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U.S. Men’s Foil Wins Sixth Straight World Cup Title, Nick Itkin Earns Bronze

11/15/2018, 12:15pm CST
By Nicole Jomantas

Bonn World Cup Champions Race Imboden, Miles Chamley-Watson, Alexander Massialas and Gerek Meinhardt. Photo Credit: Ferraro / Bizzi

Bonn World Cup individual bronze medalist Nick Itkin. Photo Credit: Ferraro / Bizzi

(Colorado Springs, Colo.) – The first World Cup of the season featured firsts in both the individual and team events for the U.S. squad over the weekend in Bonn, Germany.

Team USA extended its World Cup win streak to an unprecedented six straight titles on Sunday, dating back to October 2017, tightening its grasp on the World No. 1 ranking with a gold medal win over Italy – the 2018 Senior World Champions. 

The reigning Junior World Champion, Nick Itkin (Los Angeles, Calif.), won his first Senior World Cup medal with a bronze on Saturday, defeating World and Olympic Champions in the process.

In the team competition, 2016 Olympic bronze and three-time Senior World team silver medalists Alex Massialas (San Francisco, Calif.), Race Imboden (Brooklyn, N.Y.), Gerek Meinhardt (San Francisco, Calif.) and Miles Chamley-Watson (New York City, N.Y.) earned a bye into the 16 where they fenced Hungary in the first match of the day and earning a 45-26 victory.

Team USA dominated the quarter-finals against China, winning all nine bouts to take the match, 45-17. In the semifinals, Japan led the Americans, 25-22, after the fifth, but Team USA rebounded, outscoring their opponents, 23-5, in the remaining four bouts for a 45-30 win.

In a rematch of the 2018 Senior World finals, Italy built a 15-7 lead after the first three bouts before Chamley-Watson answered with an 8-2 run against 2012 Olympic Team Champion Giorgio Avola to put Team USA within two. Massialas took on 2018 Senior World Champion Alessio Foconi in the fifth, scoring six unanswered touches to end the bout with a 25-24 lead for Team USA. The Americans couldn’t be stopped in the remaining four bouts, outscoring Italy, 20-8. Imboden defeated 2016 Olympic Champion Daniele Garozzo, 5-1, in the sixth and Chamley-Watson bested Foconi, 5-4, in the seventh. Imboden shut out Avola, 5-0, in the eighth to give Massialas a 40-29 lead going into the anchor leg. Massialas outscored his rival, 5-3, to secure a 45-32 win for Team USA.

With the gold and silver finish in Bonn, Team USA and Italy remain No. 1 and 2 in the world.

In the individual event, 19-year-old Itkin earned the top result in the pool rounds, finishing 6-0 and earning the No. 17 seed in the direct elimination rounds on Saturday.

Itkin faced 2016 European Championships bronze medalist Andre Sanita (GER) in his opening bout, fencing cautiously before pulling away from a tie at seven in the second period to score four straight and end the period with an 11-7 lead. Itkin gave up three in the third before ending the bout at 15-11.

In the 32, Itkin held a 6-3 lead over 2012 Olympic silver medalist Alaaeldin Abouelkassem (EGY) after the first period and whipped off three straight touches in the final 16 seconds of the second to go into the third with an 11-6 lead. In the third, Abouelkassem managed only one score as Itkin closed the bout with a 15-7 victory.

Itkin would take on 2018 Senior World Champion Alessio Foconi (ITA) in the table of 16, fencing at a blistering pace as he built a 5-1 lead after the first period and went into the break up 13-8. Foconi, who defeated Itkin during their last bout in May at the St. Petersburg World Cup, adjusted after the break and scored four straight to tie the score at 14. Itkin scored the winning touch, however, and advanced to his first Senior World Cup final with a 15-14 win.

Fencing 2016 Olympic Champion Daniele Garozzo (ITA), Itkin needed less than two minutes to produce an upset, leading the bout at 8-3 after the first minute and keeping the bout well away from a break with a 15-9 victory in the second minute. The win would be Itkin’s second against Garozzo whom he defeated 15-14 when the Bonn World Cup was held in February of this year.

With his medal guaranteed, Itkin fenced two-time Olympic Team Champion Andrea Cassara (ITA) in the semifinals. Although Itkin stayed within striking distance of Cassara early in the bout, the former Senior World Champion pulled away from a tie at eight with a 7-2 run to end the bout at 15-10.

The bronze medal win allowed Itkin to climb to No. 5 in the National Rolling Point Standings – just over 100 points behind Chamley-Watson as Itkin seeks to crack the top four and qualify for his first Senior World Team next season.

The 2013 Senior World Champion, Chamley-Watson narrowly missed earning his first individual World Cup podium since 2016 with an eighth place result.

