In what has been the most successful world championships ever for American fencers, the top-ranked men’s foil team won the silver medal on Friday to close out competition in Wuxi, China.
The U.S. finishes with six medals (two golds, two silvers, two bronzes) at these world championships, topping its previous record of five set in 2015 (two silvers, three bronzes).
The men’s foil team of Alexander Massialas, Miles Chamley-Watson, Race Imboden and Gerek Meinhardt faced a familiar opponent in Italy.
The meeting was a rematch of last summer’s world title match, when the same four U.S. fencers lost to Italy 45-41 and also brought home the silver medal. This year Italy again prevailed, 45-34.
Three of the four fencers previously competed on the NCAA level, with Massialas (Stanford), Chamley-Watson (Penn State) and Meinhardt (Notre Dame) each earning All-America honors four times.
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Friday marked just the fifth time in history that a U.S. men’s fencing team medaled at the senior world championships, and the third time that the men’s foil team did so following its silver-medal performances in 2013 and 2017.
The 2013 and 2017 teams were made up of the same four fencers that medaled in Wuxi. That squad also earned bronze at the Olympic Games Rio 2016, where it defeated Italy 45-31.
In May the U.S. completed the first-ever clean sweep of the world cup team events, winning at all five stops on the circuit. The team defeated Italy in the gold-medal match of the fifth and final tournament.
The Americans led only briefly early against the second-ranked Italians in Friday’s match, however, as Italy built steadily on its lead as the match wore on.
The men’s team foil wrapped up nine days of competition in Wuxi. Also competing on Friday was the U.S. women’s saber team, which finished fifth.
Earlier in the tournament, the women’s epee and foil teams both earned their first-ever world titles; it was also the first medal of any color by a U.S. women’s epee team. Courtney Hurley earned bronze for the first medal by a U.S. women’s epeeist, Eli Dershwitz took silver in men’s saber for his first world medal and the No. 1 world ranking and Eliza Stone claimed bronze in women’s saber for the country’s first medal in that event in four years and her first individual world medal.
Karen Price is a reporter from Pittsburgh who has covered Olympic sports for various publications. She is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.