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Feb. 1, 2007

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COLUMBUS, Ohio – Coming off a team season high of 194.850 in a tri-meet win at Michigan State, the No. 19 Ohio State women’s gymnastics team heads to Champaign, Ill., for a dual meet at 7 p.m. Saturday against host Illinois. The Buckeyes (4-3) rank No. 19 nationally with a team average of 193.908. Illinois (1-2) hold a team average of 193.017.

The meet Saturday marks Ohio State’s third-consecutive road meet. After the meet at Illinois, the Buckeyes return to St. John Arena, where they are 1-0, for a 7 p.m. meet Feb. 10 against Air Force.

CLIMBING THE RANKINGS
With a team average of 193.908 the No. 19 Buckeyes make their way into the Top 20 national rankings for the first time since Feb. 4, 2005. Ohio State ranks No. 5 in the central region and No. 2 in the Big Ten with their team average.

The squad places in the Top 25 in three of four events nationally, ranking No. 13 on floor, No. 15 on bars and No. 22 on vault. On floor the team averages a 48.767, which ranks No. 2 in the central region and No. 1 in the Big Ten. The teams average of 48.758 on bars, which ranks No. 4 in the central region. The Buckeyes rank No. 22 on vault, which is No. 2 in the Big Ten, with their 48.70 average.

COACH FAGAN ON THE MEET
“We are looking forward to another tough Big Ten meet this weekend against Illinois,” Carey Fagan, Ohio State head coach, said. “The team is very confident right now and our goal is to continue the upward trend of our team scores and continue our climb in the rankings. We may see some freshmen competing this weekend for the first time and hope to strengthen a few of our line-ups with their return.”

LEADING THE WAY
Junior Kaylan Clevinger leads the Buckeyes in three events, including the all-around, beam and bars. Clevinger ranks No. 8 in the central region in the all-around with a 38.883 average. She is tied for the No. 19 central region ranking on beam with a 9.725 average. Clevinger is tied with sophomore Kiki Holman on bars with a 9.775 average, which ranks No. 13 in the central region. Clevinger is third for the Buckeyes on floor with a 9.767 average, which ranks No. 18 regionally.

Junior Maalika Moore-Thomas leads the Buckeyes on vault with an average of 9.842, which is tied for No. 9 in the central region. She ranks No. 11 in the central region on floor with a 9.817 average and No. 15 in the central region in the all-around with a 38.717 average.

Sophomore Alyssa Meyer holds the second spot for the Buckeyes on floor with a 9.808 average, which is No. 21 in the central region. Meyer tops off the third place spot for the squad in both the all-around event and bars. She holds an average of 38.517 in the all-around and 9.758 average on bars.

Sophomores Amanda Surine and Holman finish off the second and third spots for the Buckeyes on vault. Surine holds a 9.758 average, while Holman averages a 9.725. Junior Jessica Rosette ranks second among the squad on beam with a 9.683 average, which is tied for No. 23 in the central region.

A LOOK AT ILLINOIS
The Illini return nine letterwinners from their 2006 squad, which posted a 10-4 overall record and ranked No. 25 nationally. The squad holds a 193.017 average, which ranks No. 7 in the south central region. They average a 47.925 on floor, 48.450 on beam, 48.042 on bars and 48.60 on vault. Sophomore Kim Kruk leads the squad in the all-around with a 38.762, which ranks No. 12 in the south central region. Junior Krystal Melcarek leads the Illini on vault with a No. 14 south central region average of 9.737. The team is coached by Bob Starkell in his seventh season at Illinois.

HISTORY OF THE MATCH-UP
Ohio State defended its home floor last season in a 193.375-192.875 victory over the Illini. The Buckeyes last competed at Illinois March 12, 2005 when they dropped a close meet 195.625-195.425. Ohio State leads the series 12-8.

LAST WEEK: OSU WINS TRI-MEET ON THE ROAD
Led by a career-high 39.375 in the all-around from junior Maalika Moore-Thomas, Ohio State scored a season-high 194.850 Saturday night in East Lansing, Mich., to win a tri-meet that included Illinois-Chicago and host Michigan State. Eight Ohio State routines were career highs for the Buckeyes, including two from Moore-Thomas. Michigan State took second with a 194.425 and UIC was third with a 190.125.

The team total was the highest for the Buckeyes since March 12, 2005 at Illinois when they scored just over a 195. The Buckeyes won bars with a 49.100 and floor with a 48.775, while posting a 48.725 on vault and a 48.250 on beam.

Moore-Thomas led the Buckeyes in three of four events and shared the team lead on the fourth event. She posted team-best scores of 9.875 on vault, a career-high 9.875 on bars and a career high on beam with a 9.80. Moore-Thomas’ 9.825 on floor tied for the team lead with junior Kaylan Clevinger, who posted a 38.65 in the all-around.

Sophomores Alyssa Meyer and Kiki Holman notched career highs with a 9.850 on bars, while Clevinger notched a new personal best with a 9.750. In the all-around, Meyer’s 38.950 was the best of her career and junior Jessica Rosette had the best night of her career with a 38.375. Rounding out the career highs was sophomore Amanda Surine with a personal best 9.725 on floor. In addition, Clevinger tied her career high on beam with a 9.750.

NEXT UP
The Buckeyes will host the U.S. Air Force Academy with a 7 p.m. meet Saturday. They will then head back on the road for two consecutive meets starting Feb. 17 at Pittsburgh and Feb. 24 at Penn State. Both meets will begin at 7 p.m.

### GO BUCKS! ###