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Avakian Wins First Cadet European Cup Gold, Team USA Brings Home Three Medals from Moedling

01/30/2019, 2:30pm CST
By Kristen Henneman

(L-R): Silver medalist Benedetta Fusetti (ITA), gold medalist Mikaela Avakian (USA) and bronze medalists Lucrezia Del Sal (ITA) and Vera Kong (USA).


(L-R): Silver medalist Colin Heathcock (GER), gold medalist Giorgio Marciano (ITA) and bronze medalists Trenton Schmitt (USA) and Mohammed Alfadhli (KUW).

(Colorado Springs, Colo.) – It was a weekend of career bests for the top finishers of Team USA as Mikaela Avakian (Arcadia, Calif.) won her first Cadet European Cup title and Vera Kong (Irvine, Calif.) and Trenton Schmitt (Granite Bay, Calif.) each secured their first medals on the circuit in Moedling, Austria.

Fencing at the last Cadet European Cup of the season for men’s and women’s saber, Avakian earned her second straight medal at a Cadet European Cup after earning bronze in Eislingen in December.

The 16-year-old was undefeated on the day, going 6-0 in pools to take the No. 1 seed in the direct elimination tableau, where she was 6-0 for the top step on the podium.

With a bye into the table of 64, Avakian held five of her six opponents to single digits. She cruised past Carolyn Frenna (ITA), 15-4, and Chloe Hilbert (FRA), 15-6. After defeating Federica Guzzi Susini (ITA), 15-9, in the 16, Avakian had her closest bout of the day, edging out Lisa Chen (FRA), 15-13, to guarantee a medal.

Avakian reached the gold medal match with a quick 15-6 victory over Lucrezia Del Sal (ITA) in the semifinals and clinched gold with a 15-7 win over Benedetta Fusetti (ITA), 15-7.

With the victory, Avakian moved up to No. 1 in the USA Fencing Women’s Saber Team Point Standings. The Cadet World Championship Team will be named next month following the USA Fencing Junior Olympic Championships.

Claiming bronze at her first international competition, Kong started the direct elimination rounds with a 15-10 victory over Maya Atac Kurtulmus (TUR), 15-10, before upsetting teammate Chloe Gouhin (Blacklick, Ohio), 15-6.

In the 32, Kong bested Gaia Pia Carella (ITA), 15-13. To advance to the medal rounds, Kong narrowly edged out two teammates, overcoming Lola Possick (Weehawken, N.J.), 15-14, and Zoe Kim (Basking Ridge, N.J.), 15-13.

However, her day came to the end at the hands of Fusetti, who won the second semifinal, 15-13.

In addition to Avakian and Kong, Kim and Megan Liang (San Diego, Calif.) earned top-eight finishes with both setting or tying their career best result internationally.

Kim, last year’s Y14 National Champion, gave up just two points in her opening bout to Michaela Svobodova (CZE), winning, 15-2, and posted a 15-9 victory in the 64 over Eva Mentz (FRA).

In the following rounds, Kim held off second-seeded Atara Greenbaum (Boca Raton, Fla.), 15-8, before outscoring Raula Rovira (ESP), 15-11, for her best result on the circuit.

Megan Liang (San Diego, Calif.) finished fifth, tying her career best.

Liang used her momentum she gained in pools, where she went 5-0 record, to control her table of 64 bout against Margherita Colonna (ITA), 15-8. After defeating Alina Hornak (GER), 15-11, Liang outtouched Maria Chiara Dotoli (ITA), 15-14, for a spot in the quarters.

Team USA nearly had a third American in the semifinals, but Liang came up just short against Del Sal, falling by a point, 15-14.

In the race for the three spots on the Cadet World Team, 2018 Cadet World Team member Honor Johnson (Bethesda, Md.) is ranked second behind Avakian. Gouhin, Sky Miller (Durham, N.C.) and Kim follow Johnson with the three separated by fewer than 300 points.

On Saturday in the men’s competition, Schmitt’s bronze marked his first Cadet European Cup medal.

With a 6-0 pool record, Schmitt tied for second and earned a bye to the table of 64, where he bested Ahmet Turgut Taflan (TUR), 15-9.

After a close victory over Szymon Hryciuk (POL), 15-13, Schmitt dominated his table of 16 bout, cruising past Christian Colautti (ITA), 15-2.

