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by Emily Krizan, Ohio State Athletics Communications assistant

Sometimes chance is a funny thing.  And it was exactly chance that brought rising junior Bryan Basenback to knock on Jim Sweeney’s office door.

“Bryan found us,” Sweeney, Ohio State’s 11-year pistol coach, said. “I don’t exactly know where he even found out that we have a pistol team at Ohio State, but he just showed up at the door and introduced himself and asked if he could try out for the team.”

And try out he did. A former member of the Marine Corps, Basenback received no formal pistol training prior to the service. However, he immediately impressed Sweeney with his aptitude for the sport and earned a slot on the Buckeye roster in spring 2010.

“Bryan is in here every day practicing,” Sweeney said. “He seeks out the new techniques and wants to learn how to do things. He’s very sincere and he has been an excellent learner.”

“He’s well above the curve.  Normally it takes two years for a non-Olympic type shooter to shoot college scores and after only a few months he’s approaching those college scores.”

Basenback, a native of Galloway, Ohio, joined the Marine Corps in July 2003 after graduating high school.  Spending time in California, Japan, North Carolina, Ireland, Kuwait, Iraq and South Korea during his four-year tenure with the Marines, he brings both a strong work ethic and sense of teamwork to the Buckeye range.

“The biggest thing I got out of the Marines is work hard, play hard,” Basenback said. “You’ve got to work and put in the time, but you can have a lot of fun too. It is also about being a team player and making sure your whole team gets through.”

Always looking to improve both as an individual and a teammate, Basenback is expected to be in contention for a starting spot this fall. With two years of eligibility left, the time and talent are there for him to make a true impact as a Buckeye student-athlete.

“He’ll have to step up,” Sweeney said. “In fact, he could very well be a contributing part of this year’s team. He doesn’t get two years of free time like freshmen might. He has to produce his first year.”

The ability is certainly there. However, it is his attitude that his teammates and coaches notice the most. Having never fired a shot for the Buckeyes, Basenback still received several votes for captain at the team’s annual spring banquet.

“People had only known him for several weeks, but they sensed that quality in him,” Sweeney said. “I think he is a natural born leader in a quiet way.”

Remembering the Semper Fidelis motto of the Marine Corps, Basenback attempts to carry the “always faithful” philosophy to all aspects of his life and those who know him are eager to see what he can achieve.

“He brings that gung-ho quality of the Marine Corps with him in his daily life, in his dedication to his studies and to his new career here as an OSU shooter,” Sweeney said. “He has learned the lesson of dedication well and is applying it to his life which is very gratifying to me. He’s not only very dedicated and sincere, he’s very talented.”

“It was a lucky chance for both of us that he showed up at my door.”