Div I men's foil podium. Photo Credit: Kristen Henneman.
(Milwaukee, Wis.) – Preparing for the World Cup season that begins in less than a month, 2016 Olympic team bronze medalist Gerek Meinhardt (San Francisco, Calif.) won gold at the October North American Cup in Milwaukee on Monday.
Despite competing for the first time at a national event in nearly a year, Meinhardt was perfect on the day, going 6-0 in pools and 7-0 in the direct elimination rounds, including wins against two of his teammates from this year’s silver medal-winning World Championship Team: World No. 3 Race Imboden (Brooklyn, N.Y.) and 2013 Senior World Champion Miles Chamley-Watson (New York, N.Y.)
Meinhardt has not lost at a national tournament since June of 2015.
“I’ve worked really hard this offseason, so I was really excited to come out here, regardless of the result because it’s such a big event, you don’t know who you’re going to run into,” Meinhardt said. “I ran into a lot of tough guys that could beat me on any day, so I was just really hoping to come out here and have fun, fight hard and put all of my hard work this offseason to use. It worked out well for me, so it’s definitely encouraging.”
Meinhardt cruised through his first three DEs, besting Carlos Lopez (Fairfax, Va.), 15-6; Andrew Grass (Seattle, Wash.), 15-8; and Nicholas Andrade (Quincy, Mass.), 15-6.
In the table of 16, Meinhardt overcame two-time Junior World team bronze medalist Geoffrey Tourette (Cupertino, Calif.), 15-11, after an 8-3 run in the second period.
Fencing Imboden in the quarters, Meinhardt took the bout, 15-11, to guarantee a medal and a semifinal match-up against Chamley-Watson.
Although Chamley-Watson took a 13-8 lead, Meinhardt scored the next four points to cut the lead to one, 13-12. Chamley-Watson earned the next touch to come within one point of advancing to the final, but Meinhardt closed the bout on a 3-0 run to clinch the victory, 15-14.
“I got down a bit and needed to be more aggressive, so I was able to push a bit and there were come close touches from both of us that luckily I was able to come out on top. For some reason, Miles and I have had a streak of 15-14 bouts and I’ve been lucky to come out on top because he’s fencing great and I’m really looking forward to us both competing better this World Cup season,” said Meinhardt, who also defeated Chamley-Watson 15-14 at the Pan American Championships in June.
In the final, Meinhardt gave up just four points to 2011 Junior World team champion Brian Kaneshige (Hoboken, N.J.), going up 6-0 and going on to win, 15-4.
Kaneshige secured the silver while 14-year-old Chase Emmer (Morristown, N.J.) and Chamley-Watson claimed bronze.
“It was really fun today, seeing all the energy, seeing how young some of the fencers were, but remembering that when we first started these, we were that small too,” Meinhardt said. “Even once we got in to the direct elimination, I had some fun bouts with junior fencers and the guys coming up who are doing really well internationally, so I really enjoyed getting to do that, and then of course, I had to duke it out with Race and Miles, which are always fun bouts and I’m happy to come out on top because everyone is amazing and getting ready for the season, so it’s a good way to get things started.”
Three-time Cadet World Team member and 2017 Junior team bronze medalist Greta Candreva (Katonah, N.Y.) won gold in cadet women’s épée. Candreva has now medaled at the last three national cadet events in which she’s competed.
With a 15-9 victory over Savvianna Boles (Burnsville, Minn.) and a dominant 15-2 effort against Diane Kim (Palisades Park, N.J.), Candreva advanced to the table of 32, where she defeated Sara Proctor (Boulder, Colo.), 15-11.
After a 15-9 win over Michaela Joyce (Sterling, Va.), Candreva controlled her bout against Lauren McLane (Los Angeles, Calif.), 15-4. In the semifinal, Candreva overpowered Tierna Oxenreider (Reynolds, Ohio), 15-7, before edging out Jessica Lin (Basking Ridge, N.J.) in the final, 12-10.
Joining Candreva, Lin and Oxenreider on the podium was Amanda Pirkowski (Longwood, Fla.), who earned bronze.
In the cadet women’s saber event, Zoe Kim (Basking Ridge, N.J.) took her second straight win at a national event after claiming the top step of the podium at the July Challenge. Mikaela Avakian (Arcadia, Calif.) earned the silver medal and Keona Moya (El Dorado Hills, Calif.) and Chloe Gouhin (Blacklick, Ohio) each won bronze.
