Fencing: Ohio State Travels to North American Cup

Go Buckeyes!
Go Buckeyes!

Go Buckeyes!

COLUMBUS, Ohio The Ohio State fencing team will travel to Atlanta, Ga., for North American Cup competition this weekend at the Georgia World Congress Center.

The North American Cup (NAC) is the title of a series of national tournaments held throughout the country each year and serves as the point system used for determining spots on U.S. National teams. This NAC competition will mark Ohio State’s final non-NCAA competition before the collegiate regular season begins Jan. 26 at the New York University Duals.

Members of the team set to travel include Andras Horanyi, Ben Parkins, Joe Doherty and Colin Sutter of the men’s foil team, Sergey Smirnov and Dexter Wilde of the men’s sabre squad and men’s epee specialists Alexander Delaney and Sean Harder. On the women’s side, foilists Lindsay Knauer, Sarah Smith and Julia Tikhonova will compete, as will the sabre unit of Eileen Grench, Siobhan Byrne and Falencia Miller. Elyse Gurnowski will be the sole representative of the women’s epee squad.

The Buckeyes did not travel far for the North American Cup last season, going down High Street to the Columbus Convention Center for four days of competition. In total, 13 Buckeyes finished in the Top 20 of their event.

Best among the Scarlet and Gray was Mikhail Momtselidze, who placed second in men's sabre, marking his highest finish in NAC competition. Aleksandra Obrazcova tied for third in women's epee, also her best finish at the NAC. Sophomore Andras Horanyi also notched a Top 10 finish for the Buckeyes, placing ninth in men's foil.

Ohio State's two standout women's sabre fencers both had good competitions as Eileen Grench placed 13th and Siobhan Byrne took 14th.

Junior Mikhail Momtselidze will not be joining his teammates in Atlanta, Ga., because he will be competing abroad at the Senior World Cup in Istanbul, Turkey. Momtselidze will leave Columbus Thursday for the competition, which takes place from January 19-20. The event is one of many international events that American fencers will attend leading up to the Olympic Games in Beijing, China in August 2008.

In a meet that featured 10 of the Top 15 schools from the 2006-07 NCAA Championships, including defending national champion Penn State, the Ohio State fencing team captured four of six event titles en route to an impressive performance at the Garret Open in State College, Pa., Nov. 17-18.

Andras Horanyi, Mikhail Momtselidze, Lindsay Knauer and Siobhan Byrne each captured individual titles. The women’s sabre trio of Byrne, Eileen Grench and Falencia Miller was particularly exceptional, taking three of the Top 4 spots.

Knauer, who missed her freshman season due to injury, won women’s foil and in doing so finished above Adi Nott of Notre Dame, who was third at last season’s NCAA championship.

In men’s sabre, junior Mikhail Momtselidze took first place by defeating Daniel Bak of host Penn State. Teammate Sergey Smirnov captured a fifth-place finish while Dexter Wilde finished 13th.

Ohio State’s Aleksandra Obrazcova finished third in women’s epee, while fifth-year senior Kaela Brendler took seventh in only her second event since March 2006. The men’s side had three Top 10 finishers with Mykhaylo Mazur placing seventh, Jason Pryor ninth and Alexander Delaney 10th.

For the first time in team history, the Ohio State fencing team will host the NCAA Championships. The competition is scheduled for March 13-16 and will take place in both St. John Arena and the neighboring French Field House.

Just as in past seasons, the Buckeyes will again be a serious contender for the national title. Following a team national title in 2004, Ohio State finished second in 2005, third in 2006 and fifth in 2007. Returning foil champion Andras Horanyi leads an intimidating men’s team while fifth-year senior Kaela Brendler of the women’s epee squad will look to bookend her Ohio State career with national titles.

Eight members of the fencing team are currently listed in the national rankings according to USFencing.com. The highest spot belongs to junior Andras Horanyi, who comes in at fourth in the senior men’s foil. Senior Eileen Grench also earned a Top 10, ranking eighth in senior women’s sabre. The ranking comes on the heels of a silver-medal performance at the Pan American Games this past summer with Team USA.

Also in the rankings for Ohio State are freshmen Colin Sutter and Ben Parkins, who are 26th and 25th, respectively, in the senior men’s foil. Fellow freshman Falencia Miller is tied for 18th in the senior women’s sabre while sophomore Lindsay Knauer rose to 30th following an injury that had prohibited her from competing as a freshman. Sean Harder and Sarah Smith round out the Buckeyes in the senior rankings with a 48th place spot in men’s epee by Harder and a 51st place rank by Smith.

For the fifth-consecutive season the Ohio State fencing team finished in the Top 5 at the national championships in March. Also during that time the Buckeyes have won five Midwest Conference titles and in 2004 captured the program’s second national championship.

The rise to national prominence can be largely attributed to head coach Vladimir Nazlymov, who is now in his ninth year at Ohio State. Under Nazlymov, eight Buckeye fencers have captured individual national titles and the team has gone a combined 321-78.

### OhioStateBuckeyes.com ###