NEW YORK, N.Y. – World No. 1 Mariel Zagunis (Beaverton, Ore.) won the last FIE World Cup of the season in New York City Saturday night. The two-time reigning Olympic gold medalist defeated Reka Benko of Hungary, 15-13 in the women’s saber final at the Marriott Brooklyn Bridge.
“I’m happy to end the season on a win and I’m ready for a little bit of a break,” Zagunis said. “I think I fenced my best in the two final bouts. I had kind of a rocky start this morning with just the feeling, but I’m glad I was able to pull it out, get it done.”
James Williams lead the US fencing team with a 12th place result at the Budapest, Hungary result. He defeated Olympic Champion Aldo Montano 15-9 in the of 64, Kuniusz of Poland 15-5 in the round of 32 before falling 15-8 to Zalomir of Romania. This is the second competition in a row that Zalomir has eliminated Williams.
His teammates, Tim Morehouse fell in the round of 32 14-15 to Iliasz (HUN) after defeating Perros (CAN) 15-12 in the round of 64. Ben Igoe lost 14-15 to Beijing Olympic Champion Zhong (CHN) and Mike Etropolski fell 11-15 to Zalomir. (ROM)
Rares Dumetrescu of Romania captured the Gold medal over Gu of Korea. Zalomir (ROM) and Iliasz (HUN) finished tied for third.
The team event begins early tomorrow so I’m off to bed and will write more tomorrow. We fence Japan in the round of 16. Daryl Homer, Ben Igoe, James Williams and Tim Morehouse will make up the US team.
This summer at US National Championships there may be no Mariel Zagunis, Gerek Meinhardt, Kelly Hurley, Seth Kelsey or any members of the top-4 ranked athletes that comprise the National team. Due to a scheduling conflict with the Pan American Zonal Championships.
The recently scheduled Zonal qualifiers in San Salvador are scheduled to begin July 2nd at the same time as the 2009 US National Championships. The Zonal competition is critically important for World rankings since it counts as Grand Prix result, double points, for both individual and team.
The schedule conflict bears no easy solution. Even if nationals were moved up a week which isn’t logistically possible there isn’t enough time to decide the national team and still get the team plane tickets to go.
To make matters more difficult, the selection criteria for most teams includes 3 National competitions so if an athlete skipped a North American Cup figuring to have Nationals count for the team then that no longer can happen. I’m not sure if they have figured out how exactly to handle it.
I know on my end, I skipped a circuit thinking I would have 2 left (Men’s saber is only counting 2), but now I have just one in Portland.
Could this have been avoided?
Last year, US Nationals for Division I occurred in April because of the Olympic season and that may be what needs to happen in the future. On my end, if I do make the national team it will be disappointing to not have a chance to attend the most prestigious and important national competition of the year.
Stay tuned…you never know if the Zonal might not get moved last second since that has happened in the past.
In other funny scheduling news, because the Algeria Grand Prix was cancelled, and a new Grand Prix in China is replacing it, the women’s saber team will be competing in back-to-back Grand Prix competitions…both in China! Advantage for China, no? 🙂