencing.”
Chamley-Watson will return to action on Tuesday where he will join his exempt teammates – Race Imboden (Brooklyn, N.Y.), Alexander Massialas (San Francisco, Calif.) and Gerek Meinhardt (San Francisco, Calif.) – in the table of 64.
In the women’s saber pools, both Aksamit and Stone won five bouts to advance directly to the table of 64.
A 2016 Rio Olympic team bronze medalist, Aksamit finished undefeated at 5-0, putting up key wins over 2017 Pan American silver medalist Julieta Toledo (MEX) at 5-4 and two-time Pan Am medalist Alejandra Benitez (VEN) at 5-3.
"All of my bouts were pretty challenging … I think there’s not such thing as an easy bout nowadays in women’s saber,” Aksamit said. “But I was really happy about two of them. Toledo from Mexico is a fencer that really gives us trouble in team, so I was happy to beat her as well as Alejandra Benitez who’s been around for years, has a lot of experience, has had some results, so I was really happy to be winning that bout.”
While Aksamit was pleased with not having to fence additional rounds to qualify for the second day, she acknowledged that she needed to take more risks in her fencing as she looks ahead to the table of 64.
“I was definitely nervous and I felt myself not taking many good risks. There were points where I wanted to pull the person short, but I would chicken out of it,” she said. “There were definitely some nerves, unfortunately, but I think I got them out of the way and I’ll be ready for DEs.”
Fencing at her fifth Senior World Championships, Stone won her first five pool bouts before a 5-4 loss to Sabina Karimova (AZE).
“My goal was not to let her get in my way … to finish strong and close it out the way I wanted to. But I rushed a couple points and a plan that I had that I think was correct didn’t end up panning out,” Stone said. “I feel like I had good fencing today. There were one or two moments where I can improve on the fencing and it’s a good lesson to keep in mind for the second day, so I’m ok with it. The result is good, the fencing is good. I’m feeling positive about a good result on the second day. I’m going to work on staying calm and staying confident and bringing absolutely everything I have to the strip when I fence on Tuesday.”
Eighteen-year-old Chloe Fox-Gitomer (Portland, Ore.) made her Senior World debut after winning team silver at the Junior World Championships in April and individual bronze at the Pan Ams in June.
The team’s youngest member finished pools at 3-3, but rebounded in the preliminary table of 64 where she went on a 7-3 run in the second period to defeat Tamara Pochekutova (KAZ), 15-10.
Aksamit, Stone and Fox-Gitomer will be joined in the table of 64 by 2016 Olympic team bronze medalist Dagmara Wozniak (Avenel, N.J.) who was exempt from pools due to her No. 9 world ranking.
Competition continues on Sunday beginning with the table of 64 and concluding with the gold medal finals in men’s saber and women’s epee.
Team USA’s table of 64 matchups are as follows (All times Beijing Time), including seeds:
No. 35 Courtney Hurley (San Antonio, Texas) vs. No. 30 Dora Kiskapusi (ESP)
No. 17 Kat Holmes (Washington, D.C.) vs. Ayaka HImookawa (JPN)
No. 13 Kelley Hurley (San Antonio, Texas) vs. No. 52 Beate Christmann (GER)
No. 3 Eli Dershwitz (Sherborn, Mass.) vs. No. 62 Dmytro Pundyk (UKR)
No. 26 Geoff Loss (Laguna Beach, Calif.) vs. No. 29 Junho Kim (KOR)
No. 15 Daryl Homer (Bronx, N.Y.) vs. No. 15 Kostiantyn Voronov (ISR)
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