The U.S. men’s foil fencing team is closing in on its Sweet Sixteen.
On Sunday the top-ranked squad of Gerek Meinhardt, Alexander Massialas, Nick Itkin and Race Imboden won world cup medal No. 15 in a row after beating Russia, 45-36, in the final of the tournament in Cairo, Egypt.
This is the third gold medal in four world cup team competitions this season for the U.S. men. They also won one silver medal.
With the team already qualified for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, the victory caps a weekend in which Meinhardt and Massialas both secured their individual spots at the Games.
All four fencers are ranked in the top 10 in the world. Meinhardt, a three-time Olympian, rose a spot to the No. 3 ranking in the world this weekend while Massialas, a two-time Olympic medalist remained at No. 5. Itkin fell a spot to No. 7, and Imboden is No. 8.
The U.S. defeated Belgium 45-23, then beat the host nation, 45-24, to reach the semifinals. Facing Hong Kong for the chance to battle for gold, they trailed early on by four points, but once they regained the lead they never let go en route to a 45-37 victory.
Meanwhile, No. 6 Russia upset the third-ranked Italian team in the semifinals to take on the U.S.
The U.S. raced out to a big lead, with Meinhardt leading off and Itkin following him up to send Imboden in with a 10-2 lead. He’d bump that to 15-3, and Russia would get no closer than eight points as the U.S. dominated from start to finish.
Karen Price is a reporter from Pittsburgh who has covered Olympic and Paralympic sports for various publications. She is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.