Seniors Gabriella Cecchini and Domenik Koch of the Ohio State fencing team have received Big Ten Sportsmanship Awards, the Big Ten Conference announced Wednesday. This is the second such honor for Cecchini.
Each year, members of varsity sports team on every campus are chosen as Sportsmanship Award honorees. All Sportsmanship Award winners have distinguished themselves through sportsmanship and ethical behavior. In addition, these honorees must be in good academic standing and must have demonstrated good citizenship outside of the sports-competition setting.
Cecchini was a three-time All-American, with two second team accolades, and had two Top 10 finishes at the NCAA Championships. She was a three-time NCAA qualifier, posting Top 5 finishes at NCAA Regionals each time she competed. Cecchini finished eighth at the 2018 NCAA Championships and ninth the following year; in 2020, she earned a return trip but was unable to compete when the championships were canceled. The team’s foil captain, she earned First Team All-Midwest Conference honors twice after finishing as runner-up in both 2019 and ’20. She was a member of three MFC team overall championships along with a women’s team title in 2020 when overall team champions were not recognized.
Cecchini, a CoSIDA First Team Academic All-District selection, was a finalist for the Big Ten Medal of Honor, given to the top senior male and female student-athletes on each Big Ten campus. She graduated with a double major in economics and political science and a minor in world literatures in Spring 2020. She earned Big Ten Distinguished Scholar, Academic All-Big Ten and Ohio State Scholar-Athlete accolades. In addition, Cecchini received the Big Ten Sportsmanship Award for the Buckeye fencing program in 2019.
Koch ended his Buckeye career as a four-time All-American, with two first team honors (2018, ’19) and as the eighth Ohio State men’s fencer to earn four All-America laurels. He posted three Top 10 finishes at the NCAA Championships, winning two bronze medals, and was headed for a fourth NCAA appearance when the 2020 championships were canceled. As a senior, he was a First Team All-Midwest Fencing Conference selection after placing third at the conference championships. Koch earned Second Team All-Midwest Region accolades with a third place finish at 2020 NCAA Regionals. He was part of three MFC team overall championships along with a men’s team title in 2020 when overall teams were not recognized. The men’s saber squad won the weapon title all four of his years as well.
The team’s saber captain, Koch was also a finalist for the Big Ten Medal of Honor. He earned his bachelor’s degree in finance in Spring 2019 and enrolled in graduate school in corporate finance, earning his master’s degree in Spring 2020. He was a Big Ten Distinguished Scholar, Ohio State Scholar-Athlete and Academic All-Big Ten honoree.