Cadet Men's Epee World Championships Podium (L-R): Silver medalist Andris Jahimovics (LAT), Cadet World Champion Ariel Simmons and bronze medalists Jesus Limardo and Jake Raynis. Photo credit: Serge Timacheff / FIE / Fencingphotos.com
Simmons is thrown into the air by his teammates after winning gold. Photo credit: Serge Timacheff / FIE / Fencingphotos.com
(Colorado Springs, Colo.) – Sixteen-year-old Ariel Simmons (Bellaire, Texas) became the first U.S. men’s epee fencer since 2006 to win gold at the Cadet World Championships on Monday in Porec, Croatia.
Simmons and his teammate, 16-year-old Jake Raynis (Chatsworth, Calif.) made history together as Raynis’s bronze medal marked the first time ever that two U.S. men’s epee fencers have stood on the podium at a Cadet Worlds.
The first-time Cadet World Team members advanced to the table of 32 on Monday after dropping just one bout each in the pools and winning their table of 64 bouts on Sunday.
Simmons admitted that he was nervous at the start of the competition on Monday, but cruised to a 15-7 victory over Federico Vismara (ITA). Up 7-5, after the first two minutes of the bout, Simmons gave up just one touch as he raced to a 12-6 lead at the break and outscored Vismara, 3-1, to finish the bout early in the second period.
“The very first bout it was weird because I haven’t fenced wireless before, but then I got into a groove and had fun,” Simmons said.
At the end of the first period of his table of 32 bout, Raynis was tied with Walter Noe (GER), but the American scored six straight single touches on his way to finishing the bout with a 15-9 win.
In the table of 16, Simmons trailed Daveed Abdelmalak (EGY), 5-0 early in the first period, but he brought the score to 9-7 by the first break and took a 14-13 lead going into the start of the final period. Neither athlete scored during the next minute, however, and noncombattivity was called which sent the bout into a one-minute overtime period.
Abdelmalak scored first to tie the bout at 14, but Simmons singled to earn the win, 15-14.
Raynis led or tied his table of 16 opponent, Dylan French (CAN), from start to finish as he went on to earn a 15-12 victory in the three-period match-up.
In the quarter-finals, Simmons took just two periods to defeat Adel Abdelrahman (EGY), 15-7, and secure his first World Championship medal.
Raynis made a two-American podium finish possible when he claimed a 10-9 overtime win over Dzianis Paulouski (BLR) in his quarter-final.
After a two hour break, Raynis and Simmons returned to the evening session with Raynis’s semifinal up first.
Raynis led Andris Jahimovics, 5-4, after the first two periods and scored two singles to take a four-touch lead in the third, but the Latvian came back to tie the bout at 14 with four seconds left on the clock. Raynis earned priority in the sudden-death overtime period, but it wouldn’t be needed as Jahimovics scored the final touch with 14 seconds on the clock.
Simmons started his semi against Jesus Limardo (VEN) – younger brother of 2012 Olympic Champion Ruben Limardo – aggressively and built an 8-3 lead after the first period. Although Limardo had come from behind to win his previous three bouts, Simmons outscored the Venezuelan, 7-2, in the first minute of the second period to win the bout, 15-5.
In the gold medal final, Simmons built a 7-6 lead against Jahimovics and didn’t look back as he held the lead in the second and went on to win the gold with a 15-13 final victory.
“I dreamt of it but didn’t realize I would have a medal sitting in pocket. It’s weird… I am very, very happy and humbled,” Simmons said. “It’s a great experience to fence for the U.S. and represent our country. I definitely didn’t expect to win. I wanted it and trained for it, but didn’t expect it. Now that I’ve got it, it’s just a cool experience and I can’t stop taking it in. It’s a great honor and I don’t think it’s really sunk in yet.”
In addition to support from his teammates, Simmons had a large contingent of family members who traveled to Croatia to cheer him on.
“It meant a lot to have my family here. It was definitely a lot of pressure. My mom said ‘By the way, we are taking your grandparents and aunt and sisters so good luck. And I mentally thought ‘Now I have to do well so they don’t waste thousands of dollars on coming to Croatia,’” Simmons said.
Simmons will stay in Croatia for the junior team event on Saturday where he will join his older teammates as the team fourth.
