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Son of Buckeye assistant coach Dmitri Bilozertchev joins squad

COLUMBUS, Ohio Philip Onorato and Alexy Bilozertchev, the nation’s No. 1 and No. 2 junior recruits, respectively, have signed NCAA National Letters of Intent to join the 2008-09 Ohio State men’s gymnastics team head coach Miles Avery announced Monday. Both Onorato, 2004 and ’05 Level 10 Junior Olympic National all-around champion, and Bilozertchev, 2007 VISA junior all-around title holder, bring routines tested at the national and international level.

“Getting the No.1 and No. 2 recruits holds well for the future of this Buckeye program,” Avery said. “Both of these athletes are Olympic-caliber gymnasts. When people see them compete they see potential candidates for the 2012 Olympic Team.”

Onorato, a native of Plano, Texas, has been a star in the gymnastics world since capturing the first of two J.O. Nationals in 2004 with top finishes on rings and vault. A year later, the all-arounder repeated as the junior national champion.

Competing overseas, Onorato finished second in the all-around at both the 2005 Stella Zakharova Cup and the 2006 Pan American Championships where he took gold on rings (15.275) and silver on floor (14.425). In all, Onorato, a member of the World Olympics Gymnastics Academy (WOGA) in Plano, has collected six international, seven state and 13 national titles.

Training with the OSU Boys Team under his father, Ohio State assistant coach and two-time world championDmitri Bilozertchev, Alexy captured his first national junior all-around title Aug. 15 at USA Gymnastics’ VISA Championships, tallying an 84.850. The Hilliard, Ohio, resident sealed his victory with a win on pommel horse (14.3) in the final rotation. In addition, Alexy finished second on parallel bars (14.85) and third on floor (14.35). Before winning the all-around at the 2007 VISA Championships, Alexy placed fourth at the 2006 event.

At the J.O. National Championships, the gymnast finished fourth in the all-around in 2007, including a bronze medal finish on high bar, while in 2006, Alexy took home the bronze on parallel bars.