Ohio State aims to qualify maximum 12 fencers for upcoming national championships

COLUMBUS, Ohio Following their sixth-consecutive Midwest Conference championship, the second-ranked Ohio State fencing team will turn its focus to the national scene at the Midwest Regional Qualifier Saturday in Detroit, Mich. The one day competition will determine the fencers who will compete in the upcoming NCAA Championships in Columbus March 13-16.

Each team can qualify up to 12 athletes, with two from each weapon. Top 5 finishers will receivie 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).

Last season, the Buckeyes qualified 11 fencers at the Midwest Regional Qualifier in Notre Dame, Ind., en route to a fifth-place finish at the NCAA Championships. Siobhan Byrne claimed the women’s sabre title, Andras Horanyi won in men’s foil and Mikhail Momtselidze earned top honors in men’s sabre. Eileen Grench qualified in women’s sabre, Sergey Smirnov joined Momtselidze in sabre, Will Jeter qualified in foil and Julia Tikhonova was Top 5 in women’s foil.

Aleksandra Obrazcova and Leslie Lampman qualified in women’s epee, while Jason Pryor and Mykhaylo Mazur represented men’s epee.

For the sixth-consecutive season, Ohio State won the Midwest Conference title Sunday at the Joyce Center Fieldhouse on the campus of Notre Dame. The Buckeyes took five of six weapons, including both men’s and women’s sabre, men’s and women’s foil and men’s epee.

In total, the Scarlet and Gray earned 1,325 points, just 25 shy of a perfect 1,350. Second place Notre Dame earned 1,255 points, while third place Northwestern came in third with 1,075.

Mikhail Momtselidze, Siobhan Byrne, Andras Horanyi and Oksana Dmytruk all grabbed crowns in the individual competition on Saturday, while an additional eight fencers earned Top 5 finishes.

For the first time in team history, Ohio State will host the NCAA Championships. The competition is scheduled for March 13-16 and will take place in both St. John Arena and neighboring French Field House.

Just as in past seasons, the Buckeyes will again be a serious contender for the national title. Following a team national title in 2004, Ohio State finished second in 2005, third in 2006 and fifth in 2007. Returning foil champion Andras Horanyi leads an intimidating men’s team while fifth-year senior Kaela Brendler of the women’s epee squad will look to bookend her Ohio State career with team national titles.

In the final regular season competition, second-ranked Ohio State put forth a winning effort Feb. 2-3 at the Northwestern Duals in Evanston, Ill.

On the first day of competition, the Buckeyes met up with national powerhouses Notre Dame and Penn State, who have claimed two of the last three national championships. The Buckeye women topped the No. 4 ranked Penn State, 18-9, while the Ohio State men fell to the Nittany Lions, 16-11.

In a rematch of the NYU Duals, the Ohio State men were triumphant in their contest with Notre Dame, dropping them in a hard-fought battle, 14-13. The Buckeye women were unable to duplicate their previous success against the Fighting Irish, losing 17-10.

In other notable matchups, the women’s squad defeated No. 6-ranked Northwestern, 18-9, and also the No. 9-ranked Temple women, 21-6. The Buckeye men knocked off the 10th-ranked Stanford squad, 20-7.

In its first competition of the season against varsity opponents, second-ranked Ohio State went undefeated at 10-0 with wins over seven Top 10 teams at the New York University Duals in New York, N.Y Jan. 26. Both the OSU men’s and women’s squad were a perfect at 5-0 on the day.

The Ohio State women knocked off the nation’s No. 1-ranked women’s squad with a 15-12 win over Notre Dame. Other wins for the OSU women’s included a 20-3 win over No. 3 Columbia, an 18-6 win over No. 6 Northwestern, a 20-3 win over No. 7 St. John’s and a 25-2 win over host NYU.

The Ohio State men did not fence No. 1 Penn State, but notched wins over No. 3 Notre Dame (14-13), No. 4 St. John’s (18-4), No. 5 Columbia (19-8), Yale (19-8) and NYU (19-8).

Individually, the men’s foil combo of Andras Horanyi and Ben Parkins led went a combined 27-1, while top sabreist Mike Momtselidze posted a 13-2 record.

Sabre specialists Eileen Grench and Siobhan Byrne led the women’s side, with Grench battling to a 17-1 mark and Byrne going 15-2. Kaela Brendler was also impressive, posting a 12-1 record on the day.

After losing only two letterwinners from one year ago, the Ohio State men and women were each ranked second in the inaugural 2008 USFCA coaches poll. Defending national champion Penn State occupied the top spot on the men’s side while Notre Dame was the top-ranked women’s team.

Last season, the Scarlet and Gray opened at No. 2 on the men’s side and No. 6 on the women’s side in the preseason poll.

For more information on the USFCA coaches poll, visit

Eight members of the fencing team are currently listed in the national rankings according to The highest spot belongs to junior Andras Horanyi, who comes in at third in the senior men’s foil. Senior Eileen Grench also earned a Top 10, ranking eighth in senior women’s sabre. The ranking comes on the heels of a silver-medal performance at the Pan American Games this past summer with Team USA.

Also in the rankings for Ohio State are freshmen Colin Sutter and Ben Parkins, who are 16th and 23rd, respectively, in the senior men’s foil. Fellow freshman Falencia Miller is 17th in the senior women’s sabre while sophomore Lindsay Knauer is 32nd in women’s foil. Sean Harder and Sarah Smith round out the Buckeyes in the senior rankings with a 35th place spot in men’s epee by Harder and a 48th place rank by Smith.

For the fifth-consecutive season the Ohio State fencing team finished in the Top 5 at the national championships last March. Also during that time the Buckeyes have won five Midwest Conference titles and in 2004 captured the program’s second national championship.

The rise to national prominence can be largely attributed to head coach Vladimir Nazlymov, who is now in his ninth year at Ohio State. Under Nazlymov, eight Buckeye fencers have captured individual national titles and the team has gone a combined 321-78.

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