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Team USA Concludes Pan Am Youth and Vet Championships with 50 Medals

09/01/2018, 4:00am CDT
By Nicole Jomantas

(Colorado Springs, Colo.) – The U.S. team ended the five-day Pan American Youth and Veteran Championships in El Salvador with a total of 50 medals with 12 more podium finishes on Sunday, including three golds.

Competing as Team USA’s youngest fencer in the tournament, 9-year-old Andy Xu (New York City, N.Y.) won the Youth A men’s foil title for 8-9-year-olds.

Seeded first out of pools, Xu dropped just two touches in three bouts, defeating Geovani Acosta (ESA), 8-2, in the quarter-finals and shutting out Enzo Schmitt (BRA) and Juan Vargas (COL) in the medal rounds by 8-0 scores to win gold.

Thirteen-year-old Alexandra Lee (San Francisco, Calif.) more than doubled the scores of each of her three opponents in the Pre-Cadet women’s foil competition for 12-13-year-olds. Lee finished the pool rounds in the No. 2 position and defeated Isabella Triana (COL), 10-1, in the quarters. After a 10-4 win over Luisa Herrera (MEX), Lee bested Paris Sepulveda (PUR), 10-1.

Gladys Berardi (Long Valley, N.J.) completed her sweep of the Veteran 2 (60+) women’s events in El Salvador, adding a saber title to her epee and foil golds with Esperanza Alzona (Frederick, Md.) claiming silver and Dede Deane (Richmond, Va.) and S.S. Rachel El Saleh (Houston, Texas) taking bronze. Sixty-three-year-old Berardi proved to be unstoppable in the event, winning all four pool bouts and defeating 64-year-old El Saleh, 10-4, and 61-year-old Alzona, 10-9, in the semis and finals, respectively. Sixty-eight-year-old Deane lost semifinal bout to Alzona, 10-3.

Sixty-nine-year-old Karen Brynildsen (Denville, N.J.) finished fifth after a 10-1 loss to El Saleh in the quarters.

In the Veteran 2 men’s foil event, 67-year-old Alan Buchwald (Carmel, Calif.) and 60-year-old Robert Mones (North Charleston, S.C.) stood on the top two positions on the podium where Buchwald earned his third career Pan American veteran title.

Buchwald defeated Francisco Alvarado (ESA), 10-5, in the semifinals and Mones bested Mauricio Aguirre (ESA), 10-6, to set up the Team USA showdown where Buchwald took gold, 10-6.  

A bronze medalist in the Veteran 1 (50-59) men’s foil event on Friday, 55-year-old Chris Balestracci (Guilford, Conn.) took silver in the Veteran 1 epee event where he stood on the podium with teammate David Hueske (Charleston, S.C.) who earned bronze.

Balestracci defeated Marcelo Rejas (BOL), 7-4, in the quarters and bested 55-year-old Hueske, 10-4, in the semis. His only loss came in the finals to top seed Carlos Covani (ARG), 10-7.  

Seventy-two-year-old Michael Vitoux (Champaign, Ill.) and 53-year-old Thomas Mahnken (Springfield, Va.) placed in the top eight.

Vitoux dropped his bout in the quarters to Ernesto Ramirez (ESA), 10-2, and Mahnken lost to Hueske, 10-3.

In the Veteran 1 women’s epee competition, El Saleh won her fourth bronze medal of the tournament, coming back from a 1-4 pool finish to defeat Berardi, 6-3, before a 10-8 loss to Elizabeth Reyes (ESA) in the finals.

Alessandra Brunelli (Bluffton, S.C.) won her second bronze medal in El Salvador, claiming the Veteran 1 women’s epee bronze after the 59 year old earned bronze in the Pre-Veteran 1 event on Wednesday. Brunelli defeated Linda Groce (Highland Park, Ill.), 10-8, in the quarter-finals. She then faced Pre-Veteran women’s epee gold medalist Gloria Novoa (COL), but lost the bout, 10-4.

Complete results are as follows:

Veteran 2 Men’s Foil
1. Alan Buchwald (Carmel, Calif.)
2. Robert Mones (North Charleston, S.C.)

3. Mauricio Aguirre (ESA)
3. Francisco Alvarado (ESA)

Veteran 2 Women’s Saber
1. Gladys Berardi (Long Valley, N.J.)
2. Esperanza Alzona (Frederick, Md.)
3. Dede Deane (Richmond, Va.)
3. S.S. Rachel El Saleh (Houston, Texas)
5. Karen Brynildsen (Denville, N.J.)

Veteran 1 Men’s Epee
1. Carlos Covani (ARG)
2. Chris Balestracci (Guilford, Conn.)
3. Ernesto Ramirez (ESA)
3. David Hueske (Charleston, S.C.)
5. Michael Vitoux (Champaign, Ill.)

6. Marcelo Rejas (BOL)
7. Thomas Mahnken (Springfield, Va.)
8. Fernando Mello (BRA)

Veteran 1 Women’s Epee
1. Gloria Novoa (COL)
2. Elizabeth Reyes (ESA)
3. S.S. Rachel El Saleh (Houston, Texas)
3. Alessandra Brunelli (Bluffton, S.C.)
5. Gladys Berardi (Long Valley, N.J.)
6. Linda Groce (Highland Park, Ill.)

Pre-Cadet Women’s Saber
1. Alexandra Lee (San Francisco, Calif.)

2. Paris Sepulveda (PUR)
3. Luisa Herrera (MEX)
3. Isabela Chen (BRA)
5. Andrea Kawasaki (PER)
6. Maria Gutierrez (COL)
7. Isabella Triana (PUR)
8. Kathiria Diaz (PUR)

Youth B Women’s Epee
1. Casandra Cruz (PER)
2. Cielo Viscarra (PER)
3. Josefa Rodriguez (CHI)
3. Alison Garcia (ESA)
5. Valery Valencia (COL)
6. Ivanna Garcia (PER)
7. Florencia Perez (ARG)
8. Maria Galindo (PER)

Youth A Men’s Foil
1. Andy Xu (New York City, N.Y.)

2. Juan Vargas (COL)
3. Enzo Schmitt (BRA)
3. Sergio Daaz (COL)
5. Santiago Andre (CRC)
6. Juan Salazar (COL)
7. Cesar Gutierrez (COL)
8. Geovani Acosta (ESA)

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