Hopefully the members of the U.S. fencing team left room in their luggage for medals, because they’re coming home from the Pan American Zonal Fencing Championships in Havana, Cuba, with quite a collection.
The competition opened with the U.S. collecting a total of 15 medals — five golds, one silver and nine bronzes — in the individual events.
Two-time Olympian Lee Kiefer took her record ninth straight gold in women’s foil and still has not ever lost a direct elimination bout, winning more than 30 over the past eight years. Kiefer set the record for most Pan Am titles with her seventh in 2016. Eli Dershwitz, a 2016 Olympian, claimed his third gold in men’s saber.
Three-time Olympian and 2012 bronze medalist Kelley Hurley took her third straight title and fourth overall in women’s epee and two-time Olympian and 2016 bronze medalist Race Imboden defended his men’s foil title and won his fifth overall, the most of any U.S. male fencer in any weapon. Olympic bronze medalist Dagmara Wozniak won gold in the women’s saber, her first gold in 12 appearances at the Zonal Championships.
Also in women’s saber, Eliza Stone won the silver medal and Chloe Fox-Gitomer took home the bronze.
Two-time Olympian Nzingha Prescod and 2012 Olympian Nicole Ross both won bronze in women’s foil and Andrew Mackiewicz and two-time Olympian and 2016 silver medalist Daryl Homer took bronze in men’s saber. Gerek Meinhardt, who’s competed in the Olympic Games three times and won team bronze in 2016, claimed bronze in men’s foil as did two-time Olympian and silver and bronze medalist Alex Massialas. Curtis McDowald won bronze in men’s epee.
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The team competitions started on Monday, and all six U.S. teams won titles over the course of the three days.
The men’s epee and women’s saber teams opened the week with the men’s team defeating Cuba to reach the medal round then beating Brazil and 2017 Pan Am champs Venezuela, 45-36, for the title. The women beat Brazil and Venezuela to set up a rematch against Mexico, to whom they lost in the final last year, and got their revenge with a 45-40 win.
The top-ranked women’s epee and men’s foil teams followed that up with gold-medal performances of their own on Tuesday, with the men’s team crushing Brazil by a score of 45-14 after defeating Canada in the semifinals. The women topped Canada, 45-33, in their final after beating Cuba in the semifinals.
Then on Wednesday, rounding out the team competitions and the overall championships, the women’s foil team claimed yet another gold medal, defeating Canada, 45-38, after beating Brazil in the semifinals and Colombia in the quarterfinals, and the men’s saber team brought home one final gold medal, beating Canada, 45-30, for the title following victories against Argentina and Puerto Rico.
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.