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Feb. 3, 2005

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Columbus, Ohio – The No. 19 Ohio State women’s gymnastics team will take to the road this week to compete in a quad meet against No. 18 Kentucky, Ball State and George Washington. The meet, set to begin at 7 p.m. Feb. 4, will take place at Kentucky’s Memorial Coliseum in Lexington, Ky.

The Buckeyes enter this weekend’s meet with a 2-4 record and will be looking for their third consecutive victory over Kentucky in three years. This weekend also will mark Ohio State’s ninth meeting with Ball State and their fourth meet against George Washington.

LAST WEEK: OHIO STATE FINISHES SECOND AT TRI-MEET
Ohio State posted their best performance of the season, with a season-high score of 194.775, to place second in a tri-meet against No. 11 Oklahoma and Illinois State Jan. 29, in St. John Arena. Illinois State finished the evening with a score of 188.625 to finish third, while Oklahoma claimed the event with a score of 195.900.

Senior Liz Meaney and junior Kaylin Schelcht provided the scoring spark for the Buckeye rotation. Schlecht placed first on bars with a career-high score of 9.900 and finished fourth on beam with a mark of 9.825. Meaney finished first on beam for the third consecutive meet, tying a career-high with a 9.950.

Freshman Karley Walek continued her success competing as an all-arounder for the second consecutive week. Walek placed third in the all-around, with a career-high score of 39.100.

TWO MEETS TO BE LIVE INTERNET BROADCASTED
The Ohio State Athletics Department will feature the women’s gymnastics team on live internet video during the LSU meet, at 2 p.m. Feb. 20 and the Japan All-Star meet at 7 p.m. March 3. Fans can access the live video link by logging on to the official athletics website at www.ohiostatebuckeyes.com.

FRESHMAN MAKE AN IMMEDIATE IMPACT
The Buckeye freshmen have made their presence felt this season. In both of Ohio State’s meets, four first year competitors, Karley Walek, Amanda Gamby, Helina Manesis and Maalika Moore-Thomas, have competed in the scoring rotation.

Last Saturday, in her second meet as an all-around competitor, Walek posted a 39.100 for a third-place finish.

Manesis is averaging strong numbers with a 9.762 on bars, a 9.475 on floor and a 9.550 on vault.

Moore-Thomas is averaging a 9.760 on vault, a 9.737 on bars and a 9.525 on floor, while Gamby is averaging a 9.425 on vault.

Fellow freshman Megan Flood competed in the Buckeyes’ first meet of the year and posted a 9.300 on bars.

THE WORD ON THE WILDCATS
With a record of 1-3, the No. 18 Kentucky Wildcats are looking to rebound from a 194.100-194.000 loss to Auburn last weekend. Kentucky is averaging a team score of 193.975.

Kentucky is led by senior co-captain Michelle Gales. Gales is averaging a 38.725 all-around score and 9.837 on floor. Joining Gales is sophomore Rachel Riley, who leads the Wildcats in the all-around with a score of 38.875. Riley also is averaging a 9.700 on vault, floor and bars.

Mo Muhammad is the head coach of the Wildcats. In his second season with Kentucky, Muhammad carries a career record of 5-21.

OHIO STATE BEATS KENTUCKY TO OPEN 2004
Ohio State defeated Kentucky in the 2004 season opener by the score of 193.575 to 192.825, on Jan. 4, 2004. The Buckeyes were paced by Jill Weber, who placed first on floor with a score of 9.900 and won the all-around competition with a score of 38.675.

On vault, the Buckeyes were led by senior Tiffanie Janke, registering a score of 9.900 for first place. Bethany Groskopf placed second on the uneven bars with a 9.750 and Elizabeth Meaney placed first on the balance beam with a score of 9.850.

GEORGE WASHINGTON AT A GLANCE
George Washington enters this weekend’s meet with a record of 5-4. The Colonials are averaging a team score of 189.312.

The Colonials are led by juniors Erin Aiken and Heather Kaufmann. Aiken leads the Colonials in the all-around, averaging a 37.650, while Kauffmann has the second highest all-around average with a 37.225.

Margie Foster-Cunningham is currently in her 20th season as the head coach for George Washington. Foster-Cunningham holds a career record of 358-219 and has won five Atlantic-10 championships.

A LOOK AT BALL STATE
Ball State will look to improve on a 2-7 record this weekend in Lexington, Ky. Last weekend the Cardinals fell to Kent State 194.775- 190.225.

Leading the Cardinal attack is sophomore Jenna Turkington and senior Jessica Surridge. Turkington is averaging an all-arounde score of 38.206 and a 9.781 on vault. Surridge is averaging a team-leading 38.600 all-around score and a 9.600 on vault, bars, beam and floor.

Mary Roth is the head coach for Ball State. Roth is ion her 20th year and owns a 168-192 career record.

LAST TIME VS. BALL STATE: BUCKEYES DOWN CARDINALS IN 2001
Led by Sarah Spring, Ohio State posted a 193.500-192.900 victory over Ball State Jan. 12, 2001, at St. John Arena. Spring captured the all-around title with a 39.050 and also won the floor exercise with a score of 9.925.

BUCKEYES CLIMBING THE RANKS
A pair of Buckeyes, Liz Meaney and Maalika Moore-Thomas, find themselves ranked among the nation’s and region’s best on balance beam. Meaney, who is averaging a 9.883 on beam, is ranked fifth in the GymInfo beam national rankings and second in the GymInfo Central Region ranking. Moore-Thomas’ 9.775 beam average is good for 10th-place in the Central Region.

MOVIN ON UP
The Buckeyes continue their climb in the top-25 rankings this week. The latest GymInfo rankings have Ohio State rated No. 19, which is an increase of two spots from last week when they were ranked No. 21.

