Photos courtesy of www.fencingphotos.com and Serge Timachef
With the number 1 US ranking and home country pride on the line there was plenty of motivation going into the Dallas world cup. With a great US crowd behind me, I captured the Bronze medal! Also my 2nd top-4 finish out of the last 3 world cups. (A new first for me!) My world ranking is now #11 (tied for my peak career ranking in 2007) and the result secured the #1 USA ranking for the season.(This is the first time I’ve ended the season as #1!)
To be 30 years old and still improving is very exciting! (Hopefully will keep it going on the journey to qualify and go for the gold at the 2012 London Olympics!)
Having barely practiced the last two weeks with a foot injury, I was nervous about what to expect going into the competition. I usually fence using a lot of defense, but because of the injury I was unable to really change directions from defense to offense in warm-ups so my strategy for the day was to attack hard and aggressively. I think that surprised a lot of my opponents and worked to my advantage on this day!
I defeated my first two opponents by large margins, 15-6 and 15-7, and then in the round of 16 faced a big challenge from Boris Sanson of France. Against him I had an 0-5 career record and he had also eliminated me in the individual portion of the Olympics. Staying very aggressive and energized, I pulled out my first career victory over him 15-12. I had a lot of help from some the very loud Americans cheering and spurring me forward!
In the quarter finals, my draw was American Ben Igoe, the #2 ranked fencer in the US. The winner of our match would own the #1 ranking for the season. We went touch for touch before I eeked out a 15-13 victory to secure the top US spot and a berth in the semi-finals.
In my semi-finals match, I faced Russian Alexey Yakimenko. He has been on a tear lately and unfortunately despite all my best efforts, I was bested 12-15 and finished 3rd for the day.(Aldo Montano of Italy won) Still, it was a great day for me and hopefully I can continue to build on the momentum of my strong finishes in Madrid and here in Dallas. We compete next in El Salvador in 10 days for the very important Pan American Zonal Championship.