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Feb. 5, 2003

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COLUMBUS, Ohio-The No. 25 Ohio State women’s gymnastics team (3-2, 2-1) will seek its third-consecutive victory at 7 p.m. Saturday when they play host to the Ball State Cardinals (8-6) at St John Arena.

BUCKEYES RANKED NO. 25 Following their win over Illinois (2-1), the Buckeyes are currently ranked No. 25 in the latest national rankings released by GymInfo. Ohio State has posted an average score of 193.875 and a season-high score of 195.875. The Buckeyes are one of six Big Ten schools ranked in the Top 30. The Buckeyes are ranked No. 6 in the latest GymInfo Central Region Poll.

QUOTE FROM THE COACH “After a successful road trip it will be nice to come home and further our efforts to the road of qualifying to the NCAA,” Larry Cox, OSU head coach, said. “Every meet counts for us from this point out. Even though there is more weight put on doing well on the road, good home performances are a part of the formula as well.”

LAST TIME AGAINST THE CARDINALS Led by a career-best performance from Sarah Spring, the Buckeyes posted a 193.500-192.900 victory over Ball State Jan. 12, 2001. Spring captured the all-around title with a career-high 39.050 and also won the floor exercise with a career-best 9.925.

Ohio State tied a school record on uneven bars, recording a score of 49.250 to tie the mark, previously set at Michigan Feb. 22, 1997. All five scoring Buckeyes set or tied career highs with at least a 9.8 on the apparatus, led by Mary Beth Doerr and Lindsey Vagedes, who each earned scores of 9.9. Vagedes’ mark set a career high, while Doerr’s score tied her career best. A LOOK AT BALL STATE After opening the season with a win over Western Michigan, the Cardinals placed third in a quad meet with West Virginia, Kent State and Pittsburgh. Ball State also placed third in a quad meet with Illinois, Auburn and Northern Illinois. The Cardinals were successful in the Cardinal Classic placing second among seven teams.

Junior Quiana Williams is the driving force behind the Cardinals. She owns a total of nine top 15 scores at Ball State on beam, vault and floor. Sophomore Jessica Surridge has also contributed greatly to the Cardinals. As a freshman she competed in 11 meets, primarily on vault and has logged five top-five finishes in the event. Surridge set a personal best on bars with a score of 9.825 good for a first place tie at the Cardinal Classic Jan. 24.

COX IN 24TH YEAR Ohio State head coach Larry Cox is in his 24th year as the head coach of the women’s gymnastics team and has the third-longest tenure among the 30 varsity head coaches at Ohio State. One of the country’s most prominent women’s gymnastics collegiate coaches, Cox has guided Ohio State to a NCAA Regional appearance in each of his 23 seasons at the helm. He led the Buckeyes to five-consecutive Big Ten titles between 1983-87. During that same decade, Cox’s squads finished no lower than third in the Big Ten, except in 1980 and 1988. His squads also won six NCAA Regional titles, advancing to the NCAA Championships between 1983-90. Prior to the NCAA Championships, Cox guided his squad to seven-consecutive OAISW tournaments, finishing first in 1980, ’81 and ’82. Cox earned co-Big Ten Coach of the Year honors in 2001, leading the Buckeyes to a 13-3 dual-meet record. The Buckeyes set several school records while earning another berth in the NCAA Tournament.

BUCKEYE NOTES Leading the way for the Buckeyes this season are two freshman, Jill Weber and Shelby Warner. Weber, who is coming off a stellar performance against Illinois, has set team-high scores on vault (9.875 vs. MSU), bars (9.875 vs. Illinois) and in the all-around (39.275 vs. MSU). Warner has led OSU on the floor exercise, recording consecutive 9.900 scores against Maryland and Michigan State.

Megan Porter and Kaylin Schlecht have shined for the Buckeyes on the uneven bars. Porter recorded a career-high score of 9.825 against Maryland while Schlecht led the Buckeyes on bars against the Spartans with a 9.800, also her career-high.

On beam, Tiffanie Janke and Elizabeth Meaney tied their career-high with 9.900 scores against the Spartans.

FRESHMEN CONTINUE TO SHINE The Buckeye freshmen class is off to an impressive start to begin their collegiate career.

Jill Weber, who had a career-best 39.275 in a recent victory over Big Ten rival Michigan State, has been the ring leader of this outstanding freshman class. She holds three out of five individual season high scores for the Buckeyes.

Shelby Warner has also opened eyes as of late. The Fenton, Mich native has scored a 9.900 twice already in her young career.

Kaylin Schlecht and Emily Sineway are contributing greatly to the Buckeyes success also. Schlecht had an impressive outing against Illinois where she scored a 9.800 on floor and a 9.750 on vault. Sineway currently holds the individual season best on floor after her 9.985 performance versus Michigan State.

Leah Boccaccio competed in her first meet against Illinois posting a score of 9.625 on vault. Kyla Watson has yet to compete.

TOUGH ROAD AHEAD The Buckeyes have nine opponents ranked in the current Top 30 on their 2003 schedule. Topping the list is No. 2 Nebraska who the Buckeyes will face at home at 7 p.m. Feb. 14. Other current Top 30 teams on Ohio State’s schedule include meets at No. 17 Penn State (Feb. 22) and at No. 19 Kent State March 15. Ranked Big Ten foes not on OSU’s regular season schedule but will face at the Big Ten Championships include No. 24 Minnesota, No. 18 Iowa and No. 26 Michigan State. Top 30 teams OSU has already faced this season include defeats at No. 7 Michigan (Jan. 11) and then No. 23 N.C. State and a victories over then No. 30 Michigan State Jan. 25 and over No. 27 Illinois on Saturday.

FIRST OF TWO HOME MEETS The Buckeyes will remain home to host No. 2 Nebraska 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 14 at St. John Arena after this weeks showdown with Ball State. Ohio State then hits the road for three-consecutive meets at Pittsburgh (2-16), Penn State (2-22) and Utah State (2-28).

FIRST COME, FIRST SERVE The first 500 fans through the doors on Friday, Feb. 14, Valentine’s Day, will receive a special Valentine’s Day gift as the Buckeyes take on No. 2 Nebraska. There will be an autograph session after the Nebraska meet and after the All-Ohio Championships March 8. Both meets are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.

FAGAN JOINS COACHING STAFF Carey Fagan, a native of North Canton, Ohio, was added to the women’s gymnastics coaching staff in early December. Fagan replaces Nina Dent who spent seven seasons as an assistant for the Buckeyes.

Fagan graduated from Penn State in 1998 where she was a four-year member of the gymnastics team. While at Penn State, Fagan was a three-year letterwinner, serving as captain her senior year in 1998. Fagan was a member of the NCAA Northeast regional championship team from 1995-1998 and competed at the NCAA championships in 1995, 96 and 98. In high school, she was a member of the 1993 Region Five Level 9 National Team and was a U.S. Championship qualifier in 1991.

FOLLOW THE BUCKEYES ONLINE Information on the Ohio State women’s gymnastics team and the 35 other Buckeye sports is available online at the official website of the Ohio State Athletic Department, ohiostatebuckeyes.com.

NEXT UP The Buckeyes will return home next Saturday when they play host to Ball State at 7 p.m. in St. John Arena. The following Saturday (Feb. 14) the Buckeyes will take on No. 2 Nebraska on Valentine’s Day. Both meets are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.