Ohio State looks to defend team title at stacked 2013 fencing championships
SAN ANTONIO -- The 2013 National Collegiate Men’s and Women’s Fencing Championships are set for Thursday through Sunday. The University of the Incarnate Word and San Antonio Sports are co-hosting the championships at Freeman Coliseum.
A total of 144 fencers -- 72 men and 72 women -- will represent 25 schools in the foil, epee and sabre. Defending champion Ohio State qualified 11 fencers (six women and five men). But only two teams will have the maximum number of competitors. Notre Dame and Princeton will sport a full complement of 12 participants.
Competition begins each day at 10:30 a.m. ET. Men’s preliminary rounds 1-4 are slated for Thursday, and rounds 5-7 will be held Friday. The semifinals and championship bouts are on the docket for 2:45 p.m. Friday. Women’s events will follow the same schedule on Saturday and Sunday.
The prelims consist of five-touch round-robin bouts. The top four finishers advance to the 15-touch semifinals, with the winners moving on to the title events.
The Buckeyes captured the 2012 team title -- in front of their home fans in Columbus, Ohio -- with 182 points. Princeton was runner-up (161 points), and right behind in third place was Notre Dame (160 points). St. John’s placed fourth (158) and Penn State was fifth (151).
It marked Ohio State’s third combined national championship, all under the guidance of head coach Vladimir Nazlymov. The Buckeyes also took home the top prize in 2004 and '08.
“The competition is very strong this year,” said Nazlymov, a native of Russia, in his 13th season as the Buckeyes’ mentor. “There are many top teams, such as Princeton, Notre Dame, Penn State and Columbia. I hope our program will be ready to fight.”
Ohio State returns two defending champions from the 2012 event. Zain Shaito captured men’s foil, and Katarzyna Dabrowa won women’s epee. Max Stearns cemented Ohio State’s championship, finishing atop the men’s sabre standings. He later lost in the semifinals. St. John’s will again have the services of women’s foil champ Evgeniya Kirpicheva, and Princeton’s Jonathan Yergler returns to defend his men’s epee title.
There are four returning 2011 champions, including Notre Dame’s Courtney Hurley, who hails from San Antonio. Hurley won the women’s epee two years ago and sat out last year to train for the Olympics. She scored the winning touch for the United States in the 2012 London Olympic bronze-medal match. Ariel DeSmet (Notre Dame) won the 2011 men’s foil, and Daryl Homer of St. John’s captured men’s sabre in 2010 and '11. Harvard’s Alexandra Kiefer was the champion of women’s foil in 2011.
Four fencers at this year’s nationals have Olympic experience: Hurley, Homer, Princeton’s Susannah Scanlan (women’s epee) and Miles Chamley-Wilson of Penn State (men’s foil).
Heading into nationals, Penn State is ranked No. 1 in the men’s CollegeFencing360.com poll with 150 points, Notre Dame is second (130) and Harvard and St. John’s are tied for third (117). Princeton is fifth (113) and Ohio State stands at No. 6 (110).
Notre Dame is at the top of the women’s poll, with 147 points, and Princeton is No. 2, with 142 points. Columbia holds the third slot (123), and Ohio State is fourth (113). In fifth place is St. John’s with 110 points.