May 14, 2020

Thirteen Buckeyes Earn Ohio State Degrees

Share

This spring, 13 members of the Ohio State fencing program have earned their degrees from Ohio State. They are part of 172 current and former Buckeye student-athletes among the graduates, which totaled more than 13,000 across the university.

Ahmed Al-Tayeb, who finished his Buckeye career in 2019, earned his degree in pharmaceutical sciences. The native of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, was an Ohio State Scholar-Athlete, Academic All-Big Ten selection and Big Ten Distinguished Scholar.

Leon Cao, a senior in 2020, earned his degree in electrical and computer engineering. A two-time All-Midwest Fencing Conference selection, including first team honors in 2019 when he was the runner-up at the championships, Cao had two Top 8 finishes at NCAA Regionals and was a 2019 NCAA qualifier, placing 24th. The native of West Chester, Ohio, earned Ohio State Scholar-Athlete and Academic All-Big Ten honors.

Team foil captain Gabriela Cecchini, from Porto Alegre, Brazil, had a double major in economics and political science. She was a three-time All-American and NCAA qualifier who had two Top 10 finishes at NCAA Championships. Cecchini was a two-time First Team All-MFC selection, with two runner-up finishes at the conference championships. She earned Big Ten Distinguished Scholar, Academic All-Big Ten and Ohio State Scholar-Athlete accolades.

Mt. Laurel., N.J., native Andy Choi, who last competed for the Buckeyes in 2016, earned his degree in electrical and computer engineering.

John Culpepper, from Bentonville, Ark., was a double major in political science and economics and served as the Buckeyes’ epee captain. He was a three-time All-Midwest Fencing Conference selection, with first team honors in 2018 and second team accolades in 2019 and ’20. He finished sixth at the MFC Championships as both a senior and junior. Culpepper was an Ohio State Scholar-Athlete and Academic All-Big Ten choice.

Bexley, Ohio, native Frank Ditullio, a graduate in human development and family science, had two Top 8 finishes at the MFC Championships to earn second team all-conference honors twice. He earned Ohio State Scholar-Athlete and Academic All-Big Ten accolades.

Natalia Falkowski, from Wappingers Falls, N.Y., was a 2020 First Team All-MFC selection after tying for third at the conference championships and had two Top 16 NCAA Regional finishes. Falkowski, a double major in international business and finance, was a Big Ten Distinguished Scholar, Academic All-Big Ten choice and Ohio State Scholar-Athlete honoree.

Alexa Laskaris, a Park Ridge, Ill., native, earned All-MFC honors three times, including first team laurels in 2018 and ’20. The health sciences program major, who had two Top 7 NCAA Regional finishes, earned Ohio State Scholar-Athlete and Academic All-B1G accolades.

A native of Wayne, N.J., team captain Sarah Merza ended her career as a four-time Second Team All-American. She notched three Top 7 NCAA Championships finishes, won three MFC titles and was a four-time First Team All-MFC honoree. The Academic All-Big Ten selection and Ohio State Scholar-Athlete earned her degree in psychology.

Emma Montgomery, from Lewis Center, Ohio, joined the Buckeye squad for her senior year in 2019-20. She earned her degree in biochemistry and was an Ohio State Scholar-Athlete.

Nicola Sirito, the Buckeyes’ student manager in 2020, earned his degree in marketing. A native of Pearland, Texas, he competed for the Buckeyes for three years and had two Top 6 finishes at MFC Championships and was a First Team All-MFC selection in 2018. He earned Ohio State Scholar-Athlete and Academic All-Big Ten laurels.

A native of Wilton, Conn., Liam Smith received his degree in industrial design. He was an Honorable Mention All-MFC selection in 2020 after finishing 10th at the conference championships. Smith earned Academic All-Big Ten, Big Ten Distinguished Scholar and Ohio State Scholar-Athlete accolades.

Emma Von Dadelszen competed for the Buckeyes from 2016-19 and was a two-time All-American, along with a three-time NCAA qualifier. She captured the 2018 MFC epee title and was a four-time All-MFC honoree. The health sciences program graduate earned Ohio State Scholar-Athlete and Academic All-Big Ten accolades.

In addition, Domenik Koch, a four-time All-American with two third-place NCAA finishes, earned his master’s degree in business-finance. Koch, who earned his bachelor’s degree in Spring 2019, was a Big Ten Distinguished Scholar, Academic All-Big Ten selection and Ohio State Scholar-Athlete.

academic