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Jan. 18, 2005

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COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State men’s gymnastics team will open its home slate when it plays host to non-conference opponent Illinois-Chicago at 7 p.m. Saturday at St. John Arena.

This is the second meeting of the season between the No. 2 Buckeyes (4-1; 3-1 Big Ten) and the No. 12 Flames (0-5; 0-0 Eastern College Athletic Conference). Both teams participated in the 35th annual Windy City Invitational in Chicago. OSU completed the meet second (220.10), while UIC finished sixth (205.325).

AN OLYMPIAN APPEARANCE
U.S. National Team Members and 2000 and 2004 Olympians Morgan and Paul Hamm will be signing autographs prior to the Illinois-Chicago meet between 6-7 p.m. in the south concourse of St. John Arena.

FOCUSING ON THE FLAMES
After playing host to the Windy City Invitational, Illinois-Chicago is coming to Columbus following a bye week.

Senior Neil Faustino led the Flames at the invite with his fourth-place all-around finish, scoring a 53.35. The All-American also completed his vault routine .1 points (9.55) shy of Minnesota’s Guillermo Alvarez’s 9.65 to finish second.

Leading the Flames is head coach CJ Johnson. In his 31st year at the helm of UIC, Johnson helped lead Illinois-Chicago to its first Eastern College Athletic Conference title last season and was named 2004 NCAA East Region Coach of the year.

BUCKEYES VS. FLAMES
Ohio State leads Illinois-Chicago 26-2, including 15 consecutive wins in dual action. The last time OSU fell to UIC was in 1980. The Buckeyes suffered a 266.05-261.85 loss to the Flames Feb. 22.

A LOOK BACK – OSU VS. UIC (2004)
Then-No. 2 Ohio State defeated then-No. 8 Illinois-Chicago, 214.45 – 208.15, Jan. 24 at the UIC Physical Education Building in Chicago. OSU won all six events and at least two Buckeyes finished in the Top 3 in each rotation.

Freshman Willie Ito finished first on pommel horse (9.4) and Randy Monahan won the floor, vault and high bar titles, scoring a 9.1, 9.45 and 9.4, respectively. Cody Trobaugh recorded a 9.5 to win rings and posted a 9.1 to finish first on parallel bars.

The Buckeyes swept the Top 3 positions on parallel bars, with Trobaugh first, Nicholaus Searcy second, recording an 8.95, and Monahan third, scoring an 8.9.

Senior captain Jamey Houle recorded his second career high of the season on vault, posting a 9.15. Monahan captured his third-consecutive all-around title, scoring a 55.15.

LAST TIME OUT – MINNESOTA
The Buckeyes beat No. 9 Minnesota, 218.875-210.050, Jan. 15 at the Sports Pavilion in Minneapolis, Minn. The win marked the Buckeyes’ second-consecutive win over the Golden Gophers and ninth victory over Minnesota in the last 11 meetings. In the win, OSU captured every event. The last time the Buckeyes achieved such a feat was last season against Illinois-Chicago (Jan. 24, 2004).

Freshman DJ Bucher led the Buckeyes with two victories on pommel horse (9.575) and parallel bars (9.250). Bucher won the parallel bars rotation for the second-consecutive meet, as he claimed the parallel bars competition at the Windy City Invitational. Ronald Ferris held the top spot on high bar, scoring a 9.450. Senior Randy Monahan notched a 9.7 on rings to win his second successive rings title. Cody Trobaugh was the top vault finisher, tallying a 9.375.

At least two Buckeyes finished in the Top 3 on each event to help give Ohio State the victory. On parallel bars, OSU claimed the Top 5 spots and on high bar the Scarlet and Gray held the Top 4 spots.

WHO’S THE FRESHMAN?
In his first collegiate meet, freshman DJ Bucher re-wrote the Ohio State men’s gymnastics record books 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.

JUST ANOTHER DAY ON THE JOB
Just two meets into the season, five Buckeyes have already posted or tied their career highs. Sophomore Grant Osborne notched a 9.150 on floor vs. Minnesota to beat his former high of 9.0, which he recorded last year against Penn State. Nicholaus Searcy tied his career high of 9.1 on vault against Minnesota. Searcy posted a 9.1 on vault last season in the Buckeyes’ win over Illinois-Chicago.

During the Windy City Invitational Ronald Ferris matched his career high of 9.55 on pommel horse. Ferris tallied a 9.55 last season against Michigan. Randy Monahan’s 9.775 on rings bested his 9.7, compiled in Ohio State’s victory over Illinois in 2004. Cody Trobaugh scored a 9.3 on rings to tie his career high. Trobaugh last accomplished this feat last season vs. Penn State.

BUCKEYES IN THE RANKINGS
Two meets into the season, Ohio State is nationally ranked in the Top 3 in five of the six events. The Buckeyes are second on vault, averaging 37.525 points. OSU is third on floor (36.7), pommel horse (36.0), rings (37.7) and parallel bars (36.5). The Buckeyes are fifth on high bar, tallying a 36.15.

Individually, freshman DJ Bucher is first on parallel bars, compiling an OSU record 9.85. The former U.S. National Team Member also is ninth on rings (9.55). Senior Randy Monahan cracked the Top 5 in three events. Monahan is first on rings, averaging 9.775 points. The co-captain also is second and fifth on floor and vault, notching a 9.55 and 9.45, respectively. Junior Ronald Ferris is third on pommel horse, tallying an average score of 9.55. Senior co-captain Cody Trobaugh is eighth on vault (9.3) and 10th on floor (9.3), high bar (9.15) and parallel bars (9.3).

FIRST TIME FOR EVERYTHING
Sophomore Willie Ito completed his first collegiate all-around competition at the Windy City Invitational. Ito was the lone all-around competitor for the Buckeyes and scored a 52.75 to finish tied for sixth.

MAKING THEIR DEBUT
Five of the six Buckeye freshmen have competed in Ohio State’s first two meets of the season.

In addition to his first-place and OSU record 9.85 on parallel bars, DJ Bucher also finished fourth on rings (9.55) at the Windy City Invitational. The former U.S. National Team member concluded the meet vs. Minnesota first on pommel horse (9.575) and parallel bars (9.25).

Mike Marino posted personal bests at the Windy City Invitational on pommel horse (8.9 – t-8th), vault (9.0 – t-23rd) and parallel bars (8.5 – 27th).

Dave Ortiz recorded his OSU collegiate high on vault against Minnesota, tallying a 9.125 for a sixth place finish.

Pedro Pineda’s 8.95 on rings for an 18th-place tie at the Windy City Invitational is his personal best at Ohio State.

Jimmy Wickham has seen action on two events, notching a career high of 9.3 on vault for second place against Minnesota and an 8.4 on floor (t-28th) at the Windy City Invitational.

STARTING OFF STRONG
At the Windy City Invitational, the Buckeyes surpassed their team high score on rings from a year ago by .05 points. Last season against Michigan, Ohio State recorded a 37.650. At the Windy City, the Scarlet and Gray posted a 37.70.

SOARING TO NEW HEIGHTS
Last season Ohio State did not crack the 220 mark until the fourth meet of the season. Against Illinois, Jan. 31, 2004, the Buckeyes recorded a score of 220.20 and at the NCAA team championships, notched a team high 221.350. At the Windy City, OSU notched a 220.10, falling short of the 2004 team high by 1.25 points.

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
Ohio State will travel to Champaign, Ill., to face No. 1 Illinois in Big Ten action. The meet is scheduled to begin at 8 p.m. EST Jan. 29 at Huff Hall.

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.