After a 5-1 finish in pools on Friday, Chamley-Watson earned his first win in the preliminary rounds when Glen Ostacchini (GBR) medically withdrew from the bout with Chamley-Watson holding a 7-3 lead. Chamley-Watson defeated Takuma Ito (JPN), 15-8, in the next round to qualify for the table of 64.

Chamley-Watson took a 9-5 lead over Klod Yunes (UKR) in the first period of the 64 and held off a comeback by Yunes in the second to earn a 15-13 win.  

In the 32, Chamley-Watson controlled his bout against Johannes Poscharnig (AUT) from the start, building a 12-6 lead after the first and closing with a 15-8 victory.

The win set up a table of 16 bout between Chamley-Watson and 2016 Olympic individual silver medalist Alexander Massialas (San Francisco, Calif.)

While Massialas won their last four international bouts, he entered the 16 coming off of a pair of one-touch wins in the earlier rounds.

Massialas struggled in his opening bout against Chun Yin Ryan Choi (HKG) who came out with a 5-1 lead late in the first. Massialas regrouped to take the lead at 8-6 going into the third, but Choi came back to tie the bout at 11 with seven seconds on the clock. Each fencer earned a touch in the final three seconds to send the bout to overtime where Massialas scored the winning touch with 20 seconds remaining to end the bout at 13-12.

In the 32, Massialas narrowly escaped his bout against Daniel Dosa (HUN) who held a 14-12 lead in the second before Massialas scored three straight for a 15-14 win.

Massialas took a 7-3 lead against Chamley-Watson early in the first period of their table of 16 bout, but Chamley-Watson came back to tie the score at nine. Chamley-Watson pulled away from a tie again at 12, scoring three of the next four touches to win the bout, 15-13.

In the quarter-finals, Chamley-Watson fenced 2018 Senior World silver medalist Richard Kruse (GBR). While Kruse took a 5-1 lead to start the bout, Chamley-Watson tied the score at seven going into the second period. With the score tied again at nine, Kruse went on a 6-2 run and won the bout, 15-11, before going on to take gold.

Imboden and Meinhardt each earned top-16 finishes after earning byes into the table of 64 due to their top-16 world rankings.

Imboden fenced a quick bout in the table of 64, putting up an 8-0 run en route to his 15-7 win over 2016 Cadet World bronze medalist Luis Klein (GER).

In the 32, Imboden took a 6-2 lead against Alexander Choupenitch (CZE) in the first minute and stayed ahead of the 2018 European Championships bronze medalist by at least two touches for the remainder of the bout, taking the win by a 15-10 score.

Rio Olympic team silver medalist Enzo Lefort (FRA) took an early lead against Imboden in the table of 16 and went on to win the bout, 15-12.

Meinhardt’s opening bout would be action-packed as the two-time individual Senior World medalist fenced 2013 Senior World bronze medalist Valerio Aspromonte (ITA). With the score tied at two, Meinhardt reeled off 10 straight touches for a 12-2 lead before the Italian went on a 9-1 run of his own. Meinhardt ended the first period with a 13-11 lead and scored the two touches he needed to finish the bout at 15-11 early in the third.

Meinhardt fenced 2017 World University Games silver medalist Kyosuke Matsuyama (JPN) in the 32, taking a 6-1 lead early in the bout and earning the win at 15-10 in the first.

In the 16, Meinhardt led Cassara, 6-3, early in the first, but the Italian closed the period with a 14-9 lead. Meinhardt took the first touch in the second, but Cassara scored the final touch to win the bout, 15-10.

Top eight and U.S. results are as follows:

Bonn Men’s Team Foil World Cup
1. USA

2. Italy
3. Japan
4. France
5. Korea
6. Germany
7. Hong Kong
8. China

Bonn Men’s Individual Foil World Cup
1. Richard Kruse (GBR)
2. Andrea Cassara (ITA)
3. Nick Itkin (Los Angeles, Calif.)
3. Enzo Lefort (FRA)
5. Timur Safin (RUS)
6. Daniele Garozzo (ITA)
7. Ryo Miyake (JPN)
8. Miles Chamley-Watson (New York City, N.Y.)

10. Race Imboden (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
11. Alex Massialas (San Francisco, Calif.)
14. Gerek Meinhardt (San Francisco, Calif.)
66. Geoffrey Tourette (Cupertino, Calif.)
98. Sidarth Kumbla (San Jose, Calif.)
118. Adam Mathieu (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
119. Sam Moelis (Hewlett, N.Y.)
138. Philip Shin (New York City, N.Y.)
168. Brian Kaneshige (Maplewood, N.J.)

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