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Feb. 16, 2005

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COLUMBUS, Ohio – The No. 2 Ohio State men’s gymnastics team (8-1-1; 4-1-1 Big Ten) returns home to face No. 11 Nebraska (11-4) at 7 p.m. Friday at St. John Arena.

This is the 20th meeting between the Buckeyes and the Cornhuskers with OSU trailing Nebraska, 9-10. Last season Nebraska defeated OSU 214.925-213.475 in Lincoln, Neb., at the Devaney Center Feb. 15, 2004.

ON THE CORNHUSKERS
Nebraska is coming off a 224.050-212.650 loss to No. 3 Oklahoma Feb. 13. Before the defeat, the Cornhuskers finished in the Top 3 at the West Point Open and Rocky Mountain Open. The squad recorded a 210.80 at the West Point Open to place third out of 10. At the conclusion of the Rocky Mountain Open, the Cornhuskers tallied a 206.625 to place second out of six teams.

Senior co-captain Tony Burtle and sophomore Paul Chumreonlert lead the Cornhuskers. Burtle opened the season at the Rocky Mountain Open with a career-high 9.1 on high bar. The Grand Island, Neb., native followed the performance with a pair of third-place finishes on vault (9.3) and high bar (9.1) at the event finals of the Rocky Mountain Open. Chumreonlert claimed his first collegiate event title at the Rocky Mountain Open with his score of 9.45 on pommel horse. The sophomore continued his success at the West Point Open event finals where he scored a career-best 9.6 on pommel horse for second-place.

Francis Allen is at the helm of the Cornhuskers. In his 35 years Allen has compiled a 193-106-3 record and eight NCAA titles, which makes him the second-winningest coach in the nation. (Penn State’s Gene Wettstone is first with nine NCAA titles).

LAST TIME OUT – CAL/STANFORD
Ohio State tallied a 215.350 to top California and Stanford at the Kazuki Nakamori Invitational Feb. 12 at Haas Pavilion in Berkeley, Calif. The No. 7 Golden Bears were second with a score of 214.450 and the No. 8 Cardinal came in third, recording a 213.950.

Four Buckeyes captured four of the six events with sophomore Grant Osborne leading the way with a first-place finish on pommel horse (9.4) and a third-place tie on floor (9.075). Willie Ito notched a 9.65 to claim high bar. The freshman duo of Jimmy Wickham and Pejman Ebrahimi compiled a 9.5 and a 9.550 on vault and parallel bars, respectively to finish first and tied for first. Kristopher Kline scored a season high 9.15 on pommel horse for a third-place finish and Nicholaus Searcy’s 9.3 on parallel bars placed him third.

THIRD TIME THE CHARM
With the win over Cal and Stanford, Ohio State earned its first tri-meet win since 2002. The Buckeyes tallied a score of 217.225 to defeat Iowa and Minnesota March 9, 2002.

MAKING HIS DEBUT
Sophomore Jahir Johnson competed in his first meet for the Buckeyes in the Kazuki Nakamori Invitational. Johnson recorded an 8.7 on pommel horse in the OSU win.

SAVING THE BEST FOR THE ROAD
With its mark of 223.4 vs. Illinois Jan. 29, Ohio State recorded the highest team score in the NCAA on the road since 2000.

The record previously was held by Penn State, who tallied a 221.875 at Oklahoma.

HOLDING STRONG
Freshman DJ Bucher compiled the highest score of the meet vs. Illinois when he tallied a first-place 9.85 on rings. Bucher also was the only gymnast to score above a 9.7 on two events, as he scored a 9.725 on parallel bars.

SECOND TIME AROUND
Sophomore Willie Ito notched another OSU all-time event high when he scored a 9.675 on pommel horse vs. Illinois Jan. 29, 2005 to surpass his own record of 9.65 from a year ago.

