Erinn Smart defeats three-time Olympic champ

Updated: April 26, 2004, 1:42 AM ET
Associated Press

ATLANTA -- The Smart siblings pulled off a sweep Sunday in the U.S. Fencing National Championships.

Keeth Smart knocked off a fellow Olympian in the semifinals, then went on a torrid run in the final to win the men's saber title, while sister Erinn beat three-time Olympian Ann Marsh to capture the women's foil crown.

"It feels good," Erinn said. "I can't wait to call my mom."

Cody Mattern of Portland, Ore., won the men's epee title during the last night of individual competition at the Georgia World Congress Center.

Trailing 7-8 at the break in his final against Mike Momtselidze, Keeth Smart took over the attack and won seven straight points en route to a 15-10 win.

Smart faced Ivan Lee in the semifinals in the only bout of the evening involving two 2004 Olympians.

Lee won the first four points of the bout against his teammate from the Peter Westbrook Foundation in New York, but Smart scored the next four to tie it. Trailing by one at the break, Smart won five of the next six points to take the lead and went on to win 15-13.

Erinn Smart beat the counterattacking Hanna Thompson 13-11 in the semifinals, and then took control of the final, defeating Marsh 15-7.

The U.S. roster for the Athens Olympics is set.

Previously, all three U.S. men's teams (epee, foil, and saber) had qualified for the Olympics as the top sides in the Americas region. The top three fencers in the national rankings made their respective Olympic teams.

Smart and Lee, both from New York, will be joined by Jason Rogers of Los Angeles on the saber team. Rogers lost to Momtselidze in the quarterfinals on Sunday.

Mattern beat his Olympic teammate, Soren Thompson of San Diego, in the quarterfinals. The third member of the U.S. epee team, Seth Kelsey of Colorado Springs, Colo., did not compete in the tournament.

Dan Kellner, from Warren, N.J., won the men's foil title on Friday. He'll be joined on the Olympic squad by Jed Dupree of Bethlehem, Pa., and Jon Tiomkin of Hewlett, N.Y.

Qualifiers for the U.S. women were determined at the end of March. Erinn Smart will be the lone American woman in foil. Sisters Sada and Emily Jacobson of Dunwoody, Ga., will compete in saber, while Kamara James of New York will compete in epee.


Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press

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