COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State fencing squad kicks off competition at the 2011 NCAA Championships Thursday morning at French Field House in Columbus, Ohio. The tournament runs through Sunday with bouts beginning at 10 a.m. Thursday. Results will be posted on OhioStateBuckeyes.com following the conclusion of the bouts each day.
The Buckeyes are one of only three programs to enter the maximum 12 participants in the event, alongside Notre Dame and Princeton. The last time Ohio State hosted the NCAA Championships in 2008, the Buckeyes went on to win their first team title since 2004.
SCHEDULE OF EVENTS
Men’s competition will lead the slate of events in the tournament, beginning with the first four rounds at 10 a.m. Thursday. The men will be back at it at 9:30 a.m. Friday. Rounds five through seven and the six semifinal bouts inside French Field House precede the championship bouts at 2 p.m. inside St. John Arena.
Women’s competition mirrors the men’s events, with rounds one through four held in French Field House at 10 a.m. Saturday. Rounds five through seven begin at 9:30 a.m. Sunday. The six semifinal bouts will take place after round seven. Competition then moves to St. John Arena for the three championship bouts.
THE OHIO STATE MEN
Four of the six qualifiers on the men’s side are first-year performers at the NCAA championships and three of the four are rookies on the Ohio State squad.
Marco Canevari and Igor Tolkachev make up the only veteran duo for Ohio State, with both competing in epee. Last year Canevari picked up nine victories on the way to a 19th-place finish while teammate Tolkachev scored second team All-America accolades following a sixth-place finish.
Freshmen Zain Shaito and Sam Hardwicke-Brown represent Ohio State in men’s foil, while Rhys Douglas and Michael Douville make up the men’s sabre tandem for the Buckeyes.
THE OHIO STATE WOMEN
Senior Oksana Dmytruk leads the Buckeye women in experience at the NCAA Championships. The veteran foilist has competed in the event each season of her college career, finishing no lower than seventh and finishing as high as second in 2008. She is joined in the foil category by Allison Henvick, who finished 10th in the NCAA tournament a year ago.
A pair of newcomers will compete for Ohio State in women’s epee. Katarzyna Dabrowa earned an automatic qualification with a first-place finish at the Midwest Regional, while classmate Caroline Piasecka earned an at-large bid following a fourth-place finish at the event.
Women’s sabre features a pair of NCAA tournament veterans. Alison Miller competed as a freshman last season, placing 16th at the tournament. Miller is joined by junior Margarita Tschomakova. Last season, Tschomakova took home bronze at the NCAA championships, earning first team All-America honors, following a ninth-place performance as a freshman.
First-year foilist Zain Shaito jumped into action from day one for the Buckeyes and hasn’t looked back. The Texas native led all men with 40 victories and claimed the most wins for the Scarlet and Gray at the St. John’s and Northwestern Duals with 12 and 13, respectively. Shaito won a phenomenal 83 percent of his bouts this year, dropping only eight. The freshman defeated Notre Dame’s Enzo Castellani, 15-11, to take gold in the individual competition of the MFC championships.
Shaito is joined by newcomer Sam Hardwicke-Brown in the foil category. Despite missing the OSU Duals, Hardwicke-Brown finished second in victories (23) to Shaito, capping off the regular season with an 11-win performance at the Northwestern Duals.
Tolkachev, the most veteran of the Ohio State epeeists, looks to return to All-America status this season after finishing on the second team last year. The junior turned in an impressive regular season, collecting 30 wins to lead the squad. His 10-0 record at Northwestern was best on the team. Tolkachev, along with Canevari and freshman Kristian Boyadzhiev, won the men’s epee title at the 2011 United States Collegiate Squad Championships, downing trios from Brown, Penn and Yale to claim the championship.
