In a snappy display of showmanship, the U.S. Modern Pentathlon Training Center defeated Salle Sebastiani, 8-2, to capture its fourth straight team epee championship yesterday on the last day of the National Fencing Championships at George Mason University.
The second-seeded D.C. Fencers Club, which waited all week to make its presence felt, finished fourth after losing to Salle Csiszar of Philadelphia, 9-4, in the consolation match. In their best-of-16 semifinal match with Sebastiani, the local fencers squandered a 3-1 lead to lose eventually, 9-4.
"Just so everybody had a good time watching," said John Moreau, Modern Pentathlon team captain, after his flashy defeat of Sebastiani's Slawomir Rotkiewicz. "Our other three fencers are reasonably careful, but I get going and get cranking and then I get lucky a lot. We're just out to have a lot of fun."
The Modern Pentathlon squad entered the team competition seeded first on the basis of Robert Nieman's eighth-place, Greg Losey's 11th-place, Moreau's 12th-place and Risto Hurme's 15th-place finishes in the individual epee competition.
The San Antonio-based team encountered little resistance on its way to the title, taking 33 of 43 bouts in victories over Virginia Tech, Charles River, Csiszar and finally the Sebastiani team from Houston.
The D.C. fencers, who placed Michael Storm and Greerson McMullen 13th and 14th, respectively, in the individual competition, continued their slide in the consolation match against Csiszar, losing their first five bouts.
But behind two victories by three-time world champion Christian Kauter of Switzerland, they rallied to win the next four bouts. Trailing, 5-4, the D.C. club lost three more times before Kauter recorded his third victory. But it was not enough.
"From the quarterfinals to the semifinals, the competition trebled as far as quality," said Gerald Schneider, D.C. team captain. "As a team we fenced well most of the day, though there were moments when we had mental letdowns.
"We had to fence our very best to beat these people and we didn't. We finished where we probably should have."