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Feb. 8, 2005

Columbus, Ohio – The No. 23 Ohio State women’s gymnastics team continues its season Saturday with a meet against Pittsburgh at 7 p.m. in St. John Arena. The meet begins a two-week home stretch for the Buckeyes as they host No. 3 LSU Feb. 20 in St. John Arena.

LAST WEEK: OHIO STATE FINISHES SECOND AT QUAD-MEET Ohio State placed second at a quad-meet against No. 18 Kentucky, George Washington and Ball State, Feb. 4, in Lexington, Ky. The Buckeyes finished the meet with a team score of 193.000 to edge Ball State (191.025) and George Washington (191.150). Kentucky placed first with a mark of 195.525.

Liz Meaney led the Buckeyes with a first-place finish on beam. Meaney posted a score of 9.825 to claim her fourth consecutive beam crown this season. Meaney also placed fifth on bars with a score of 9.800. Kaylin Schlecht continued her strong season with a second-place 9.850 mark on bars.

Karley Walek competed as an all-arounder for the third consecutive meet this season and tallied a score of 38.450 to take fourth-place.

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, Jessica Rosette and Maalika Moore-Thomas, have competed in the scoring rotation. Last Friday, in her third meet as an all-around competitor, Walek posted a score of 38.575 for a second-place finish.

Rosette has competed as an all-arounder in two meets this season as an all-arounder and is averaging a score of 37.675. Rosette also averages scores of 9.543 on vault, 9.291 on bars, 9.550 on beam and 9.475 on floor.

Manesis is averaging strong numbers with a 9.587 on bars, a 9.612 on floor and a 9.566 on vault.

Moore-Thomas is averaging a 9.606 on vault, a 9.731 on bars and a 9.616 on floor, while Gamby is averaging a 9.425 on vault.

Fellow freshman Megan Flood has competed in two meets this year on bars and is averaging a 9.408.

PROFILING THE PANTHERS

Pittsburgh comes to Columbus touting a 3-4 record on the season and averaging a team score of 188.512. Last week the Panthers took second in a quad meet against Rutgers, Brown and SUNY-Brockport.

Sophomore Andrea Arlotta is the leading scorer for the Panthers. Arlotta averages a 37.812 in the all-around as well as averages of 9.531 on vault, 9.387 on bars, 9.268 on beam and a 9.631 on floor.

Debbie Yohman currently is in her 22nd season as head coach of the Panthers. Yohman holds a career record of 213-289-1.

OHIO STATE-PITTSBURGH: THE SERIES

Ohio State holds a 14-3 record against Pittsburgh. Since 1979 the Buckeyes are 6-2 at home and 4-1 in Pittsburgh. The Buckeyes have won the last two meetings.

LAST TIME VS. PITTSBURGH: BUCKEYES DOWN PANTHERS IN 2004

Ohio State defeated Maryland and Pittsburgh in a tri-meet Jan. 10, 2004, in St. John Arena. The Buckeyes tallied a score of 193.775 edging the Panthers, who scored 193.450 and the Terrapins, who scored 192.825.

The Buckeyes were led by Tiffanie Janke, who placed first in the floor exercise competition with a score of 9.850, and the vault competition, scoring a 9.925. Senior Megan Porter also contributed to the Buckeyes success, placing first on balance beam with a score of 9.825.

BUCKEYES CLIMBING THE RANKS

A trio of Buckeyes, Liz Meaney, Kaylin Schlecht and Maalika Moore-Thomas, find themselves ranked among the nation’s and region’s best on balance beam. Meaney, who is averaging a 9.869 on beam, is ranked fifth in the GymInfo beam national rankings and second in the GymInfo Central Region ranking.

Schlecht is rated eighth on beam in the Central Region with an average score of 9.787, while Moore-Thomas’ 9.731 beam average is good for 16th-place in the Central Region.

OHIO STATE IN THE TOP-25

The Buckeyes fell four spots to No. 23 in this week’s GymInfo Top-25. Currently eight of Ohio State’s opponents are ranked in the Top-25 with No. 2 Michigan and No. 3 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.

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 IN FULL EFFECT

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.

COACH FAGAN ON THIS WEEK’S MEET

“We are improving in the gym every day,” Fagan said, “We need to carry over that improvement in to our competitions. This weekend against Pitt we need to rebound from the mistakes we made at Kentucky and hit all four events.”

NEXT UP

Ohio State remains home next week and will host LSU at 7p.m. Feb. 20 in St. John Arena.