The Dublin Jerome High School fencing team's third consecutive state championship performance included a pleasant surprise April 6 at Ohio State.
In the boys saber competition, third-seeded Kirklen Shedlock beat second-seeded Kirk Whitney of Columbus Alternative 15-11 in a semifinal and then upset top-seeded Frank Ditullio from Bexley 15-9 in the final.
Jerome, which also received a runner-up finish from Garrett Turley in the boys foil, scored 147 points to win the boys title ahead of Bexley (127), Shaker Heights (54), Dublin Coffman (30) and Rocky River (29).
"The person I beat in the final, I'd lost to (him) four times in the past," Shedlock said. "I usually lose to him 15-14. Normally when I fence him I get more defensive, but this time I was a little bit more offensive against him."
Also competing for Jerome were Noah Myers, Matthew Wiese, Ray McVeety, Turley and Shedlock in boys epee, McVeety, Wiese, Matvey Yang, Derek Wang and Anthony Prenger in foil and Myers and McVeety in saber.
Competing for the Coffman boys were Daniel Niemann in epee and foil, Daniel Smith in epee and saber and Harry Lee in saber.
"The level of saber has risen so fast, and Kirklen has worked really hard," said Simon Birkhoff, who coaches Jerome and Coffman. "All the coaches are really pleased with how far he's come along. Garrett has been a good foil leader and captain. Ray McVeety has been injured most of the season, but his biggest contribution was that he fenced all three weapons so that he could possibly get points for the team. The most impressed I was,might have been with junior Noah Myers. He did saber and epee, which are really different weapons.
"We're a little disappointed with how it went for the Coffman guys, but they did OK. I was really pleased with how well they supported the Jerome boys team."
The only girls team to score in the state tournament was Rocky River (44).
Coffman's Eleni Cristofides was third in girls foil.
Academy's Kaye shines in girls meet
Last September, Columbus Academy junior Abby Kaye began traveling to Cincinnati once per week to work with coach Liran Gross of the Salle Du Lion Fencing Center.
Working with the former captain of the Israeli national team, combined with the experience she's gained under coach Joseph Streb the last few years, has paid dividends.
In the state tournament, Kaye won the girls foil and epee competitions.
"I think I've definitely improved," said Kaye, a Gahanna resident. "My two coaches have helped give me new ideas and tactics."
Kaye beat Kirsten Denman, who competes for the American Fencing Academy of Dayton, 15-9 to win the foil championship.
She defeated Annemarie Kelpe, who competes for Hooked on Fencing (Northern Ohio Division), 15-8 to capture the epee title.
Kelli Wozniak, who attends Westerville Central, beat Rocky River's Rebecca Sloan 15-0 to win the saber championship.
Hutchison again wins foil title
For the third consecutive season, Bexley's Aaron Hutchison captured the state championship in the boys foil competition.
Hutchison, a senior, beat Jerome's Turley 15-3 in the championship match. His only tight match during the direct competition round came when he beat Leonard Behrens of the Salle Du Lion Fencing Center 15-11 in the third round.
Hutchison lost to Michael Billinghurst III from Hooked on Fencing (Northern Ohio Division) 15-11 in the epee championship match.