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Buckeyes look to capture sixth-consecutive conference crown
COLUMBUS, Ohio The second-ranked Ohio State fencing team will travel to Notre Dame, Ind., for the Midwest Conference Championships this weekend. Saturday will be devoted to the individual competition while Sunday will see the team competition.
The Buckeyes enter competition this weekend with a combined 33-2 team record against varsity opponents and will look to capture their sixth-consecutive Midwest Conference crown.
Last season, Ohio State earned 1320 points to defeat second-place Notre Dame, which earned 1245 points, in both men’s and women’s competitions to win the title. The Buckeyes were led by Andras Horanyi, who was the men’s foil champion, and Siobhan Byrne, who captured the women’s sabre title.
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 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 team national titles.
Eight members of the Ohio State fencing team traveled to Charlotte, N.C., for action at the Junior Olympics this past weekend. The competition, which ran from Feb. 16-17, is eligible to any member of the team under 20 years of age.
Freshman Ben Parkins led the Scarlet and Gray with 12th place finish in men’s foil, while teammate Joe Doherty finished 30th and Joe Streb came in 56th. Bishara Korkor, Zachary McRae and Avinash Somir competed in men’s epee, with Korkor coming in 65th, McRae 146th and Somir at 162nd.
On the women’s side, freshman Sarah Smith was 15th in foil and Mary Pozydaev finished 34th in sabre.
OHIO STATE VS NOTRE DAME
The Midwest Conference championships will once again renew the rivalry between the Buckeyes and the Fighting Irish. The two perennial powers have combined to win two of the last four national championships, with Ohio State topping third-place Notre Dame by 41 points in 2004 and Notre Dame edging the Buckeyes by two points in 2005. Neither team has finished outside of the Top 5 at the national championships since 2002.
This season at the NYU Duals, the two squads were the class of the competition, with Ohio State going 10-0 and Notre Dame posting a combined record of 9-3. The Scarlet and Gray men got the best of the Irish, edging them 14-13, while the Buckeye women knocked off Notre Dame, 15-12.
It was a different story one week later at the Northwestern Duals, as the No. 1-ranked Notre Dame women topped the No. 2-ranked Buckeyes, 17-10. Ohio State still came out ahead on the men’s side, battling to another 14-13 victory.
The Fighting Irish are led on the women’s side by junior foil specialist Adrienne Nott, a two-time All-American, and the 2007 NCAA runner-up in women’s epee, Kelly Hurley. Integral to Notre Dame’s success on the men’s side are returning All-Americans Greg Howard, Jakub Jedrkowiak and Bill Thanhouser.
In the final regular season competition, the second-ranked Ohio State fencing team put forth a winning effort Feb. 2-3 at the Northwestern Duals in Evanston, Ill.
On the first day of competition, the Buckeyes met up with national powerhouses Notre Dame and Penn State, who have claimed two of the last three national championships. The Buckeye women topped the No. 4 ranked Penn State, 18-9, while the Ohio State men fell to the Nittany Lions, 16-11.
In a rematch of the NYU Duals, the Ohio State men were triumphant in their contest with Notre Dame, dropping them in a hard-fought battle, 14-13. The Buckeye women were unable to duplicate their previous success against the Fighting Irish, losing 17-10.
In other notable matchups, the women’s squad defeated No. 6-ranked Northwestern, 18-9, and also the No. 9-ranked Temple women, 21-6. The Buckeye men knocked off the 10th-ranked Stanford squad, 20-7.
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.
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 http://www.ncaasports.com/.
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 third 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 16th and 23rd, respectively, in the senior men’s foil. Fellow freshman Falencia Miller is 17th in the senior women’s sabre while sophomore Lindsay Knauer is 32nd in women’s foil. Sean Harder and Sarah Smith round out the Buckeyes in the senior rankings with a 35th place spot in men’s epee by Harder and a 48th place rank by Smith.
For the fifth-consecutive season the Ohio State fencing team finished in the Top 5 at the national championships last 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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