COLUMBUS, Ohio With a cast of familiar names and several new ones, the defending national champion Ohio State fencing team will make a return visit to the NCAA Championships aiming to once again be the nation’s best. The Buckeyes will have to wait until Tuesday for the official announcement, but all signs point toward Ohio State qualifying 12 for the championships, which will be held March 22-25 in State College, Pa.

Seniors Mike Momtselidze, Andras Horanyi and Jason Pryor were each spectacular in their final run at the Midwest Regional Qualifier. Momtselidze took his second-career first place finish in men’s sabre at the Midwest Qualifier, while Horanyi locked up his fourth appearance at the NCAA Championships with his first place finish in men’s foil. Pryor had his best day ever at the Midwest Regional, earning a second place finish in men’s epee.

Other Buckeyes of note included freshman Max Stearns, who was third in men’s sabre, and Dexter Wilde, who took fourth in men’s sabre. Colin Sutter was runner-up to Horanyi in men’s foil and 2008 Championship participant Ben Parkins took sixth in foil. Newcomer Igor Tolkachev took fourth in men’s epee while Sean Harder finished seventh in the event.

Each team can qualify up to 12 athletes at the Regional Qualifier, with two men and two women each per weapon. Top 5 finishers will receive auto-bids in sabre and epee and Top 4 finishers in foil will receive auto-bids. In addition to the automatic bids, several at-large bids will also be available. At-large selection to the NCAA finals is based on pre-regional “power ranking” (40 percent) and Regional placement (60 percent).

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