Three-time Olympian Mariel Zagunis and two-time Olympian Gerek Meinhardt head a solid U.S. team of 28 fencers, many of them 2012 Olympians, who’ll compete in the Pan American Championships beginning Saturday in Chile.
The tournament, which goes through Thursday, is the first of six qualifying events for the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympic Games. Olympic qualifying for team events that are contested in Rio (men's epee and foil, women's saber and epee) will also include five world cups and the 2015 world championships.
Zagunis, a two-time Olympic gold medalist who is the first fencer in U.S. history to win four world championships, will compete in women’s individual saber Sunday and the team saber Wednesday.
Race Imboden, a 2012 Olympian, will be joined by Olympic teammates Alexander Massialas, Meinhardt and Miles Chamley-Watson in the men’s foil individual competition Saturday.
Kelley Hurley will compete in women’s individual epee Saturday, along with her sister Courtney Hurley, Katharine Holmes and Isabel Ford.
Zagunis will be joined in the women’s individual saber by Dagmara Wozniak, Ibtihaj Muhammad and Eliza Stone.
Ben Bratton, Jason Pryor, Ariel Simmons and Yeisser Ramirez will compete Sunday in the men’s individual epee.
Lee Kiefer, a 2012 Olympian who is unbeaten in at the Pan American Championships since winning her first title in 2010, will compete in the women’s individual foil Monday and team foil Thursday. Kiefer, 20, won her first career world cup title earlier this year she defeated Arianna Errigo of Italy, who is ranked No. 1 in the world.