U.S. Men's Epee Team win Silver in Heidenheim World Cup
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The U.S. Men's Epee Team earned its second podium finish at a World Cup during the past two months on Sunday at the Heidenheim World Cup in Germany.
Ranked third in the world going into the weekend, this marks the second silver medal won by the men’s epee squad out of the last three World Cup tournaments and follows a World Cup silver in Tallinn, Estonia and an eighth-place finish in Paris in March.
Ranked #3 in the world and the reigning World Championship silver medalists, Team USA had a first-round bye before Seth Kelsey (Colorado Springs, Colo.), Soren Thompson (New York City, N.Y.) and Ben Bratton (New York City, N.Y.) defeated Venezuela, 43-33, in the table of 16.
In the quarter-finals, Team USA had a rematch with the Russian team that defeated the Americans in the gold medal bout in Tallinn. The two teams were tied at 21 after the seventh match when Bratton took the lead, outscoring 2009 World Champion Anton Avdeev (RUS) by three touches to one. Thompson, a 2004 Olympic Team member, held onto the two-touch lead as he and Pavel Sukhov (RUS) each scored 11 touches to bring score to 35-33.
With three seconds remaining on the clock in the final match, Kelsey narrowly avoided going into overtime when he earned the final touch to win the bout, 45-43.
It would soon become a familiar scene for Kelsey as the next two bouts in the medal rounds would be decided by a single overtime touch.
In the semifinals against Italy, the two-time Olympian entered the final match as Team USA was down by six touches and he took the strip against Enrico Garazzo. Kelsey outscored Garazzo, 9-6, to close the gap to 36-33. In the final minute, Kelsey scored 10 times to tie Italy, 43-43, and send the bout to sudden death overtime where he scored the first touch to win the bout, 44-43.
“All of the bouts were very intense today, but I am happy to see Ben Bratton getting back to his best level and Seth has really improved his closing bout since Tallinn,” said Coach Sebastien Dos Santos (Portland, Ore.)
Bratton, Thompson and Kelsey faced top-ranked Hungary in the gold medal final. Thompson gave Team USA a one-point lead, 35-34, going into the final match between Kelsey and Gabor Boczko who won both the team and individual bronze medals at the 2010 World Championships.
The World Cup silver medalists pose with Coach Dos Santos and their U.S. teammates.
Boczko took the lead for Hungary, 40-39, but Kelsey tied the bout at 40 with two seconds left.
In overtime, Boczko scored first to win the bout, 41-40.
“It’s our second silver medal in two months and the third in six months. The guys fenced very well today and I’m excited that we won this time with Soren Thompson and Alex Tsinis as new fencers for the team event,” Coach Dos Santos said. “I’m also happy to see that five athletes besides the team stayed an extra day to support the team. Thank you to Jimmy Moody, Adam Rodney, Gavin Medley, Tommi Hurme and Peregrine Badger!”
Top eight results are as follows:
Heidenheim Epee Team World Cup
4. South Korea