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Ohio State fencer named Buckeyes Male Athlete of the Year, headed to London Olympics

Ohio State sophomore Zain Shaito accomplished more than any other collegiate fencer in the nation during the 2011-2012 season. Shaito, an NCAA champion this season as both an individual and an OSU team member, was honored June 12 as the 2011-12 Ohio State Male Athlete of the Year.

Shaito won the individual title in men’s foil at this year’s NCAA Fencing Championships. By winning his event, he played a leading role in the Buckeyes’ overall championship, which was OSU’s third team title in the last nine seasons.

Shaito became the second fencer in OSU history to earn the honor, joining Andras Horanyi. Like Shaito, Horanyi earned the award in 2008 after winning the individual title in men’s foil while leading the Buckeyes to a team title.

Shaito was not made available for comment.

In addition to his collegiate championships, Shaito also accomplished his goal of qualifying for the 2012 Olympic Games in London, where he will compete in foil representing Lebanon. Shaito was raised in Texas, but holds dual citizenship in Lebanon, a Middle Eastern country.

Shaito’s sister Mona, a freshman on the OSU fencing team, also qualified for the Olympics in foil. Like her brother, she will represent Lebanon.

Zain Shaito told The Lantern in May that his pattern of success has given him continued momentum from one competition to the next.

“Any time you win a huge competition like that, especially being NCAA national championships, that gives you the momentum to go into the next competition,” Shaito said. “So I think that momentum carried on to the Olympic qualifier, and then winning the Olympic qualifier will carry on to me competing in the Olympic Games.”

Zain Shaito will compete in London on July 31, when the Olympic men’s individual foil competition will be held.

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