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Jimmy Moody and Ibtihaj Muhammad Win Gold at December NAC

12/15/2013, 8:45pm CST
By Nicole Jomantas

Division I men's epee gold medalist Jimmy Moody. Photo credit: Nicole Jomantas

(Dallas, Texas) – Could the secret to the recent success of epee fencer Jimmy Moody (Colorado Springs, Colo.) lie in the sport of bobsled?

Moody, who won bronze at the November North American Cup, won his first Division I NAC title in Dallas on Saturday.

Although Moody won his first World Cup team medal in 2012 and has been a frequent finalist on the NAC circuit, his win this weekend was the first Division I NAC gold for the Olympic Training Center resident who had previously struggled with cramping at major events.

“Today what was different was my preparation. I worked really hard in the off season and did lots of high level conditioning which carried me through at the end of the day. A lot of that can be attributed to the U.S. Bobsled Team who really helped whip me into shape this summer,” said Moody who met many of the 2014 Olympic hopefuls when they trained at the OTC in Colorado Springs. “I figured that if I wanted to be the strongest, fastest athlete on the strip, I should find the strongest, fastest athletes I know and that was the bobsled team. They taught me how to sprint, how to push really heavy things really fast, how to move weight and it really helped me to build a core of confidence in my physical capabilities and I think that gave me the mental edge to know that I put in the time and I’ve earned it.”

Moody won his first two bouts over Grant Campbell (Laramie, Wyo.) and Brad Tucker (Lincoln, Neb.), 15-7, to advance to the table of 32 where he defeated 2013 Senior World Team member Adam Watson (Richford, Vt.), 15-10.

After a 3-2 win over two-time National Champion Alexander Tsinis (Little Neck, N.Y.), Moody lost to 2011 Junior World Team member Mike Raynis (Chatsworth, Calif.), 14-11.

The loss dropped Moody into the repechage where he took a 9-7 win over his OTC teammate Jason Pryor (Colorado Springs, Colo.) to advance to the quarter-finals.

“We train alongside each other all day and I know he can match me for conditioning. That one was very back and forth. We know each other so well that that one was just going to come down to who was going to be a little bit sharper and who could gut it out,” Moody said.

In the quarters, Moody faced Raynis again and was determined to make the bout different from their previous encounter.

“I felt the first time we fenced that I was doing all the work and he just kept drawing me out. The second time we fenced, I decided I was going to make him do the work and, if he wanted me, he was going to have to come and get me,” said Moody who took three non-combattivity calls before defeating Raynis, 9-1, in the final minute.

Moody defeated Watson for the second time of the day in the semifinals where he took the win, 15-13.

“That one was all conditioning. He’s in great shape and I knew that if I could just suck it up for 15 touches that I could pull it out,” Moody said.

In the gold medal final, Moody was up 3-1 after the first period against Alen Hadzic (New York, N.Y.) and didn’t look back as he held a lead throughout the remainder of the bout and finished with a 15-12 victory.

“I knew Alen has a really good flick and he’s really good with a short target, so that meant that I had to keep my hand back and rely entirely on my legs to win distance and timing. And then, from there, it was all what I like to call ‘weightroom touches.’ Right or wrong, when you decide to pull the trigger, you’ve got to go 100% and find a way,” Moody said.

Three-time Senior World team medalist Ibtihaj Muhammad (Maplewood, N.J.) won gold in the Division I saber competition and also attributed her success to an improved conditioning program.

“I’ve been putting a lot of time into my cross-training. It’s becoming a really big part of my training regimen. So, mentally, I feel like I have one up on people because I’m thinking about those extra hours that I’ve been in the gym and working out,” Muhammad said. “I feel like I’m prepared for that moment. When you put in the extra time, you don’t have to think about ‘oh, my legs are tired’ or ‘oh, I feel physically tired’ because I’ve worked for this moment and you have to push through the mental fatigue, but not necessarily the physical fatigue.”

Muhammad’s fourth seed out of the pools gave her the advantage of a bye into the 64, but she still needed six straight wins over four hours to take gold.

In the table of 64, Muhammad defeated Miranda Gieg (Sudbury, Mass.), 15-5, and won her table of 32 bout against Avery Youngblood (Dallas, Texas), 15-12.