“I will rest for the next few days and I’m captain so I’ll make sure everyone is warmed up, submit the order and be there for the team and if they need me, so be it, if not, that’s fine and hopefully we bring another gold to America. We have a very good team this year,” he said.
In the women’s epee competition, both 15-year-old Kasia Nixon (Los Angeles, Calif.) and 17-year-old Amanda Sirico (Bowie, Md.) and advanced to the table of 16.
Nixon defeated Hsin I Wu (TPE), 15-5, and Sirico won her bout over Vanessa Riedmueller (GER), 15-13.
The second seed in the table, Nixon finished ninth overall after a 15-14 loss to Dominique Tannous who represents Lebanon, but trains in Rhode Island.
Sirico fenced 2011 Cadet World silver medalist Alona Komarov (ISR) in the table of 16, but lost the bout, 15-7, to finish in 15th place while Komarov went on to win gold.
Preliminary rounds of competition were also held on Monday for the men’s foil and women’s saber events.
All three U.S. men’s foil fencers advanced to the second day of competition.
Both 17-year-old Thomas Dudey (Bellaire, Texas) and 16-year-old Raymond Chen (Dallas, Texas) went undefeated in the pools to earn third and eighth seeds, respectively, into the table of 128.
Sixteen-year-old Axel Kiefer (Lexington, Ky.) finished the pools in 20th place after a 5-1 result.
All three athletes earned byes into the table of 64 where Dudey and Chen both made quick work of their opponents. Dudey defeated Taewook Ha (KOR), 15-7, and Chen earned a 15-3 victory over Juvenal Alarcon (CHI).
Kiefer’s table of 64 bout against Ryohei Noguchi (JPN) came down to the wire, but he took the win, 15-14.
In the table of 32 on Tuesday, Dudey will meet Mykhailo Asadulaiev (UKR). Chen will fence 2013 Cadet European Champion Bjoern-Erik Weiner (GER) and Kieferwill face four-time Cadet World Team member Luka Gaganidze (GEO).
In the cadet women’s saber competition, two members of Team USA drew each other in the table of 64, causing only two of the three Americans to advance to the second day of competition.
After the 17-year-olds posted 3-2 and 3-3 results in the pools, 17-year-old Lena Johnson (Peachtree City, Ga.) defeated teammate Anastasia Ivanoff (Los Angeles, Calif.), 15-12.
Fencing at her second Cadet Worlds, 16-year-old Sage Palmedo (Portland, Ore.) finished the pools, 3-2, and defeated Frederique Bourget (CAN), 15-4.
Johnson will fence fourth seed Ekaterina Kostina (RUS) in the table of 32 on Tuesday. Palmedo will be pitted against second seed Palina Kaspiarovich (BLR).
The Cadet Worlds will conclude on Tuesday with the women’s saber and men’s foil events. The Junior Worlds will begin competition with the women’s foil and men’s saber preliminary rounds.
The following U.S. fencers will take the strip on Tuesday in the junior events:
Junior Women’s Foil
Lee Kiefer (Lexington, Ky.)
Margaret Lu (Greenwich, Conn.)
Jackie Dubrovich (Riverdale, N.J.)
Junior Men’s Saber
Eli Dershwitz (Sherborn, Mass.)
Kaito Streets (Redwood City, Calif.)
Andrew Mackiewicz (Westwood, Mass.)
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Click here for complete results
Top eight and U.S. results are as follows, including athletes who placed outside the top 32 on Sunday:
Cadet Men’s Epee
1. Ariel Simmons (Bellaire, Texas)
2. Andris Jahimovics (LAT)
3. Jesus Limardo (VEN)
3. Jake Raynis (Chatsworth, Calif.)
5. Gabriele Risicato (ITA)
6. Angel Fabregat (ESP)
7. Dzianis Paulouski (BLR)
8. Abdelrahman Adel (EGY)
33. Gabriel Canaux (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
Cadet Women’s Epee
1. Alona Komarov (ISR)
2. Asa Linde (SWe)
3. Maria Obraztsova (RUS)
3. Nadine Stahlberg (GER)
5. Lizaveta Khlystunova (BLR)
6. Dominique Tannous (LIB)
7. Molly Hudson (GBR)
8. Maria Zakirchenko (GEO)
9. Kasia Nixon (Los Angeles, Calif.)
15. Amanda Sirico (Bowie, Md.)
36. Madeline Kehl (Valencia, Calif.)