Currently eight of Ohio State’s opponents are ranked in the top-25 with No. 2 Michigan and No. 4 LSU ranked in the top-5.

HOME SWEET HOME
The Buckeyes have enjoyed success in meets held at St. John Arena. Since the 1994 season, Ohio State is 44-16 at home. The Buckeyes also have won five of their last eight home meets dating back to the 2003 All-Ohio Championships.

OHIO STATE VS. THE BIG TEN
The Buckeyes are 80-76-1 against teams from the Big Ten. Last season Ohio State finished 0-2-1 against conference foes, falling to Illinois and Michigan State while tying Penn State.

2005 SEASON OUTLOOK: LOOKS CAN BE DECEIVING
At first glance, the 2005 Buckeyes seem to be a team with the appearance of a rebuilding year. Of the 10 competitors returning this season only three – senior Elizabeth Meaney, junior Kaylin Schlecht and sophomore Brittany Livingston – saw action as all-around competitors last season.

Leading the Buckeyes this season in almost every event will be Meaney, who is the Buckeyes’ top returning all-arounder. In 2004 she averaged a 38.910 in the all-around in nine meets.

On floor the Buckeyes will be led by Meaney and Livingston. Meaney competed on floor in every meet last year and posted a 9.850 or higher 12 times while averaging a 9.850. Livingston, meanwhile, posted consistent numbers for the Buckeyes competing in 10 meets, averaging a 9.750. Joining Meaney and Livingston will be senior Jenni Lymanstall, who averaged a 9.780 on floor in 2004. The Buckeyes also will look to Schlecht to provide added depth on floor.

As strong as the Buckeyes are on floor they will be equally as strong on beam. Once again Meaney will be the top returning competitor. She posted scores of 9.800 or better in 10 of her 12 performances last season.

On vault Ohio State features some very talented performers with Meaney again providing the scoring spark as she averaged a team-best 9.900 competing on vault in every meet. Meaney will be joined by sophomore Elizabeth Ahlberg, who made an immediate impact for the Buckeyes in 2004, competing in every meet averaging a 9.710.

Junior Leah Boccaccio is Ohio State’s top returning bars competitor. She had a break-out season last year as she scored a 9.800 or higher in four of the eight meets she competed in, and also averaged a team-best 9.780 in 2004.

FRESH FACES
The Buckeyes have much to celebrate with their 2005 recruiting class. The five-member scholarship class will bolster an Ohio State squad.

The Ohio State freshman class features two top Florida gymnasts in Jessica Rosette and Maalika Moore-Thomas, who will provide the Buckeyes with depth as all-arounders.

Shawnee, Mo., native Kaylan Clevinger will give the Buckeyes an added boost in the all-around as well. Having only been involved in gymnastics for a little over six years, Clevinger won the 2003 Level-9 Junior Olympics National Championship on vault, beam, floor and all-around before moving onto Level-10 in 2004, where she was runner-up in the Level-10 Missouri State Championships.

Karley Walek of Pequannock, N.J., will be looked upon to help Ohio State improve on vault. Walek is a three-time all-state selection and a 2004 Junior Olympic competitor.

Another New Jersey native, Helina Manesis will provide the Buckeyes with a spark in every event. Manesis won the state vault title in 2003.

Fagan also added Canonsburgh, Penn., product Megan Flood and Landisville Pa. native Amanda Gamby to the 2005 roster.

Louisiana State University transfer Brittany Brown joins the roster as well this season. Brown, a junior, will no doubt make an impact to the Buckeye season as an all-arounder. During her sophomore campaign at LSU, Brown averaged a 9.860 on floor and a 9.775 on beam.

THE FAGAN ERA BEGINS
Last June long time Ohio State women’s gymnastics coach Larry Cox retired from the ranks of head coach after 251 wins, five Big Ten championships and 24 trips to the NCAA Regional Championships. Enter newly appointed head coach Carey Fagan. After spending the last three seasons as an assistant coach for Ohio State, Fagan is now the head coach for the Buckeyes and 2005 will mark the beginning of the Fagan Era, as she inherits a team which went 9-7-1 in 2004.

“I am extremely excited to be here as head coach,” Fagan, a graduate of Penn State University, said. “We have a great team with loads of talent. It is a new beginning for us all.”

FAGAN TAPS SANTOS AND LORENZ AS ASSISTANT COACHES
Jay Santos and William Lorenz were named assistant coaches by head caoch Carey Fagan for the 2005 season in August.

Santos, a 1995 graduate of UMass, joins Fagan’s staff after four successful years as the women’s team director of the Somersault Gymnastics Center in Stoughton, Mass.

Lorenz comes to Columbus after spending the last two seasons as an assistant women’s gymnastics coach at Penn State, where he was coordiantor of the conditioning and recruiting programs. Lorenz is a 1997 graduate of UMass.

GYMNASTS VOLUNTEER FOR THE COMMUNITY
Members of the women’s gymnastics team volunteered at the Holy Family Soup Kitchen in downtown Columbus, Ohio on December 29, 2004. While volunteering the squad and its coaching staff served food and bagged groceries for people in need. In all, 280 meals were served throughout the day.

“It was a really humbling experience for us and the people we helped were very grateful,” Carey Fagan, Ohio State head coach, said. “You think you know what a soup kitchen is like and you think you know what to expect, but it’s still shocking when you see it, especially the families.”

Fagan and her team wanted to begin a tradition of doing community service projects. After talking to members of the Ohio State Student Athlete Support Services Offices the team decided working a soup kitchen was an excellent idea.

NEXT UP
Ohio State returns home next week and will host Pittsburgh at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 10 in St. John Arena.