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Dec. 4, 2002

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Columbus, Ohio-Members of the Ohio State fencing team will prepare for the upcoming season this weekend when they take part in US Fencing’s first senior-level North American Cup of the season. The event will be hosted by the Columbus Convention Center in Columbus, Ohio.

THE COMPETITION
More than 700 of the nation’s best fencers are expected to compete this weekend in Columbus. Several foreign competitors are expected from such nations as Canada, Poland, Hungary, Russia, and Bulgaria.

This is the first of three North American Cup Division I or elite senior competitions held around the country this season. Athletes will compete at these three events for spots on the U.S. team to the World Championships in Havana, Cuba in October 2003.

A Veteran North American Cup will also take place, pitting the country’s best 40 and older athletes against each other to try and earn a trip to the 2003 World Veteran Championships. Admission to the competition is free.

WEEKEND SCHEDULE OF EVENTS
Friday, Dec. 6
Men’s Epee (Veteran), Men’s Foil (Division I), Women’s Epee (Veteran), Women’s Sabre (Division I)

Saturday, Dec. 7
Men’s Epee (Division I), Men’s Sabre (Veteran), Women’s Foil (Division I), Women’s Sabre (Veteran)

Sunday, Dec. 8
Men’s Foil (Veteran), Men’s Sabre (Division I), Women’s Epee (Division I), Women’s Foil (Veteran)

BUCKEYES NATIONALLY RANKED
Sophomore Jason Rogers and freshman Adam Crompton are among the Top 10 nationally in the latest men’s sabre junior national rankings released by US Fencing. Rogers is No. 2 while Crompton comes in at No. 10.

Twin sisters Hanna and Metta Thompson are No. 3 and No. 5, respectively, in the junior women’s foil rankings.

A PEEK AT THE UPCOMING SEASON
Head coach Vladimir Nazlymov and the Ohio State fencing team took another giant step towards its ultimate goal of winning a national championship in 2002. The same will be expected again this season as six of Nazlymov’s top ten finishers at NCAA’s were freshmen and sophomores.

The Buckeyes, 30-6 overall, capped off the season with a fourth place finish at the NCAA championships. The Buckeyes finished only behind fencing powers Penn State, St. John’s and Notre Dame at the competition.

Nazlymov orchestrated a remarkable turnaround for his women’s squad last season. The women finished 18-3 with a No. 4 national ranking in 2002, much improving upon its 7-24 mark in 2001. The men also finished with a No. 4 ranking to compliment its 12-3 regular season mark.

Nazlymov liked what he saw from his team last season and expects more of the same this year.

“Last year we made good improvement and we must continue to do the same this year,” Nazlymov said. “You can qualify a maximum of 12 for NCAA’s and we only qualified ten last year. If we qualify 12 we should be able to make Top 3 or better this year. We have a big gap between (third and fourth place-46 points). It is going to be hard, but we are capable of accomplishing that if we work hard enough.”

Nobody had better years for the Buckeyes than sophomores and first team All-Americans, Jason Rogers and Louise Bond-Williams. As freshmen last season, the two proved confident and executed like veterans. Bond-Williams, 42-0 during the regular season, captured the silver medal in women’s sabre at the NCAA championships and first place at the Midwest Regional Qualifier. Rogers, 32-0 in the regular season, won the bronze medal match in men’s sabre at the NCAA championships and placed first at the regional qualifier.

Juniors Colin Parker and Alexandra Shklar once again recorded strong seasons for the Buckeyes in 2002. Parker finished his sophomore campaign 27-5, placing third in sabre at the Midwest Regional Qualifier and eighth at the NCAA championships, earning second team All-American status. Shklar was her impressive-self all year, going 48-3 in the regular season with a first place finish in epee at the regional qualifier. Shklar came in eighth at the NCAA’s in epee to garner second team All-America honors.

Juniors Craig Galanter and Nathan Weir also are back to give strong stability in men’s foil. Galanter finished fifth an the Midwest Conference Championships in 2002 while Weir went 18-12 with a third place finish in foil at NCAA regionals and 15th at the championships. Galanter and Weir will be heavily counted upon this season for Nazlymov’s squad. Also figuring to be in the mix is senior Raymond Laning and freshmen Matt Carbone, Michael Ross and Alexander Law.

Also returning to add depth to men’s sabre is Kitz Siebert and incoming freshman Adam Crompton. Siebert tied for third at the Midwest Conference championships and placed seventh at the NCAA regional qualifier. Joshua Isaacs, Brian Leben and Zachary Parkins also will compete in men’s sabre.

In men’s epee, Brian Gross and Spencer Jones return after enjoying solid seasons in 2002. Gross, 23-8 during the regular season, finished third at the regional qualifier and 15th at NCAA’s. Jones, 22-5 during the regular season, finished fourth at regionals to compliment his Top 20 finish at the NCAA’s. Ricardo Jimenez, who placed eighth at the NCAA regionals, along with freshman Robert Piraino and Phillip Meidell also will be in the mix.

After Bond-Williams, four others look to contribute in women’s sabre. Those members include sophomores Jennifer Ando and Linda Hoa-Mi Nguyen and freshman Michelle Lange and Plekhanov Margueite. Freshman Talia Viggers will back up Shklar in women’s epee.

Twin sisters Hanna Thompson and Metta Thompson are big reasons the Buckeyes have high expectations for 2002-03. The Thompson’s are one of the best duos in the country in women’s foil and can compete with anyone in the world.

As freshman, the duo stole the show for the Buckeyes in women’s foil, posting identical records during the regular season, both going 48-5. They also both tied for third at the regional qualifier. At the NCAA’s, Hanna placed third to earn first team All-America honors, just ahead of Metta, a second team All-America selection who placed fifth.

Freshman Alexandra DiCerbo and junior Molly Krebs will add depth to the women’s foil spot.

THE COACHES
After three seasons at the helm of the program, Vladimir Nazlymov has the Buckeyes headed in the right direction.

Last season proved to be Nazlymov’s best yet. The Buckeyes, 30-6 overall in dual meet competition, garnered 10 NCAA qualifiers, six All-Americans and finished fourth at the NCAA championships, scoring 140 points which nearly doubled their scoring output from 2001.

Gia Abashidze enters his second season as assistant coach of the Ohio State fencing team. Originally from Georgia, he has coached fencing and lived in the U.S. for more than eight years.

Abashidze was a Russian national foil champion numerous times throughout his career. During his tenure in the U.S. he was responsible for creating many successful members of the U.S. National Team.

Terrence Lasker is in his first year as an assistant coach for the Buckeye fencing program after spending the last two years at the team armorer.

Lasker has a long standing relationship with Nazlymov. Lasker began fencing under Nazlymov when Nazlymov moved to the United States in 1991 in Kansas City, Mo.

He is a 10-time member of the U.S. National Team and is a five-time national champion. Lasker, a native of Kansas City, Mo., captured a bronze medal at the 1994 Cadet World Championships and was a volunteer assistant coach for the Buckeyes during the 1999-00 season. He also was a finalist at the 1999 Senior World Cup in Moscow.

NEW FACILITY
The Steelwood Athletic complex, now the home of Ohio State gymnastics, fencing and wrestling, offers a breath of fresh air for the fencing program.

The complex is complete with its own administrative offices, training room, locker rooms and three private gyms for gymnastics, fencing and wrestling.

The fencing gym one of the largest in the country with more than 7,000 square feet of space and 14 electric practice strips.