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Jan. 26, 2005

Columbus, Ohio – The No. 21 Ohio State women’s gymnastics team (1-3, 0-2 Big Ten) returns home this weekend to host a tri-meet against No. 11 Oklahoma and Illinois State at 7 p.m. Saturday in St. John Arena. This marks the first time since 2002 Ohio State has faced Oklahoma.

LAST WEEK: OHIO STATE FALLS TO MICHIGAN STATE
Ohio State fell just short of No.11 Michigan State 194.325-194.775, Saturday, in East Lansing, Mich. Led by Karley Walek, who claimed the all-around with a score of 38.925, the Buckeyes notched scores of 48.925 on bars, 48.800 on beam, 48.700 on vault and 48.350 on floor.

Walek finished the meet placing second on bars with a mark of 9.800 and finishing tied for third-place on floor with teammate Brittany Brown with a score of 9.800. Freshman Maalika Moore-Thomas posted strong numbers as well, placing second on vault with a 9.775.

Liz Meaney finished second on beam with a score of 9.850, while teammate Kaylin Schelcht posted a 9.825 on beam to finish third. Jessica Rossette improved 1.275 points from her all-around performance last week with a 38.275 to place third in the all-around.

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.

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 first meet as an all-around competitor, Walek posted a 38.275 for a first-place finish.

Manesis is averaging strong numbers with a 9.762 on 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 OUTLOOK ON OKLAHOMA
Oklahoma enters this weekend’s meet with a 5-0 record and ranked No. 11 in the nation. Last Saturday the Sooners downed Kent State,194.800-188.475.

The Sooners are paced by senior co-captain Erin LaBarr. LaBarr has won the balance beam title in her last two meets and is averaging a 39.116 all-around score. Joining LaBarr is sophomore Ashley Cooney. Cooney is averaging a 9.866 on both bars and floor.

Steve Nunno is in his fifth year as head coach of the Sooners. Nunno, a two-time U.S. Olympic coach, has compiled a 80-41 career record while at Oklahoma.

OHIO STATE FALLS TO OKLAHOMA IN 2002
Ohio State dropped a 196.475-193.55 decision to Oklahoma Jan. 20, 2002 at the Lloyd Noble Center in Norman, Okla.

Shelly Harris competed in the all-around for the first time and was solid, posting a score of 38.675. The score earned her a third-place standing in the all-around competition.

Mary Beth Doerr had OSU’s best individual event finish, as she took fourth place on uneven bars with a 9.8.

RANKING THE REDBIRDS
Illinois State posted their first win of the season, edging out Wisconsin-Eau Claire, 190.275-185.600, Jan. 21, and improved to 1-6 on the year.

Junior Megan Goetting leads the Redbirds this season. Goetting is averaging a 9.700 on floor and a 9.610 on beam. Last weekend Goetting placed first on beam at the Cardinal Classic.

Head coach Kristen Montero is in her second season with Illinois State. Montero holds a career record of 5-30.

OSU DEFEATS ILLINOIS STATE IN 2004
Ohio State defeated Illinois State but fell to Illinois, Jan. 31, 2004, in Columbus, Ohio. The Buckeyes tallied 194.550 points to edge the Redbirds, who scored 190.175. Illinois tallied 194.850 points to claim the meet.

The Buckeyes were led by Elizabeth Meaney, who won the all-around competition with a score of 39.450, and the floor exercise competition, with a career-high score of 9.950. Senior Tiffanie Janke also posted a strong evening by claiming victories in the vault competition, with a score of 9.850, and the balance beam competition, with a career-high tying 9.950.

Jenni Lymanstall posted a career-high 9.875 on the floor exercise to claim third place in the competition. Kaylin Schlecht also set a career-high score in the floor exercise competition, posting a 9.850 to place fifth.

COACH FAGAN ON THE UPCOMING MEET
“We are excited to compete against two talented teams in Oklahoma and Illinois State,” Fagan said. “Oklahoma has had a great start to the season and are a national power house. We have made some adjustments to our line-ups and will hopefully improve on the start we have had this season. We still have several athletes who will be returning to competition after injuries in the preseason, and these additions will help us on every event.”

HOME SWEET HOME
The Buckeyes have enjoyed success in meets held at St. John Arena. Since the 1994 season, Ohio State is 43-15 at home. The Buckeyes also have won five of their last seven 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 coordinator of the conditioning and recruiting programs. Lorenz is a 1997 graduate of UMass.

NEXT UP
The Buckeyes will travel to meet No. 18 Kentucky and Bowling Green, at 7 p.m. Feb. 4, in Lexington Ky.