Eight Buckeyes earn All-American honors in third title in school history
COLUMBUS, Ohio This past weekend, the Ohio State fencing team claimed the third team championship in program history by accumulating 185 wins over the course of the four day competition and topped second-place Notre Dame by nine points. The Buckeyes also claimed three silver medals in individual competition and added a gold medal in men’s foil from Andras Horanyi.
The championship was preceded by the Midwest Conference Championships Feb. 23-24 and then a week later the Midwest Regional Qualifier. At the conference championships, the Buckeyes claimed their sixth-consecutive title and took individual gold in five of the six weapon groups.
Preparation for the national championships came next, as Ohio State took to the strip at the Midwest Regional Qualifer. For the first time since their championship in 2004, the Buckeyes qualified the maximum 12 athletes, and once more looked poised to make a run at the title.
RELIVE THE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP
Check out coverage of the 2008 NCAA National Championships at the Columbus Dispatch (www.dispatch.com), www.thepalestra.com and Buckeye Sports Bulletin. Also check out www.OhioStateBuckeyes.com for daily updates and photo galleries from the championships.
In addition, tune into CBS at 1 p.m. ET Saturday, May 3 for a special program that will highlight 12 NCAA winter championships.
THE ROAD TO THE CHAMPIONSHIP
The only team that stood in the way of an NCAA title was Notre Dame, who had finished a close second to Ohio State at the Midwest Conference Championships and had also qualified 12 of their own.
On the opening day of competition, Ohio State jumped out to an early two point lead over the Fighting Irish behind the efforts of freshman Oksana Dmytruk and senior Siobhan Byrne, who each won 13 bouts on the day. On the second and final day of women’s competition, Aleksandra Obrazcova caught fire, winning all nine duals on the day and entered the medal round as the top overall seed in epee.
In the medal rounds, Obrazcova fell to eventual national champion Kelley Hurley of Notre Dame in the semifinal match, but Dmytruk and Byrne each advanced to the gold medal match. Despite an early lead, Byrne fell to Sarah Borrmann of Notre Dame, 15-11, in her final bout as a Buckeye. Dmytruk, who was in her debut at the NCAA Championships, could not hold off Monika Golebiewski of St. John’s, who took the foil gold medal by beating Dmytruk, 15-7.
With Ohio State now holding a 101-98 advantage over the Fighting Irish, the men’s competition began. Mikhail Momtselidze recorded 13 day-one wins in sabre, while Andras Horanyi added 12 wins in foil. The lead was down to two points entering the final day of competition, but Ohio State would not be denied its their home turf.
After drawing even with Notre Dame, Jason Pryor and Sean Harder won crucial bouts in epee, while Sergey Smirnov rebounded from a sub-par first day to record six wins on day two. Freshman Ben Parkins complemented Horanyi perfectly in foil, posting 13 wins on the weekend and finishing ninth overall.
With the team championship now won by the Scarlet and Gray, it was on to the gold medal bouts in St. John Arena, where Momtselidze would advance in sabre and Horanyi would compete in foil. Momtselidze took the strip first against Jeff Spear of Columbia, the only competitor to best him in rounds 1-7. Spear quickly gained the upper hand and was able to overpower Momtselidze, winning 15-10.
Horanyi was the last hope for the Buckeyes’ individual gold hopes, and he did not disappoint. In a rematch of the 2007 gold medal bout, Horanyi faced off with Ronald Berkowsky of Pennsylvania. Just as he did a year before, Horanyi toppled Berkowsky, beating him 14-7 to take the gold medal.
ALL-AMERICAN HONORS GO TO...
In all, eight Ohio State fencers earned All-American honors. Momtselidze, Horanyi, Byrne and Dmytruk all garnered first-team considerations, while Eileen Grench and Lindsay Knauer earned second-team honors. Pryor and Parkins each received honorable mention status. Next season, the Buckeyes will look to return to the top of the collegiate fencing world, as they return nine of the 12 fencers from the championship squad this year.
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