The reigning Ohio State athlete of the year award winner isn’t running back Chris “Beanie” Wells or linebacker James Laurinaitis.
A fencer from Boulder, senior Andras Horanyi, was voted that honor last spring by the athletic department, although few on campus might recognize him.
A three-time All-American, Horanyi (hor-an-yee) is the two-time defending NCAA individual champion in foil and helped Ohio State win the 2008 national championship last March.
Horanyi, 22, arrived at Ohio State in 2005 as one of the nation’s most heavily recruited junior fencers. He chose the Buckeyes over two other fencing powers, Notre Dame and Penn State.
A member of the U.S. Senior National Team, Horanyi placed second in the 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials in foil, just missing a spot in the Beijing Olympics. He has his sights set on the 2012 Games in London.
Horanyi took a few minutes to chat about his accomplishments
1. Give us a little bit about your background, Andras. Did you grow up in Boulder?
Yes, I’ve lived in Boulder most of my life. I was born in Tallahassee, Fla., but moved to Boulder when I was about 5. My parents came to the U.S. from Hungary before I was born. They are both physics professors at the University of Colorado.
2. How did you get into fencing? It’s not exactly a mainstream sport?
When I was 11, I went to the Boulder Creek Festival in the spring and there was a fencing booth set up by Northern Colorado Fencers. You could try it (fencing) in that booth, so I did. It was fun, so I went to a weeklong summer camp. I just stuck with it. Since that camp, I’ve fenced about every day.
3. CU does not have an NCAA fencing program, so you had to go elsewhere. Why Ohio State?
I was also looking at Penn State and Notre Dame. Ohio State, Penn State and Notre Dame are pretty much the top three fencing schools. I picked Ohio State because of its business school and the coaching staff.
4. What does it take to become a champion fencer?
It’s probably the same as it is for most sports. It takes a lot of dedication, a lot of time. And there is some luck involved at some point. Things have to fall in the right place. Fencing is a little like tennis and boxing. You have to judge the distance between you and your opponent. You have to keep that distance right where you want it, to where you feel comfortable.
5. What are your post-college plans?
I’m going to stay here in Ohio for a while, because I want to train here (under Nazlymov) for the 2012 Olympics. After that, I don’t know. At some point, I’d like to open my own business, my own store — probably a sports store with snowboards and skis. That’s pretty far down the line, though.
— By Tom Kensler, The Denver Post