In a deep and talented lineup of epeeists, Canevari knows the right time to step up his performances. Last year, the Italian joined Tolkachev at the 2010 NCAA Championships following an automatic qualification performance at the Midwest Regional. The sophomore followed the same blueprint this year, finishing first at the event to secure his spot on the NCAA participant list. Canevari was solid for the Buckeyes in the regular season, earning a 25-14 (.641) record against varsity opponents. His 25 wins were good for second behind only Tolkachev.
Along with men’s foil, sabre will be represented by two first-year NCAA participants. Freshman Rhys Douglas responded from an arm injury early in the season to lead the Buckeyes with 34 victories while winning 70.8 percent of his bouts. His 12 wins at Northwestern were second in the men’s squad to foilist Zain Shaito (13). Douglas also claimed gold in individual competition at the MFC Championships, helping give the Buckeyes a sweep of gold in men’s categories at the event.
Michael Douville joins Douglas in the event following a fifth-place performance at the NCAA Midwest Regional. The stalwart of men’s sabre this season, Douville appeared in every match for the Buckeyes at the NYU, St. John’s and Northwestern Duals, picking up 27 victories in total.
Oksana Dmytruk has been a staple in Ohio State’s women’s foil unit the past four seasons. The Kiev, Ukraine, native has earned a 34-11 (.756) record this season, leading the group in victories. Dmytruk led all women fencers at the NYU Duals in January, posting 15 victories while dropping a mere three bouts.
Allison Henvick finished just two wins behind Dmytruk, with 32 this season. After posting a perfect 9-0 record against varsity competition at the OSU Duals, Henvick was instrumental in helping the women to a 5-1 record at the NYU Duals with 13 victories.
Katarzyna Dabrowa, a freshman for the Buckeyes, has been a force since joining the fencing program last fall. The Wroclaw, Poland, native went 5-0 against varsity opponents at the OSU Duals and led both men’s and women’s squads with 17 victories at the Northwestern Duals, finishing with a 45-11 (.804) record. Dabrowa has been equally impressive in individual competitions this year, taking gold at Penn State’s Garret Open Nov. 14 after tying for third at the North American Cup in Cincinnati, Ohio, in October.
Fellow freshman Caroline Piasecka was one of just three women to win 10 or more bouts in Ohio State’s last three team competitions (13 at NYU, 10 at St. John’s and 11 at Northwestern), while finishing with 34 wins. Piasecka also notched a third-place finish at the North American Cup in Dallas, Texas, in January.
Margarita Tschomakova, a First Team All-American a season ago, leads the women’s sabre squad into the NCAA Championships. The junior from Bonn, Germany, racked up 24 victories this season, second only to fellow qualifier Alison Miller (33). Tschomakova was one of four Buckeyes to earn gold in individual competitions at the 2011 Midwest Fencing Conference Championships.
Alison Miller, alongside Dabrowa and Piasecka, picked up at least 10 wins at the NYU, St. John’s and Northwestern Duals, recording a 33-12 (.733) ledger this season. The Chicago, Ill., native earned a silver finish at Penn State’s Garret Open, finishing behind Harvard’s Caroline Volka.
ABOUT THE NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS
The National Collegiate Men’s and Women’s Fencing Championships include individual events in each of the six weapons (men’s foil, men’s epee, men’s sabre, women’s foil, women’s epee, women’s sabre).
Fencers will compete in a round-robin format of five-touch bouts. After the round-robin, the top-four fencers fence semifinal 15-touch bouts, with the winners fencing to determine first and second places, and the losers being awarded a tie for third place. Absolute ties for the seeding will be broken as follows: for positions one through three, by a coin toss; for position four, by a fence-off.
An institution’s place finish in the championships will be based on points earned by each individual. A team will be awarded one point for each victory by its student-athletes for the duration of the championships.
BUCKEYES TUSSLE AT NYU AND ST. JOHN’S INVITATIONALS
The Buckeyes traveled to New York, N.Y., Jan. 22-23 to take part in the NYU and St. John’s invitationals. Ohio State wrapped up Jan. 22 with a combined 9-3 record at NYU. The fifth-ranked men finished 4-2 on the day while the 10th-ranked women posted a 5-1 mark.
