March 20, 2007
COLUMBUS, Ohio - The Ohio State fencing team will send 11 of its own in search of a national championship beginning Thursday at the 2007 NCAA National Championships, hosted by Drew University in Madison, N.J. The event, which will take place at the William E. and Carol G. Simon Forum and Athletic Center, will showcase the men's competition on Thursday and Friday and the women's competition Saturday and Sunday.
The second-ranked men's team will send six fencers, the most allowable by NCAA rule, while five members of the fifth-ranked women's team will compete. Each school can send a maximum of 12 fencers, a feat accomplished this season by only Penn State, Columbia and St. John's. Both Notre Dame and Ohio State qualified 11 while defending national champion Harvard qualified nine.
ABOUT THE CHAMPIONSHIPS
A total of 24 fencers in each of the six disciplines (men's and women's sabre, foil and epee) will compete, with each fencer going up against all other competitors in the field for a total of 23 five-touch bouts. After the round-robin, the top four fencers in each discipline based on their record in those 23 bouts will then be placed in a championship bracket for 15-touch bouts to determine the individual Top 4 place finishes. The accumulation of points (one point for each individual victory) from both the men and women will determine the team finishes.
BUCKEYES AT THE CHAMPIONSHIPSOhio State won the 2004 national title with the maximum 12 fencers and has placed in the Top 4 five consecutive years. The Buckeyes placed fourth in 2002 and 2003 and fell to national champion Notre Dame by two points in 2005. Last season, OSU ended the four-day competition in third place including two individual national championships by then-seniors Boaz Ellis and Adam Crompton. THE BUCKEYE ELEVEN
Leading the Buckeye women is the sabre duo of Siobhan Byrne and Eileen Grench, both juniors, who have a combined 94-13 regular season record on the year. Both Byrne and Grench competed last season, where Byrne finished seventh and Grench placed 11th.
Sophomore Andras Horanyi returns from last season's championship to lead the OSU men. Horanyi, the national runner-up in foil last season, compiled a 45-3 regular season mark and won the foil crown at the Midwest Regional Qualifier. Also instrumental to the Buckeyes success has been sophomore Mike Momtselidze, who captured the sabre title at the qualifier and amassed a 31-4 regular season mark.
In men's epee, junior Jason Pryor returns to the national championship where last season he placed 17th. He holds a 31-11 record this season and helped lead the men's epee squad to upset victories over Wayne State and Notre Dame at the Midwest Conference Championship. Joining Pryor is freshman standout Mykhaylo Mazur who finished second at the qualifier.
The women's epee squad will be represented by juniors Leslie Lampman and Alexandra Obrazcova. Lampman had a 33-20 regular season record and placed second at the qualifier, while Obrazcova recorded a 44-9 mark and finished fifth at the qualifier. Joining them will be women's foil specialist Julia Tikhonova, who compiled a 44-10 regular season mark en route to a fourth place finish at the qualifier.
Joining Horanyi in the men's foil is junior teammate William Jeter, who finished 14th in the nation during his freshman season in 2005. This year Jeter posted a 33-11 record and took third place at the qualifier. Also competing in the men's sabre is freshman newcomer Sergey Smirnov who enjoyed an excellent debut year. Smirnov posted a 39-9 record, placed second at the Midwest Conference championships and finished fourth at the qualifier.
MIDWEST CONFERENCE CHAMPIONS
Ohio State won four of six team competitions at the Midwest Conference Championships March 3-4 in South Bend, Ind., to take home the Buckeyes' fifth-consecutive conference title. The second-ranked OSU men's squad won all three team competitions, sweeping foil, epee and sabre for a total of 675 points. The fifth-ranked women's squad scored 645 points and won the sabre competition, while finishing second in both foil and epee.
OSU was also successful in the individual competition, winning two individual titles and placing 18 athletes in the Top 8. Both men's and women's sabre titles belonged to the Buckeyes, with sophomore Mike Momtselidze and junior Siobhan Byrne each placing first.
NATIONALLY RANKED BUCKEYES
The latest United States Fencing Association poll contained eight current Buckeyes. Sophomore Andras Horanyi is the top-ranked foil fencer in the senior division, rising one spot from No. 2. Lindsey Knauer, who is currently injured, ranked No. 7 in senior women's foil while junior Eileen Grench rounded out the Top 10, ranking tenth in senior women's sabre.
Other notable rankings were turned in by senior Christian Rivera who ranked 14th in senior men's epee and sophomore Mike Momtselidze who checked in at No. 11 in senior men's sabre.
Several former Buckeyes are also nationally ranked, including current volunteer assistant coaches Adam Crompton, who is ranked seventh in the senior men's sabre, and Hanna Thompson who is ranked second in the senior women's foil. Jason Rogers jumped two spots in the poll to third in the senior men's sabre.
RECAP OF THE REGULAR SEASON
Ohio State competed in three regular-season competitions, including the Notre Dame Duals Jan. 20-21, the New York University Duals Jan. 28 and the Ohio State Duals Feb. 10. In New York, the OSU men went 5-0 and the women's squad went 4-1. The OSU men and women combined to go 16-1 records and placed first at the Notre Dame Duals. The Buckeyes then swept all nine of their opponents on both the men's and women's side during the Ohio State Duals.
Buckeyes Set for Zone Championships