Oct. 21, 1999

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Ohio State fencing team will compete in the annual Remenyik Open. A preseason event, more than 300 fencers are expected to be on hand to compete for individual honors. The contest follows a pool format leading to direct elimination with 15 touches.

A New Beginning

Vladimir Nazlymov begins his first season as head coach of the Ohio State men’s and women’s fencing team, taking the reigns from OSU fencing icon Charlotte Remenyik after her 21-year career came to a close. In his first season as a collegiate coach, Nazlymov will enjoy the luxury of 15 total letterwinners returning and only three lost from last year’s squad that finished 10th at the NCAA Championships. Director of Athletics Andy Geiger could not have selected a more renowned individual to replace Remenyik as head fencing coach at Ohio State. Nazlymov has captured three Olympic medals as a competitor and three as a head coach. He served as the US National Team’s head coach from 1994-99, and has twice been named the World’s Best Fencer by the International Fencing Federation. For the past eight seasons, Nazlymov has designed and implemented an Olympic-caliber fencing program at a high school in Kansas City, Mo. “Ohio State is a very good university,” Nazlymov said. “The have a great athletic department. They have everything in place – all the resources to be successful. They are very supportive.” Although he is not overly familiar with the personnel he will be working with this season after being on the job for only a few months, Nazlymov will be pleased to know that NCAA qualifiers Toya Holland and Fane Groes return on the women’s side and Greg Carlino, who finished 10th at last year’s Midwest Championships, returns on the men’s side.

Two NCAA Qualifiers Return

Despite losing one of the top female fencers in Ohio State history, this 1999-00 women’s fencing team will again challenge for national prominence. Captain Fane Groes headlines the list of returners. Groes finished last season with a near incredible 85-7 record in the foil and placed 12th individually at the NCAA Championships. She was an honorable mention All-America selection. “Fane was chosen captain because of her leadership qualities,” assistant coach Michael Shearer said. “She was the Danish national foil champion and her experience is something that the other members on the team look to for strength. She’s a very capable individual. She’s intelligent. She has a lot of terrific qualities that go along with being a leader.” The Buckeyes will attempt to recover from the loss of Yelena Kalkina, a three-time All-American that placed third at the NCAA Championships last year. She now serves as a volunteer assistant coach. Toya Holland also returns for the Buckeyes after finishing 16th at the national championship tournament last year in the women’s epee. Holland, a Columbus native, finished last season with a 53-37 overall mark. “Toya was a foil fencer that switched to epee and developed rapidly through last year, culminating with the NCAA Championship,” Shearer said. “She did not have the best record on the team last year but peaked at the right time. We really are looking forward to her continued development this year. She has all the tools to be not only a terrific NCAA fencer but one day qualify for the US National Team. It’s up to her.” Lynn El-Hillow (39-49 last year), Sally Dowding (67-25), Jamie Rice (63-27), and Leah Tracy (56-31) also return for the women’s team this year. Last year’s women’s squad earned 41 of OSU’s 46 points at the NCAA Championships. El-Hillow will most likely compete in women’s sabre, the newest event added by the NCAA, marking her third weapon in the last four years. “The women’s team is going to be a mix of first-year and veteran fencers,” Shearer said. “Women’s sabre will be totally new to all of us, and we have a very solid women’s epee team this year. The success of failure will depend on how quickly the new team members develop.”

Men’s Squad Will Improve

After redshirting last season and serving as the team’s armorer, Geoff Kane returns to the OSU men’s fencing team this year. Two seasons ago, Kane recorded a 47-18 mark in the epee and was the only member of OSU’s epee squad to place (15th) in the NCAA Championships. “We’re looking for big things from Geoff,” Shearer said, “We will be shocked if he does not make the NCAA Championships. He worked as hard if not harder than anyone else last year to be prepared for this year, even though he wasn’t competing. He’s mentally ready to do everything in his power to have a good showing at the NCAA Championships. He’s been there and knows how to get it done.” Senior Joe Wernet will captain the 1999-00 men’s fencing team. He finished last season with a 32-23 overall record in the men’s sabre. Greg Carlino also returns for the men’s team this year after placing 10th in the foil at the Midwest Championships and posting a 36-23 overall record. “This is Joe’s fifth year in school and fourth year on the team,” Shearer noted. “He started out as a walk-on and has developed rapidly. He’s been a four-year starter. We’re looking for him to be a leader this year. When something needs to get done, he can accomplish it. The team looks up to him and his experience. Carlino has experience. He’ll compete in the foil and that’s the area that we need the most work on. The numbers are not where we need them to be in the foil to give him the exposure he needs every day to stiff competition. He has the potential to have a fabulous year.” The 1999-00 men’s team is loaded with veterans. Chad Steinhausser (21-12), Scott Francis (26-26), Greg Bianca (24-35), Michael Dangler (33-23), and Kevin Dalley (13-24) all recorded at least 33 matches last year. Steinhausser also placed 10th in the epee at the Midwest Championships. “The men’s team is going to be stronger this year than it was last year,” Shearer said. “We’ve got some freshmen that will make an immediate impact.” Two of the freshmen Shearer is speaking of are Guy Lofton and Alan Jones. Lofton is currently ranked No. 31 nationally in the sabre and Jones is a member of the United States Modern Pentathlon team, an competition that includes epee as one of its five events.

The Big Picture

Nazlymov is intent on developing fencing in Columbus and throughout the United States. He says he sees college fencing as the vehicle that can do just that. “College fencing has to help the US fencing program,” said Nazlymov, the former head coach of the US National Team. “We can change fencing in the United States. We have really good young fencers on the national level right now below 18-years old. But only college fencing programs can produce world class fencers that are 23 and 24-years old. College fencing has to be an important part of the system.” After taking over from a coach with the reputation of Reminyik, Nazlymov knows the systems for success are already in place. “I don’t plan on coming in and changing everything Charlotte Reminyik did,” he said. “She is an excellent coach and has built a strong program. But it’s up to me to find the secret – the secret can put us in the top three every year. In two or three years, we hope to build a nucleus of a championship team. After three years, we hope to be competing at the highest level.”