After a 15-7 win in the table of 16 over Rachel Aho (Wellesley, Mass.), Muhammad drew her younger sister, Faizah Muhammad (Maplewood, N.J.), in the quarter-finals.

“It’s really tough to fence against her because I want to see her win. I have a hard time even putting it into words, but I’ve never wanted more for anyone in my life than my sister. I want my sister to do better than I do all the time. Even if I don’t make an Olympic team or win another World medal, I want those things for her,” said Ibtihaj who won the bout, 15-14. “I wish I didn’t ever have to fence her, that we could be one and two in the pools and not fence until the finals. But she’s a really strong fencer and I know her time is coming.”

In the semifinals, 2009 Senior World Team member Monica Aksamit (Matawan, N.J.) took a 4-2 lead early in the bout, but Muhammad fought back to tie the bout at eight and earn the win, 15-11.

“Even in World Cups, sometimes I’m not really in it for the first few touches and I don’t show up as much until the middle,” Muhammad said. “That’s why I love NACs so much and I love coming because they help me prepare for the World Cups. The first half of the bout I don’t think is my strong point, but I’m really great at finishing the bout. It’s getting over that hump of the first few touches that I’m working on getting better at.”

In the gold medal final, Muhammad defeated 2013 Junior World Team Champion Sage Palmedo (Portland, Ore.), 15-11.

After her victory, Muhammad said she was excited, but drained.

“I forget sometimes the speed of the NAC and you’re just so exhausted. We didn’t fence too early today, but I woke up at 7:30 and it’s already 4:30 so long day … but I feel really good,” Muhammad said. “I feel like I’ve been training for this moment and, at this point in my career, I think the NACs are to try and maintain level headedness and not necessarily about the result, but how you feel and to mentally prepare for the World Cups.”

Muhammad will return to the World Cup circuit in January where Palmedo and Russo will be among her teammates.

“I really love the junior program and I think they’re doing a great job internationally and I’m looking forward to them breaking through at the senior level. I think we have a lot of hidden talent going into the Senior World Cups,” Muhammad said. “A lot of our competition is used to seeing me and Daga and Mariel, but I don’t know if they’re prepared for Sage and Francesca and the other junior girls which I think is good because we have these secret weapons that we’re looking forward to seeing out there this year.”

In the cadet men’s saber competition, Karol Metryka (Linden, N.J.) led 2013 Cadet World Team member Calvin Liang (Chandler, Ariz.), 12-8, in the second period, but Liang scored four straight to tie the bout at 12.

The two exchanged touches as Liang went on to tie Metryka at 13 and 14. It was Metryka who scored the final touch, however, to take the win, 15-14.

Iman Blow (Brooklyn, N.Y.) won her fourth NAC title of the year with a victory in the cadet women’s foil event.

Blow outscored Liana Semel (Carmel, N.Y.), 14-4, in the first period of the gold medal final and gave up just two more in the second to win the bout, 15-6.

A trio of former Veteran World Championship medalists won the women’s 50-59, 60-69 and +70 epee events.

Cristina Gordet (Somerville, Md.), a bronze medalist at the 2013 Veteran Worlds, won the women’s 60-69 competition where she edged Ellen Finnegan (West Roxbury, Mass.), 10-9, in the gold medal final.

A two-time Veteran World Champion, Elizabeth Kocab (Farmington Hills, Mich.) continued her streak of having been undefeated in U.S. women’s veteran competition since the March NAC in 2012. In the gold medal final, Kocab defeated Anna Telles (Seattle, Wash.), 10-5.

Bettie Graham (Washington, D.C.), a 2011 Veteran World medalist, was tied with 2013 Veteran World medalist Patricia Bedrosian (Malibu, Calif.) at eight in the second period of the +70 women’s epee event. Graham scored the final two touches and won the bout, 10-8.

In the veteran women’s 40-49 competition, Carola Schmid (Seattle, Wash.) won her gold medal bout, 10-7, over Sandra Marchant (Prospect, Conn.)

Australian Andrey Tyshcenko took gold in the veteran men’s open epee event over Maciej Zieniecki (Woodland, Calif.), 10-9.

