(L-R) Race Imboden, Alexander Massialas, Gerek Meinhardt and Miles Chamley-Watson pose for a photo at the Men's Foil World Cup on Nov. 11, 2018 in Bonn, Germany.
The streak continues — and so does the rivalry.
After the U.S. men’s foil fencing team swept all five world cups last season, the team opened the 2018-19 season with another victory on Sunday in Bonn, Germany. And, fittingly, the team beat Italy in the championship bout.
The top-seeded team of Alexander Massialas, Race Imboden, Gerek Meinhardt and Miles Chamley-Watson broke away from the Italians to win 45-32.
The win is the sixth in a row for Team USA on the world cup circuit, after winning all five events last season. No U.S. team had accomplished that feat prior to last season.
The bout also continued what’s becoming one of the sport’s fiercest rivalries. Massialas, Imboden, Meinhardt and Chamley-Watson beat Italy to win the 2016 Olympic bronze medal, only for Italy to beat the same U.S. fencers in the title bout at the past two world championships. The U.S. beat Italy in all three meetings last season.
In Bonn, the U.S. team had a bye through the round of 32, and then easily beat Hungary and China to reach the semifinals. A 45-30 win over Japan sent the Americans on to the final against second-seeded Italy.
Imboden, Massialas and Meinhardt all came into Bonn ranked among the top 15, led the Imboden at No. 3. Massialas won an individual silver medal at the Olympic Games Rio 2016.
However, it was a fencer not on the U.S. team who had the best individual performance in Bonn.
On Saturday, 19-year-old Nick Itkin won an individual bronze medal. Already a junior world champion and NCAA champion at Notre Dame last season, Itkin’s medal was his first on the world cup circuit.