Showdown with defending national champion Penn State highlights competition
COLUMBUS, Ohio The second-ranked Ohio State fencing team will travel to Evanston, Ill., for the Northwestern Duals this weekend. The first day of competition will take place Saturday, while the event wraps Sunday.
14 teams will compete in Evanston, making it one of the largest collegiate competitions of the year. Among the teams are Notre Dame, Stanford, North Carolina, John Hopkins, Detroit Mercy, Duke, Cal State-Fullerton, Lawrence, Temple, UC-San Diego, Wayne State and host Northwestern.
Defending national champion Penn State will also be in attendance, marking the first time this season Ohio State will meet the Nittany Lions in collegiate competition. Penn State is the only Top 4 team yet to face the Buckeyes, who have defeated all other Top 4 teams.
Last season, host Penn State defeated the Scarlet and Gray at the Penn State Open, topping the women, 19-8, and dropping the Buckeye men, 15-12.
TAKING A BITE OF THE BIG APPLE
In its first competition of the season against varsity opponents, the second-ranked Ohio State fencing team went undefeated at 10-0 with wins over seven Top 10 teams at the New York University Duals in New York, N.Y. Both the OSU men’s and women’s squad were a perfect at 5-0 on the day.
The Ohio State women knocked off the nation’s No. 1-ranked women’s squad with a 15-12 win over Notre Dame. Other wins for the OSU women’s included a 20-3 win over No. 3 Columbia, an 18-6 win over No. 6 Northwestern, a 20-3 win over No. 7 St. John’s and a 25-2 win over host NYU.
The Ohio State men did not fence No. 1 Penn State, but notched wins over No. 3 Notre Dame (14-13), No. 4 St. John’s (18-4), No. 5 Columbia (19-8), Yale (19-8) and NYU (19-8).
Individually, the men’s foil combo of Andras Horanyi and Ben Parkins led went a combined 27-1, while top sabreist Mike Momtselidze posted a 13-2 record.
Sabre specialists Eileen Grench and Siobhan Byrne led the women’s side, with Grench battling to a 17-1 mark and Byrne going 15-2. Kaela Brendler was also impressive, posting a 12-1 record on the day.
TEARING UP ATLANTA
For the second consecutive North American Cup, junior Andras Horanyi claimed the gold medal in Atlanta and added to his already robust collegiate accomplishments. Already a foil national champion in the college ranks and a Pan-Am Games gold medalist, Horanyi will look to become only the third Olympian fencer in Ohio State history.
The Ohio State sabre specialists were at their best in Atlanta, with senior Siobhan Byrne battling to a sixth place finish while fellow senior Eileen Grench came in 10th. Sophomore Sergey Smirnov finished fifth in senior men’s sabre, his best ever finish at the NAC.
Freshman foilists Colin Sutter and Ben Parkins each stood out, placing 11th and 13th, respectively, while sophomore Sean Harder claimed a 24th place finish in the senior men’s epee.
On the junior circuit, sophomore Lindsay Knauer finished fifth in women’s foil while Georgia native freshman Falencia Miller placed 15th in women’s sabre. Sophomore Dexter Wilde pulled in a Top 12 finish in the men’s sabre, while newcomer Bishara Korkor placed seventh in men’s epee.
After losing only two letterwinners from one year ago, the Ohio State men and women are each ranked second in the inaugural 2008 USFCA coaches poll. Defending national champion Penn State occupies the top spot on the men’s side while Notre Dame is the top-ranked women’s team.
Last season, the Scarlet and Gray opened at No. 2 on the men’s side and No. 6 on the women’s side in the preseason poll.
For more information on the USFCA coaches poll, visit www.ncaasports.com.
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.
SCARLET AND GRAY TO HOST NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS
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.
NATIONALLY RANKED BUCKEYES
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.
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