Top eight results are as follows:

Division I Men’s Epee
1. Jimmy Moody (Colorado Springs, Colo.)
2. Alen Hadzic (New York, N.J.)
3. Graham Wicas (Newtown Square, Pa.)
3. Adam Watson (Richford, Vt.)
5. Ben Bratton (New York City, N.Y.)
6. Michael Raynis (Chatsworth, Calif.)
7. Peregrine Badger (Providence, R.I.)
8. Kristian Boyadzhiev (BUL)

Division I Women’s Saber
1. Ibtihaj Muhammad (Maplewood, N.J.)
2. Sage Palmedo (Portland, Ore.)
3. Francesca Russo (Wayne, N.J.)
3. Monica Aksamit (Matawan, N.J.)
5. Eliza Stone (Chicago, Ill.)
6. Gracie Stone (Chicago, Ill.)
6. Nicole Glon (State College, Pa.)
8. Faizah Muhammad (Maplewood, N.J.)

Cadet Women’s Foil
1. Iman Blow (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
2. Liana Semel (Carmel, N.Y.)
3. Mariah Summers (Tigard, Ore.)
3. Morgan Partridge (Swansea, Mass.)
5. Quinn Crum (Providence, R.I.)
6. Isabella Chung (Greenwich, Conn.)
7. Polly Adler (Scardsdale, N.Y.)
8. Stefani Deschner (Mechanicsville, Va.)

Cadet Men’s Saber
1. Karol Metryka (Linden, N.J.)
2. Calvin Liang (Chandler, Ariz.)
3. Alex Walker III (Atlanta, Ga.)
3. Khalil Thompson (Teaneck, N.J.)
5. Julian Merchant (New Rochelle, N.Y.)
6. Gavin Turner (Rehoboth, N.Y.)
7. Henry Fisher (Kennesaw, Ga.)
8. Ben Natanzon (Manalapan, N.J.)

Veteran Open Men’s Foil
1. Andrey Tyshcenko (AUS)
2. Maciej Zieniecki (Woodland, Calif.)
3. Robert Pavlovich (Manhasset, N.Y.)
3. Vitaliy Boksiner (Fort Worth, Texas)
5. Juan Ignacio Calderon (San Diego, Calif.)
6. Julio Diaz (Lilburn, Ga.)
7. Rolando Balboa (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
8. Nathan Anderson (Denver, Colo.)

Veteran 40-49 Women’s Epee
1. Carola Schmid (Seattle, Wash.)
2. Sandra Marchant (Prospect, Conn.)
3. Ann Totemeier (Boulder, Colo.)
3. NaRaye Williams (Irving, Texas)
5. Claudine Barjak (San Antonio, Texas)
6. Victoria Bowen (Daly City, Calif.)
7. Ruth Zamoyta (Summit, N.J.)
8. Olga Barmina (Davies, Calif.)

Veteran 50-59 Women’s Epee
1. Cristina Gordet (Somerville, Md.)
2. Ellen Finnegan (West Roxbury, Mass.)
3. Beth Slikas (East Falmouth, Mass.)
3. Suzanne Bloomer (Mountain View, Calif.)
5. Valerie Asher (Bethesda, Md.)
6. Cristina Ford (Salem, Ore.)
7. Mary Huang (Pasadena, Calif.)
8. Diane Trice (Silver Springs, Md.)

Veteran 60-69 Women’s Epee
1. Elizabeth Kocab (Farmington Hills, Mich.)
2. Anna Telles (Seattle, Wash.)
3. Jann Ream (Iowa City, Iowa)
3. Anne-Marie Walters (Parkland, Fla.)
5. Henri Gales (Greensboro, N.C.)
6. Bonnie Aher (Brookfield, Conn.)
7. Diane Kallus (Round Rock, Texas)
8. Kathryn Rubin (Waban, Mass.)

Veteran +70 Women’s Epee
1. Bettie Graham (Washington, D.C.)
2. Patricia Bedrosian (Malibu, Calif.)
3. Sally Higgins (Tinton Falls, N.J.)
3. Catherine Radle (Atlanta, Ga.)
5. Diane Reckling (White Plains, N.Y.)

Tag(s): News  Ibtihaj Muhammad  Ashley Severson  Suzanne Bloomer