Since football is the lifeblood of Ohio State, nearly everyone knows quarterback J.T. Barrett and defensive end Tyquan Lewis. How could you not?
But if the best college men’s volleyball player in the country — Nicolas Szerszen — walked into the room, would you even recognize him? Some of the best athletes in the country walk through the campus of Ohio State on a daily basis, unrecognized for their accomplishments. Let’s change that.
These are 11 Ohio State athletes that you should know.
Irina Andrianova (Pistol) A four-time individual champion, Andrianova has won the women’s sport pistol championship in each of her three years at Ohio State. In her first two seasons, she helped lead Ohio State to two team aggregate national championships. Last year, with Adrianova leading the way, the Buckeyes won the women’s team aggregate championship for the fourth time in program history.
Francesca Di Lorenzo (Women’s Tennis) In the spring, Di Lorenzo partnered with then-senior Miho Kowase to capture the first doubles championship in Ohio State women’s tennis history. The 2016-17 Ohio State Female Athlete of the Year has won three Intercollegiate Tennis Association titles during her two years in Columbus. Though she was upset in the round of 32 at the 2017 NCAA singles championships, Di Lorenzo was ranked No. 1 throughout the spring and entered the tournament as the top seed. The junior enters next season with a 74-7 record and the highest singles winning percentage in program history (.914) as well as the highest doubles win percentage in Ohio State history (.887).
Maddy Humphrey (Field Hockey) Though her team hasn’t finished with more wins than losses in a season since she arrived, Humphrey has thrived. As a freshman in 2014, she led her team and finished second in the Big Ten with 32 points (12 goals and eight assists). Humphrey finished second on the team in points (10 goals and four assists) as a sophomore and led the Buckeyes with 33 points (12 goals and nine assists) last season. The senior forward/midfielder finished on the second team All-Big Ten in 2015 and 2016. Humphrey’s team opens the season Aug. 27 in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, where it will take on Lehigh.
Mason Jobst (Men’s Hockey) Jobst, a junior forward, earned second-team All-American honors after last season’s record-breaking performance. The electric first-team All-Big Ten scorer recorded 55 points (19 goals and 36 assists), which tied for most in the Big Ten and was the most by an Ohio State player since 1998. Jobst’s 36 assists were the most by a Buckeye since 1992. Jobst and the Buckeyes are scheduled to get back on the ice Oct. 6 in Madison, Wisconsin, when Ohio State opens its season against the Badgers.
Tre Leclaire (Men’s Lacrosse) The youngest Buckeye on this list, Leclaire exploded onto the scene last season as a freshman. He came off the bench for the first five games of the season before stepping into the starting lineup and leading his team with 49 goals, accumulating 65 points, just one point shy of team lead. The Big Ten Freshman of the Year helped lead his team to the best finish in Ohio State men’s lacrosse history. The Buckeyes reached the NCAA championship for the first time in the program’s existence, but fell 9-6 to Maryland. Leclaire will take an even bigger offensive role in 2017 as Ohio State’s second- and third-leading goal-scorers – Eric Fannell and Johnny Pearson – graduated in the spring.
Kelsey Mitchell (Women’s Basketball) Through three seasons, Mitchell is already arguably the best player in Ohio State women’s basketball history. Since she was a freshman – when she averaged a nation-leading 24.9 points per game – Mitchell has dominated the offensive end of the court. The 5-foot-8 guard has scored 2,552 points in scarlet and gray, the third-highest total in program history and the fifth-most in the Big Ten. Last season, the three-time first-team All-Big Ten player averaged 22.6 points per game. Mitchell was named the Big Ten Player of the Year in 2015 and 2017. She was a first-team Associated Press All-American in 2016 and made the second team in 2015 and 2017. Mitchell holds the school and conference record for most 3-pointers made (368). Her team finished 28-7 and was eliminated by Notre Dame in the Sweet 16 last season.
Lilli Piper (Softball) A unanimous first-team All-Big Ten selection and her team’s leader in most batting categories, Piper returns to help her team rebound from a disappointing early elimination in the Knoxville Regional of the NCAA tournament . The junior slugger led Ohio State in batting average (.421), hits (75), home runs (18), RBIs (53), on-base percentage (.436) and slugging percentage (.787). Though she didn’t lead the Big Ten in any category, she was among the top-five finishers in each of those categories, except on-base percentage. At the end of the season, Piper was honored as a third-team All-American.
Kassidy Sauve (Women’s Hockey) Sauve, a redshirt junior, earned second-team All-American honors for her performance last year, becoming the first goaltender in program history to be placed on an All-American team. Ohio State finished just 14-18-5, but Sauve’s steady play kept the overmatched Buckeyes in games. She set single-season records for saves (1,135) and save percentage (.942) in 2016-17. Sauve saved 129 more shots than anyone in the country, though that was largely due to the fact that she faced 108 more shot attempts than any other goaltender. With her first shutout in 2017-18, Sauve will become the career record-holder for most shutouts in program history.
Kyle Snyder (Wrestling) One of the most dominant athletes in the history of Ohio State athletics, the school’s 2015-16 and 2016-17 Male Athlete of the Year has little left to prove or accomplish at the collegiate level. The heavyweight has not lost a match in college since his freshman year and won the national championship in his weight class the past two years. Snyder’s most impressive victories, however, came at the 2016 Summer Olympics when he took home the gold medal to become the youngest Olympic wrestling champion in American history. Snyder will look to cement his college legacy and become the first-ever three-time Ohio State Male Athlete of the Year.
Nicolas Szerszen (Men’s Volleyball) A three-time Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association first-team honoree, Szerszen has helped Ohio State win back-to-back NCAA titles the past two seasons. The outside hitter was named the American Volleyball Coaches Association National Player of the Year in 2016 and the Volleyball Magazine National Player of the Year in 2017. Szerszen holds the school record for most career service aces (178) and aces per set (0.52). The senior has a chance to lead the Buckeyes to their first-ever three-peat and will climb into the upper echelon of school records in multiple categories in the spring.
Mikael Torpegaard (Men’s Tennis) Torpegaard, a two-time singles (2016 and 2017) and one-time doubles (2017) All-American, completed his junior year with a 38-5 singles record and a dominant 29-2 doubles record. The rising senior finished last season as the No. 2-ranked singles player in the country, but was ranked No. 1 at multiple points in the season. Torpegaard was named the Big Ten Player of the Year in 2016 when he was the runner-up in the NCAA singles championship.