The following day, the Buckeyes commuted across town to St. John’s where the squad tallied a 3-7 combined record. The men produced a 1-4 record, their sole win coming from a defeat of No. 8 Columbia. The women attained a 2-3 ledger, knocking off both No. 6 Columbia and No. 3 Harvard.
BUCKEYE MEN’S EPEE CLAIMS FIRST AT COLLEGIATE SQUAD CHAMPIONSHIPS
Junior Igor Tolkachev, sophomore Marco Canevari, both NCAA tournament participants a season ago, and freshman Kristian Boyadzhiev formed the winning trio for the Buckeyes at the 2011 United States Collegiate Squad Championships hosted by New York University.
The squad took an early lead against Brown after a first-round bye and held on to take the bout with a 15-point advantage, 45-30. Boyadzhiev led the Ohio State trio with 18 touches in the bout.
In the third round, the Buckeyes faced off against the University of Pennsylvania. The teams raced to a 16-16 tie before the Scarlet and Gray pulled ahead on the strength of an 8-touch round from Tolkachev. Despite a strong effort by Penn, Ohio State held off the Quaker comeback to earn the victory, 45-41, to earn a berth in the final bout against Yale.
In a matchup of the top-seeded Buckeyes and the second-seeded Bulldogs, Ohio State fenced to a 34-27 lead behind Canevari’s 17-touch effort before Tolkachev and Boyadzhiev combined to go 11-5 in the last two rounds to clinch the victory and the championship for the Buckeyes.
DABROWA AND CANEVARI TOP FINISHERS AT NCAA MIDWEST REGIONAL
Freshman epeeist Katarzyna Dabrowa and sophomore epeeist Marco Canevari highlighted the NCAA Midwest Regional with gold medal performances, earning automatic qualifications into the 2011 NCAA Championships.
Dabrowa, hailing from Wroclaw, Poland, used an 8-1 second round to advance to the final bout against Notre Dame’s Ewa Nelip, where the freshman Buckeye eked out a 5-4 victory to claim first. Canevari picked up five victories in the first round before advancing to second, where he posted a flawless 9-0 record with a +16 indicator to secure first by a three-victory lead over second place finisher, James Kaull of Notre Dame.
DABROWA EARNS GOLD AT GARRET OPEN
Freshman Katarzyna Dabrowa highlighted the Ohio State fencing team’s trip to University Park, Pa., for the 39th Annual Garret Open Nov. 13-14, earning gold in women’s epee a month after tying for third at the Cincinnati, Ohio, North American Cup event. Ohio State faced NCAA Tournament-caliber competition at the event, including fencers from Harvard, Northwestern, Princeton, Notre Dame and defending national champion and host Penn State.
The Buckeye women finished with a trio of medalists, including Dabrowa. Sophomore Alison Miller fell one spot short of earning a top-place finish of her own in women’s sabre as she took second to Harvard’s Caroline Volka and senior Oksana Dmytruk placed third in women’s foil behind a pair of Ivy League opponents from Harvard and Princeton.
BUCKEYES DOMINATE OSU DUALS
The Ohio State fencing team remained flawless through the second day of competition at the annual OSU Duals Nov. 6-7. The Buckeyes finished with a combined 6-0 record during day one and 20-0 tally the following day to push the team’s undefeated streak at the event to eight consecutive years.
Sophomore Nicholas Kotz tallied a 30-0 mark in men’s sabre while classmate Trevor Pedersen matched the mark in men’s epee.
On the women’s side, a pair of foil fencers finished with a perfect ledger Sunday. Juniors Allison Henvick and Isabella Bonello both compiled 30-0 records, leading the women’s foil team to a combined 86-4 score against opponents.
The women also highlighted the competition with two 27-0 victories, one in round six against Iowa and another in round nine against Xavier.