BUCKEYES IN THE RANKINGS
Nationally, the Buckeyes are ranked in the Top 3 in five of six events. OSU is second on pommel horse (36.290) and high bar (36.760), and is third on floor (36.495), vault (36.970) and parallel bars (36.485). Ohio State also is fourth on rings, averaging 37.320 points a meet.

Individually, Ohio State is the only team in the country that has two gymnasts ranked in the top spot in their respective disciplines. Freshman DJ Bucher is first on parallel bars averaging 9.625 points. Senior co-captain Randy Monahan is first on rings, compiling 9.762 points. Monahan also holds the fifth spot on floor (9.406). Ronald Ferris is third in the nation on pommel horse and sophomore Willie Ito is fourth on high bar (9.420). Senior Cody Trobaugh is tied for fifth on rings, tallying 9.587 points a meet.

IN THE BIG TEN
In the league, the Buckeyes are the top team on high bar and are second in the conference on pommel horse and parallel bars. On floor, rings and vault, OSU ranks third.

DJ Bucher and Randy Monahan continue to be the No. 1 parallel bars and rings competitors. In addition to being third in the nation on pommel horse, Ronald Ferris also is third on the apparatus in the conference. Cody Trobaugh’s average of 9.587 points on rings places him third in the league.

SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT
In the win over Illinois-Chicago Jan. 22, Ohio State set three all-time event records. The Buckeyes surpassed their former team highs of 37.15 on pommel horse, 38.25 on rings and 38.0 on high bar by scoring a 37.4, 38.475 (a former team high, as they recorded a 38.55 on rings vs. Illinois Jan. 29, 2005) and 38.4, respectively.

Buckeyes Willie Ito and Randy Monahan also notched Ohio State records in the meet against UIC.

Ito scored a 9.9 on high bar to beat Monahan’s 9.85, which he tallied last year vs. Minnesota.

Monahan compiled a 9.925 on rings, besting Daren Lynch’s 9.8 from 2001.

Both the team highs and individual scores are Ohio State all-time records since 2001, when tougher NCAA rules were implemented. Prior to 2000, the team highs on pommel horse, rings and high bar were 39.0, 39.175 and 39.3. Individually, David Eckert (1996) holds the rings record with a 10.0 and current Ohio State Assistant Coach Doug Stibel (1997) is the record-holder on high bar with a score of 10.0.

WHO’S THE FRESHMAN?
In his first collegiate meet, freshman DJ Bucher re-wrote the Ohio State men’s gymnastics record book with his 9.85 and first-place parallel bars finish at the Windy City Invitational. The Mason, Ohio, native owns the individual OSU record on parallel bars, surpassing Raj Bhavsar’s 9.650, which he tallied at the 2001 NCAA Championships. Both scores are records under the scoring system implemented after the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games.

TAKING CHARGE
OSU swept all six events for two-consecutive meets earlier in the season. Ohio State claimed every event against No. 9 Minnesota Jan. 15. In the win over then-No. 12 Illinois-Chicago, the Buckeyes continued their streak, winning each event.

Last season, Ohio State swept all six events only once (Illinois-Chicago).

FIRST TIME FOR EVERYTHING
Sophomore Willie Ito and freshman Mike Marino completed their first collegiate all-around competition. At the Windy City Invitational Ito was the lone all-around competitor for the Buckeyes, scoring a 52.75 to finish tied for sixth. Against Illinois-Chicago, Marino recorded a 51.95 to place second.

2005 CAPTAINS
Seniors Randy Monahan and Cody Trobaugh were selected team captains for the 2005 season by their teammates.

The honor is the first for Trobaugh and the second for Monahan. The Elizabethtown, Pa., native served as co-captain last season.

UP NEXT
The Buckeyes return to the road to face No. 5 and 2004 NCAA Champion Penn State. The meet is scheduled for 7 p.m. Feb. 26 at the Recreation Building in University Park, Pa.

FIND OUT ON THE WEB
Keep track of the latest men’s gymnastics news, scores and stats by logging on to the official Ohio State athletic website at ohiostatebuckeyes.com.