Seven Ohio State Athletes Lead the Nation in Their Respective Sports

By Kevin Harrish on February 14, 2017 at 1:05 pm
Olympic Gold Medalist Kyle Snyder.

Earlier this week, we talked about all of Ohio State's powerhouse teams playing this spring. The Buckeyes will be legitimate competitors for national titles in at least nine sports in the coming months – which is absolutely remarkable.

Still, the dominance goes a little further than that. Not only are these teams great, the Ohio State athletic program is flooded with individual athletes with legitimate cases that they are the best in the nation at their respective sport.

We identified seven(!!!) current Buckeyes who are favorites for individual national titles or national player of the year awards at the end of the season.

Kyle Snyder – Wrestling

In Kyle Snyder's case, he isn't just the best wrestler in the country, he's the best wrestler in the world.

In the past two years, Snyder has won gold at the 2015 Pan American Games, the 2015 World Championships, the 2016 Rio Olympic Games and the 2017 Yarygin Memorial. With most of those wins he became USA's youngest-ever gold medalist in the process. Those accomplishments make his Big Ten Title and NCAA Tournament Title look like child's play.

Snyder regularly faces the world's top talent and regularly dominates them. Then, he returns to school, goes to class and dominates college wrestlers as well. He's undefeated in college over the past two years and is an overwhelming favorite to repeat as a national champion this season.

He is legitimately the best in the world at what he does and he's an Ohio State student athlete.

Nicolas Szerszen – Men's Volleyball

Out of high school, Nicolas Szerszen could have chosen to play volleyball professionally in Europe or go to school in the United States and play volleyball in college. Thankfully for the Buckeyes, he chose the one with exams, dining hall food and no pay check.

As just a junior, Szerszen is already the best men's volleyball player in program history. His sophomore season, Szerszen became the first player in program history to be named the AVCA National Player of the Year and was also named the  MIVA Player of the Year as well as the MIVA Tournament MVP. He was also given AVCA All-America First Team, All-MIVA First Team, All-NCAA Tournament Team and All-MIVA Tournament Team honors. He accomplished this all while leading his team to the 2016 NCAA Title.

Nick Szerszen
Via Ohio State Athletics.

Szerszen entered the 2017 season ranked in the top 20 in program history in aces per set (1st), total aces (T-6th), kills per set (9th), points per set (9th), attacking percentage (11th), 835 kills (18th), attempts (20th), points (20th) and digs per set (20th).

The Buckeyes, led by Szerszen, are currently riding a 36-match winning streak, which is the longest streak in a head-to-head sport in program history. Ohio State is currently ranked No. 1 and is the favorite to repeat as champions at the NCAA Tournament which will be held in Columbus, Ohio in May. 

Francesca Di Lorenzo – Women's Tennis

Frencesca Di Lorenzo isn't even halfway through her sophomore year and she's already the most decorated women's tennis player in program history.

Her freshman season, Di Lorenzo broke the school with 37 wins in a season and won the USTA/ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships title – the first national title in program history. She was the Big Ten Player of the Year, unanimous Big Ten Freshman of the Year, First Team All-B1G and ITA Midwest Region Rookie of the Year.

To start her sophomore season, Di Lorenzo claimed two more national titles, winning both the Riviera ITA All-American Championship and the USTA/ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships titles.

Di Lorenzo is currently the nation's top-ranked college player and is undefeated in dual matches on the season.

Mikael Torpegaard – Men's Tennis

Mikael Torpegaard has been playing No. 1 singles on Ohio State's perennial powerhouse tennis team since his freshman year. That season he was named the 2015 Big Ten Freshman of the Year as well as the 2015 ITA Midwest Region Freshman of the Year.

His sophomore season, Torpegaard went undefeated in dual matches throughout the regular season and held the No. 1 ranking for five weeks. He earned the No. 1 seed in the NCAA Singles Championship and went on to a runner-up finish. Following the season, Torpegaard was named a 2016 Singles All-American, the 2016 Big Ten Player of the Year and was a Unanimous First Team All-Big Ten selection.

Torpegaard is a perfect 7-0 at No. 1 singles to start the 2017 season and is currently the No. 2 player in the country. He's got a real shot at an individual national championship in the spring.

Eleanor Harvey – Women's Fencing

Eleanor Harvey may not be the world's best, but she proved she can beat the world's best. The Ohio State rising senior made international waves over the summer when she defeated the world's No. 1 fencer, Arriana Errigo of Italy, at the 2016 Rio Olympics. She finished in 7th place, marking the first time a Canadian has ever reached the final eight of the women's foil tournament.

Harvey also won the 2016 NCAA Championship in women's foil, downing Columbia's Jackie Dubrovich, 15-10 in the title match. This season, she'll look to defend her title and help the Buckeyes win their first team national title since 2012.

Maximilien Chastanet – Men's Fencing

Maximilien Chastanet is also a defending NCAA Champion. As a sophomore, he ripped through the NCAA Championship, ultimately defeating Penn State's Nobuo Bravo15-3, to win the men's foil national title.

This season, he's well on his way to defending that title. He finished first in at the OSU Open and went undefeated at OSU Duals, registering nine wins. He and the top-ranked men's fencing team head to post-season play this month.

Kelsey Mitchell – Women's Basketball

Kelsey Mitchell currently sits third on Ohio State's all time scoring list, which would probably be good enough to put her on this list if her career was over, but it's not. Mitchell hasn't even completed her junior season.

She's going to absolutely shatter the team's all-time scoring record, and depending on how many post season games the team plays over the next two seasons, she may even break the NCAA scoring record.

But it's not just about the future – Mitchell's made history already. Here's a quick rundown of her career accomplishments. Buckle up, cause it's a lot.

Mitchell set a total of 29 single season or single game records her freshman season, including the NCAA's single-season record for three-pointers as well as the Big Ten record for points in a season. She was the only player in the country to score over 800 points and was the first-ever freshman to lead the country in scoring. She was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Year and Co-Big Ten Player of the year. 

Her sophomore season, she picked up right where she left off, actually topping her freshman scoring total. She also set the team record for most points scored in an NCAA Tournament game with 45 against West Virginia, which was good for fourth all-time. She finished the season as a finalist for every major national player of the year award.

Mitchell owns the top-four single-game scoring performances in school history with games of 48, 45, 43 and 42 points, and has never played a game without hitting a three-pointer, which was already an NCAA record her freshman season.

She's going to go down as probably the best women's basketball player in Ohio State history, and that list includes Katie Smith, Jantel Lavender and Samantha Prahalis.

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