Jan. 20, 2005

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COLUMBUS, Ohio– The Ohio State fencing squad, the defending national champion, opens 2005 action Sunday at the New York Duals in New York, N.Y. The day’s events will commence at 7:30 a.m. with the Buckeyes taking on opponents from Columbia, New York, Notre Dame, Stanford, St. John’s and Yale.

Last season the Ohio State fencing team competed against New York, St. John’s, Stanford, Columbia and Yale Jan. 25 at the New York University Duals at the Coles Sports Center in New York, N.Y. The men’s squad, 15-1 overall, suffered their first loss to St. John’s, 15-12 and the women’s team, 15-0 overall, remained undefeated.

Fourteen Ohio State fencers are currently ranked in the nation according to the December 15 ranking report by U.S. Fencing. Six Buckeyes are ranked among the Top 12 in the senior division of their respective weapons. In Senior Men’s Sabre, Jason Rogers is ranked third and Adam Crompton is ranked seventh, while in Senior Women’s Sabre, Amelia Gaillard is ranked sixth and Eileen Grench is ranked ninth. In Senior Women’s Foil, Hanna Thompson is ranked fourth and Metta Thompson is ranked 11th.

Ohio State is also ranked in the junior division. Grench is ranked in the Junior Women’s Sabre Division, checking in at No. 7. In the Junior Women’s Epee rankings, Kaela Brendler is fourth. She is ranked 19th in the Senior Women’s Epee Division. In Men’s Sabre, Jason Paul is ranked 16th in the Junior Division and 25th in the Senior Division. In the Junior Men’s Epee Division, Christian Rivera is ranked 13th. Zachary Morell and George Blackburne are ranked 19th and 43rd, respectively, in the Junior Men’s Epee Division, while William Jeter is ranked 29th in Junior Men’s Foil. Syvenna Siebert is ranked 31st in Junior Women’s Sabre, while Leslie Lampman is ranked 50th in Junior Women’s Epee.

Several members of the Ohio State fencing squad competed at the Division I North American Cup in Richmond, Va., Jan. 13 as the Buckeyes fenced their final bouts of 2004. From Ohio State, four men and five women placed in the Top 20 of their respective weapons. The men’s saber trio of juniors Adam Crompton and Jason Rogers along with senior Colin Parker marked the most individual Ohio State fencers to place in one weapon. Crompton tied for third, Rogers finished sixth and Parker placed 17th.

The women’s saber duo of freshmen Eileen Grench and Siobhan Byrne both placed in the Top 10, as Grench tied for third and Byrne placed ninth. Senior foil fencers Metta and Hanna Thompson placed sixth and 12th, respectively.

In men’s foil, sophomore Boaz Ellis placed 10th, while in women’s epee sophomore Kaela Brendler earned a ninth place finish. In addition, former Buckeye fencer Louise Bond-Williams placed eighth in women’s saber.

The Buckeye squad is led by overall captains Boaz Ellis, Hanna Thompson and Metta Thompson and weapons captains Christian Rivera (men’s epee), Ellis (men’s foil), Jason Rogers (men’s sabre), Kaela Brendler (women’s epee), Hanna and Metta Thompson (women’s foil) and Marguerite Plekhanov (women’s sabre).

The fencing coaching staff is confident in one of their best freshman recruiting classes within the program. The 2004 freshman class brings 17 newcomers including 11 fencers from the men’s side and six from the women’s squad.

George Blackburne, a freshman from Plymouth, Ind., leads the men’s freshmen squad as he competed in the 2004 Summer World Cup Championships. He was a four-year starter for the Culver Military Academy from 199-2003 and was a two-year Most Valuable Player.

Leading the way for the women’s side are freshmen Siobhan Byrne, Amelia Gaillard and Eileen Grench. They all competed at the 2004 World Cup Championships and are expected to be an influential role in the Buckeyes quest for another national title. Byrne, hailing from Eislingen, Germany, helped lead the Eislingen team to the German title during both her junior and senior years. Gaillard, from Fayetteville, Ga., won the silver medal at the 2003 Division I National Championships and was a five-year member of the Junior National team (2000-04) with team golds in 2001 and 2004. Grench, a native of Davis, Calif., won the silver medal in sabre at the Junior Olympic Championships.

Boaz Ellis, the defending collegiate national champion in the foil, burst onto the college scene last season, claiming the Midwest Conference title and helped guide Ohio State to the national championship. Hanna Thompson owns an overall dual meet record of 134-7 the past three seasons and was ranked No. 4 in the nation in the Senior Foil Division by U.S. Fencing (June 11). Metta Thompson has an overall dual meet combined record of 154-12 in the past three seasons and was also ranked in the Senior Foil Division by U.S. Fencing at No. 14.

Jason Rogers was a member of the 2004 United States Olympic team in Athens, Greece and is a two-time First Team All-American. Christian Rivera is one of Ohio State’s top returning competitors in epee and will aim to advance to the national championships in 2005. Kaela Brendler finished seventh at the NCAA championships after placing second at the NCAA Regional Qualifier while Marquerite Plekhanov placed tenth at the 2004 NCAA Championships and tied for the second-most varsity victories on the women’s squad with 44 in 2004.

Also returning for the Buckeyes are standouts junior Adam Crompton and sophomore Denis Tolkachev. Crompton was Ohio State’s first national title winner since 1997 when he captured the 2003 NCAA men’s sabre title and is two-time NCAA sabre champion. Tolkachev was an integral part of Buckeyes’ national title run, placing fourth at the 2004 NCAA Championships and led the men’s squad in varsity victories with 57.

After back-to-back years finishing fourth in the country at the NCAA championships, the Buckeyes brought home the 2004 national title in March. It was the team’s first national championship. The team combined for 194 points at the national championships to out-score second-place Penn State by 34 points. Ohio State’s point total is the second-highest team total in the five years the NCAA has contested events in the six weapons.

The men finished the season 30-5 and the women’s squad went 26-2 overall. Together, the two squads combined for a 56-7 mark.

The Buckeyes are back in action Jan. 29-30 at the Notre Dame Duals in South Bend, Ind. Last season at the Notre Dame duals, the men went 8-1 in duals action falling to No. 1 Notre Dame, 15-12. The women picked up seven team wins and suffered just two losses to Notre Dame (14-13) and Northwestern (17-10).