Schmitt clinched a medal with a 15-12 victory over his teammate, Kirk Chayevsky (Atlanta, Ga.), but lost by the same score in the semis to Colin Heathcock (GER).

The top-eight finish was a first for Chayevsky. He went 5-1 in pools before outtouching Franklin Ernir Kristjansson (ISL), 15-14, in the table of 128.

With a 15-12 victory in the 64, Chayevsky advanced to the 32 at a Cadet European Cup for the first time. He then won his next two bouts by 15-12 scores, overcoming Giovanni Roussier Fusco (ITA) and Santiago Madrigal (ESP).

The silver medalist in Eislingen in December, Nickoloz Lortkipanidze (Mt. Kisco, N.Y.) finished fifth in Moedling.

After going 5-1 in pools, Lortkipanidze blazed past his first three direct elimination opponents, defeating Luka Lominadze (GEO), 15-6; teammate Peter Hammer (Weston, Fla.), 15-7; and Oscar Sans (FRA), 15-8.

Lortkipanidze reached the quarter-finals with a 15-12 victory over Emanuele Nardella (ITA), but lost to the eventual gold medalist, Giorgio Marciano (ITA), 15-13.

Both Lortkipanidze and Schmitt are in the hunt for a position on this year’s Cadet World Team. Luke Linder (Chandler, Ariz.) and Donghwan Park (Sacramento, Calif.) hold the top positions in the Team Point Standings. Just 25.5 points separate positions separate Marcel Merchant (New Rochelle, N.Y.), who earned a top-16 result; Lortkipanidze; and Schmitt.

Click here to view complete results.   

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

Moedling Women’s Individual Saber Cadet European Cup
1. Mikaela Avakian (Arcadia, Calif.)

2. Benedetta Fusetti (ITA)
3. Vera Kong (Irvine, Calif.)
3. Lucrezia Del Sal (ITA)
5. Megan Liang (San Diego, Calif.)
6. Lisa Chen (FRA)
7. Lorina Essomba (FRA)
8. Zoe Kim (Basking Ridge, N.J.)

9. Lola Possick (Weehawken, N.J.)
17. Atara Greenbaum (Boca Raton, Fla.)
18. Rebecca Whang (Westfield, N.J.)
19. Sonja Kozak (Mission Viejo, Calif.)
23. Stella Berman (New York, N.Y.)
31. Alexandra Tzou (New York, N.Y.)
33. Keona Moya (El Dorado Hills, Calif.)
34. Chloe Gouhin (Blacklick, Ohio)
39. Vivian Lu (Foster City, Calif.)
43. Nithya Guthikonda (Peachtree City, Ga.)
51. Alexandra Lee (San Francisco, Calif.)
64. Stephanie Cao (Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.)
68. Charlotte He (Foster City, Calif.)
89. Ella Greenbaum (Atlanta, Ga.)
111. Imogen Harrison (Portland, Ore.)
113. Sarah Lacson (Ladera Ranch, Calif.)

Moedling Men’s Individual Saber Cadet European Cup
1. Giorgio Marciano (ITA)
2. Colin Heathcock (GER)
3. Mohammed Alfadhli (KUW)
3. Trenton Schmitt (Granite Bay, Calif.)
5. Nickoloz Lortkipanidze (Mt. Kisco, N.Y.)

6. Julian Kuhling (GER)
7. Kirk Chayevsky (Atlanta, Ga.)
8. Ciro Buenza (ITA)

11. Marcel Merchant (New Rochelle, N.Y.)
22. Stephen Kim (New York, N.Y.)
27. Sean Moon (Needham, Mass.)
28. Andrew Johnson (Ridgewood, N.J.)
31. Elias Bacon (New York, N.Y.)
37. Oleksandr Kushkov (West Newton, Mass.)
43. William Hu (Granite Bay, Calif.)
44. Ronald Anglade (Alpharetta, Ga.)
46. Nicholaus Zielinski (Prospects Heights, Ill.)
49. Henry Nadile (Tarrytown, N.Y.)
55. Stein Portmann (Salt Lake City, Utah)
60. Peter Hammer (Weston, Fla.)
60. Grant Dodrill (Boca Raton, Fla.)
75. John Lin (Stamford, Conn.)
77. Alexander Jeffords (Manhattan Beach, Calif.)
84. Lysander Denner (Greenwich, Conn.)
120. Taras Erachshaw (Colonia, N.J.)

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