Jan. 19, 2007
COLUMBUS, Ohio - The collegiate regular season kicks off this weekend for the Ohio State fencing team at the Notre Dame Duals in South Bend, Ind. The event will feature some of the most prominent fencing squads in the nation, including Stanford, Notre Dame, Wayne State, Detroit Mercy, Cleveland State, UC San Diego, Cal State Fullerton and Lawrence.
Last year at this event, both Buckeye teams fashioned perfect 8-0 records en route to an overall championship. The Buckeyes will send a total of 21 fencers to the competition, including Andras Horanyi, Mikhail Momtselidze and junior Siobhan Byrne, who recorded a sterling 17-1 record last season at the Notre Dame Duals. Ohio State also returns junior Eileen Grench, who went 15-3 at Notre Dame and Syvenna Siebert, who finished with a 13-5 mark.
The Notre Dame Duals fall in the middle of a crucial three-week swing for the Buckeyes. Beginning last weekend at the NAC in Columbus and continuing this weekend in South Bend, Ohio State will finish the grueling stretch next weekend at the New York University Duals.
A LOOK AT THE COMPETITION
Ohio State will face strong competition this weekend, including several national powerhouses. A veteran Notre Dame fencing squad, comprised of 11 seniors, presents a strong challenge. The Fighting Irish won the national title in 2005 and placed fourth at last year's championship. They come off a solid performance at the North American Cup (NAC) last weekend in Columbus when senior Patrick Ghattas finished third in the men's sabre.
The Wayne State fencing squad competed at the Michigan Open Dec. 3. Freshman Slava Zingerman took home first place, while teammate Steve Znoy placed eighth. Zingerman also competed at the NAC in Richmond, Va., finishing third in the men's epee.
The Cleveland State team is off to its best start in three decades after a home meet when the Vikings posted perfect records over Bowling Green, Case Western Reserve and Oberlin. Junior foilist Leigh Pendergrass has been perfect this season, posting a 16-0 record over foes.
Stanford begins competition this weekend at the Notre Dame Duals. Last season the Cardinal finished seventh overall in the nation.
The UC San Diego squad has had success early this season, sweeping Cal Tech, Cal State Fullerton and UC Irvine at a home meet in November. Led by senior sabre specialist Jeremiah Runyan, the Tritons look to perform well this weekend.
Paced by sophomore Craig Budzynski, Detroit Mercy excelled at the Michigan Open. Budzynski also competed at the NAC last weekend in Columbus, placing 20th in the senior men's foil.
Although they may be one of the smaller schools in the competition, the Lawrence fencing squad has repeatedly risen to meet its competition. The Northwestern Duals in November saw the women's team finish with a 7-4 overall mark.
Cal State Fullerton returns from a 2005-06 campaign in which it finished 12-2 in conference action. Senior George Chang and freshman Jake Jennings lead a formidable men's epee team, each posting an 8-1 record against Cal Tech and UC Irvine.
RECAPPING THE ACTION AT THE NORTH AMERICAN CUP
A total of 13 Buckeyes placed in the Top 20 at the North American Cup last weekend, one of the nation's elite fencing tournaments with nearly 3,000 participants, which wrapped after four days of competition at the Columbus Convention Center. Among the standouts for the Scarlet and Gray was Alexandra Obrazcova who tied for third in the women's epee, her best finish in an NAC event. Mike Momtselidze also recorded a career-high finish with a second overall finish in the men's sabre. Sophomore Andras Horanyi also placed in the Top 10, coming in ninth in the foil.
Ohio State volunteer assistant coach Hanna Thompson won her second-consecutive NAC competition in the women's foil. Three other former OSU All-Americans and current volunteer assistant coaches also had Top 5 finishes, including three-time NCAA champion Boaz Ellis (2004-06), who tied for third in men's foil, three-time All-American Denis Tolkachev (2004-06), who placed fifth in men's epee and three-time NCAA champion Adam Crompton (2003-06), who placed fifth in men's sabre.
BOTH TEAMS UNBEATEN LAST SEASON AT NOTRE DAME
At last season's Notre Dame Duals, Ohio State's No. 1-ranked men's fencing team and No. 4-ranked women's squad were perfect, each scoring an unblemished 8-0 record. Siobhan Byrne went 17-1 in the women's sabre, while teammate Eileen Grench recorded a 13-5 mark in the sabre. On the men's side, Adam Crompton, Jason Rogers and Mikhail Momtselidze went undefeated, paving the way to victory for the Buckeyes.
RECAP OF THE 2006 SEASON
The 2005-06 campaign was yet another stellar year for Ohio State fencing. The men's team went 22-0 in regular season competition while the women's squad recorded a 19-3 mark, bringing the combined team mark to a remarkable 41-3. At the Midwest Conference Championships, Ohio State swept the competition, capturing both men's and women's titles and defeating second place Notre Dame by 65 points. Seniors Boaz Ellis and Adam Crompton capped their collegiate careers with individual national titles at the NCAA Championships, steering Ohio State to an overall third place finish. Ellis and Crompton, along with Andras Horanyi, Denis Tolkachev, Jason Rogers and Kaela Brendler, took first-team All American honors.
LOOKING AHEAD TO THE REST OF THE SEASON
Following the Notre Dame Duals this weekend, the Scarlet and Gray will travel to the New York University Duals. The women fought hard in the face of tough competition, defeating NYU and No. 8 Yale before falling to No. 6 St. John's, No. 3 Columbia and No. 1 Notre Dame. This year the Buckeyes will return in hopes of using this competition as a way to build momentum into the latter part of the season.
Following the NYU Duals, the Buckeyes return home for a week before hosting the Ohio State Duals Feb. 10. Also on the docket are the Northwestern Duals, held on the 24th of February. After that, Ohio State will head to the Midwest Conference Championships, where the Buckeyes aim to lock up their fourth-consecutive title. From there, the Buckeyes will finish off the collegiate season at the NCAA Championships in search of a national championship.
Buckeyes Set for Zone Championships