Kim went 6-0 in pools to take the No. 2 seed in the elimination rounds, where she earned 15-8 victories over her first three opponents.
The quarter-finals saw Kim post a 15-12 victory over Magda Skarbonkiewicz (Portland, Ore.) Kim’s semifinal and final would both come down to the final touch as she outtouched Moya and Avakian 15-14 for gold.
Securing his first NAC gold medal with the title in cadet men’s épée, Ethan Nguyen (Las Vegas, Nev.) started the DEs with a 15-12 win against Zachari Levy (Fresno, Calif.) in the table of 128.
In the following rounds, Nguyen held off Colin Niebergall (Lone Tree, Colo.), 15-13, and Nathan Wang (Alta Loma, Calif.), 15-12. To advance to the final, Nguyen earned clutch 15-14 victories over Ark Ma (Houston, Texas) and Howard Zhao (CHN).
Fencing for gold, Nguyen outscored Ted Vinnitchouk (CAN), 15-11.
Also earning a podium finish with bronze was Daniel Shifron (Del Mar, Calif.)
The Division II men’s saber competition saw another first-time NAC winner as Thomas Bergman (New Rochelle, Calif.) won gold. Sage Harley (Alpharetta, Ga.) claimed silver while Eric Lai (Plano, Texas) and Alexander Jeffords (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) brought home the bronze.
Bergman blazed through his table of 64 bout against Wyatt Dressell (Royal Oak, Mich.), 15-5, before outtouching Joshua Yen (Setauket, N.Y.) and Ryan Cappelluti (Roseville, Calif.), 15-14, to make the quarter-finals.
Bergman then clinched a medal with a 15-9 victory over Tony Escueta (Grand Prairie, Texas). After defeating Lai, 15-8, Bergman had another bout come down to the wire as he came out on top, 15-14, over Harley.
Click here to view complete results.
Top eight results are as follows:
Division I Men’s Foil October North American Cup
1. Gerek Meinhardt (San Francisco, Calif.)
2. Brian Kaneshige (Hoboken, N.J.)
3. Chase Emmer (Morristown, N.J.)
3. Miles Chamley-Watson (New York, N.Y.)
5. Tarek Ayad (EGY)
5. Race Imboden (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
7. Mohamed Hamza (EGY)
8. Joon Paik (Norwood, N.J.)
Cadet Women’s Épée October North American Cup
1. Greta Candreva (Katonah, N.Y.)
2. Jessica Lin (Basking Ridge, N.J.)
3. Tierna Oxenreider (Reynolds, Ohio)
3. Amanda Pirkowski (Longwood, Fla.)
5. Jaclyn Khrol (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
6. Sonia Bulavko (Dublin, Calif.)
7. Lauren McLane (Los Angeles, Calif.)
8. Ketki Ketkar (Sammamish, Wash.)
Cadet Women’s Saber October North American Cup
1. Zoe Kim (Basking Ridge, N.J.)
2. Mikaela Avakian (Arcadia, Calif.)
3. Keona Moya (El Dorado Hills, Calif.)
3. Chloe Gouhin (Blacklick, Ohio)
5. Monir Fahri (South San Francisco, Calif.)
6. Sonja Kozak (Mission Viejo, Calif.)
7. Magda Skarbonkiewicz (Portland, Ore.)
8. Nina Hunter (Portland, Ore.)
Cadet Men’s Épée October North American Cup
1. Ethan Nguyen (Las Vegas, Nev.)
2. Ted Vinnitchouk (CAN)
3. Daniel Shifron (Del Mar, Calif.)
3. Howard Zhao (CHN)
5. Nicholas Lawson (New York, N.Y.)
6. Ark Ma (Houston, Texas)
7. Miles Weiss (Houston, Texas)
8. Michele Bodon (Bend, Ore.)
Division II Men’s Saber October North American Cup
1. Thomas Bergman (New Rochelle, Calif.)
2. Sage Harley (Alpharetta, Ga.)
3. Eric Lai (Plano, Texas)
3. Alexander Jeffords (Manhattan Beach, Calif.)
5. Conor Travaglione (East Northport, N.Y.)
6. Tony Escueta (Grand Prairie, Texas)
7. Nathan Ginis (Stamford, Conn.)
8. Elden Wood (New York, N.Y.)