The fencing team, under the direction of 10th-year head coach Vladimir Nazlymov, had another great season in 2009, winning the Midwest Conference Championship for the seventh-consecutive season, sending 12 athletes to the NCAA Championships and finishing third overall at the national championships. Eight Buckeyes were named to the All-America squad while eight more medaled individually at the Midwest Conference Championships.
Ohio State kicked off the most competitive part of the collegiate season with two duals in New York City, one at the St. John’s Duals Jan. 24 and one the next day at the New York University Duals Jan. 25. The men’s team went 3-0 on the first day at the St. John’s Duals, picking up key wins over Harvard, Columbia and host St. John’s. The women’s team also beat St. John’s, but fell to Harvard and Columbia. Both teams went 5-1 the next day at the NYU Duals, with the women knocking off top-ranked Notre Dame and the men picking off Yale and Columbia.
The next road trip for the Buckeyes was to Evanston, Ill., for the Northwestern Duals Jan 31-Feb. 1. Both men’s and women’s teams were successful, with the men going 8-1 and the women finishing 9-2. The men dropped eventual national champion Penn State 16-11, but fell to Notre Dame in a close one, 15-12. The women lost to both Notre Dame and Penn State, but got big wins over host Northwestern and Temple.
The Midwest Conference Championships and the opportunity to win a seventh-consecutive team title awaited Ohio State next in South Bend, Ind. The men’s competition led off, where Ohio State took first place in foil and epee and grabbed second in sabre. The second session of the day saw the Buckeye women’s squad cement the victory by winning both foil and sabre competitions while grabbing third place in epee. The team title came just a day after the individual competition in which Buckeye fencers John Friend and Andras Horanyi won titles and Ohio State notched nine Top 3 finishes overall.
The Buckeyes played host for the Midwest Regional Qualifier March 7 where 12 Ohio State fencers qualified for the NCAA Championships. Mike Momtselidze, Andras Horanyi and Oksana Dmytruk were all winners of their weapon groups, while Jason Pryor finished second in men’s epee, Colin Sutter took second in men’s foil, Margarita Tschomakov was third in women’s sabre and Max Stearns was third in men’s sabre.
Ohio State looked to go back-to-back when they set off for the 2009 NCAA Championships in State College, Pa. The Buckeyes were close after the men’s competition wrapped on Day 2, trailing Penn State 98-93. Momtselidze and Pryor each went out on a high note in their final collegiate competitions as Buckeyes. Momtselidze took 19 wins in the qualifying rounds, tied for most in men’s sabre. Momtselidze carried the first place seed into the medal round, but was upended by fourth-seeded Daryl Homer of St. Johns in the opening round, 15-10. Pryor entered the epee medal round as the fourth-seed after 15 wins in the qualifying round. Pryor took top-seeded Graham Wicas of Princeton to the edge in the opening duel of the medal round, but fell in a tight one, 15-14.
The women’s team took to the strip for the final two days of competition knowing they would need its best to overcome the five-point deficit. Dmytruk won 22 duels over the two days, most of the foil group, and entered the medal round as the top seed. Dmytruk faced off with Notre Dame’s Hayley Reese in the opening round and fell by a narrow margin, 13-11. Lindsay Knauer, in her second career appearance at the NCAA Championships, took nine victories in the competition and finished in 18th place. In the end, Penn State came out first, with Notre Dame also putting together a solid run, leaving Ohio State in third. The third-place finish extended the Buckeyes’ streak of Top 5 finishes at the NCAA Championships to eight, dating back to 2002.
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