Jan. 16, 2015

Weekly Release 


COLUMBUS, Ohio – The No. 3 Ohio State men’s gymnastics team is set to open the 2015 regular season at the 45th-annual Windy City Invitational Saturday at the UIC Pavilion in Chicago. The meet is scheduled for a 7:30 p.m. CT/8:30 p.m. ET start and includes competition from No. 2 Michigan, No. 5 Illinois, No. 7 Minnesota, No. 9 Iowa and 16th-ranked UIC, the host institution.

No. 4 Ohio State earned a second-place tie with No. 5 Illinois at the 2014 Windy City Invitational. The Buckeyes totaled a final overall score of 436.050 to finish the season-opening meet tied with the Fighting Illini for the second consecutive season.

No. 1 Michigan claimed first place with a team score of 437.500. No. 9 Minnesota placed fourth (424.800), No. 8 Iowa (417.700) placed fifth and host institution UIC rounded out the competition in sixth place (395.500).

Michael Newburger scored a career-high and school-record 16.250 on pommel horse to earn the all-time best record on the event, while Larry Mayer tied the all-time best record on vault with his career-high and school-record score of 15.800.

Ohio State enters the season ranked No. 3 in the College Gymnastics Association (CGA) Preseason National Rankings, the second-consecutive season the Buckeyes have received a Top 5 ranking in the poll. The Buckeyes represent one of seven Big Ten schools ranked within the Top 10 as Michigan (No. 2), Illinois (No. 5), Penn State (No. 6), Minnesota (No. 7), Iowa (No. 9) and Nebraska (No. 10) also received votes.
Ohio State was named the preseason favorite in the Big Ten Conference in a poll of league coaches.
Two-time defending national champion Michigan was voted second overall. Illinois was ranked third, followed by Penn State and Minnesota. Iowa and Nebraska completed the preseason rankings in sixth and seventh place, respectively.

Junior Jake Martin and sophomore Sean Melton were named Big Ten Gymnasts to Watch for the 2015 season.

Martin was a two-event All-American and the Big Ten champion on vault for the Scarlet and Gray in 2014. A native of Oviedo, Fla., Martin represented the Buckeyes at the P&G championships this summer.

A four-event All-American, two-time Big Ten champion and the 2014 Big Ten Freshman of the Year, Melton won a bronze medal in the all-around and team gold with the U.S. Senior National Team at the Senior Pan American championships in August. The Orlando, Fla., product also placed 11th at the P&G championships and collected a total of four medals at the Pan American Olympic Festival during the summer.

Senior Drew Moling, junior Alex Johnson and Melton were named team captains for the 2014-15 season.

The Buckeyes will be led by a trio of captains for only the fifth time in the history of the program. The first time the squad featured three captains was 2001, when the Buckeyes won the third national championship in program history.

Moling was a 2013-14 team captain for the Buckeyes, who placed fifth overall at the NCAA championships and earned runner-up honors at the Big Ten finals. A native of Canal Winchester, Ohio, Moling competed at the P&G championships last month and finished 10th on rings at the 2014 NCAA Championships. He was the 2013 winner of the Big Ten Sportsmanship Award.

Johnson earned All-America honors on the high bar as a sophomore in 2014 and represented the Buckeyes at the P&G championships in August.  A Marysville, Ohio, product, Johnson was the 2014 recipient of the Big Ten Sportsmanship Award.

A four-event All-American, two-time Big Ten champion and the 2014 Big Ten Freshman of the Year, Melton won a bronze medal in the all-around and team gold with the U.S. Senior National Team at the Senior Pan American championships in August. The Orlando, Fla., product also placed 11th at the P&G championships and collected a total of four medals at the Pan American Olympic Festival during the summer.

Three 2014 All-Americans return to the squad this year in Melton (all-around, high bar, parallel bars, vault), Martin (all-around, vault) and Johnson (high bar). In addition, senior Danny Steiner is a two-time All-American on floor exercise (2013 & 2012).

Ohio State welcomes the addition of nine freshmen to the team this season: Evan Bluemel, Seth Delbridge, Samuel DeWitt, Josh Hurwitz, Brandon Jacoby, Ryan Lemezis, Cody Teaney, Meyer Williams and Alexander Wilson. In addition, Evan Eigner, a junior, transferred from Temple this offseason.

U.S. Junior National Team members Alec Yoder and Tristan Burke have signed National Letters of Intent to enroll at Ohio State and compete beginning in 2016.

Yoder is a 12-time medalist in international competition and recently finished third in the all-around at the 2014 Youth Olympic Games in Naning, China, and second in the all-around at the 2014 Pacific Rim Championships in Richmond, Canada. He won a national title on pommel horse and placed sixth in the all-around in the 15-16 age group at the 2013 P&G Championships.

Burke is the 2014 U.S. all-around champion in the 15-16 age group, having claimed the national title at the 2014 P&G Championships in Pittsburgh, Pa. He was fifth in the all-around at the 2014 Junior Olympic National Championships and sixth at the same event in 2013.

Gray defeated Scarlet, 271.200-263.600, in the annual December intrasquad meet, earning its third win in the exhibition contest in the last four seasons. The Top-3 scores per team on each apparatus counted toward the final results.

Four of six events – high bar, floor exercise, vault and pommel horse – were won Martin, who turned in a high score of 15.80 on high bar.

Moling, captain of Team Scarlet, posted the top score of the meet – a 15.90 – to take first place on rings. Melton, representing Scarlet, was victorious on parallel bars with a score of 15.70. He also tied Martin for first on floor with a 15.60.

Former Buckeye Misha Koudinov placed 50th overall in the all-around competition during qualification rounds at the 2014 Artistic Gymnastics World Championships in Nanning, China, Oct. 4.

Koudinov, a 2012 All-American and 2013 team captain for the Ohio State men’s gymnastics team, was the top finisher for his native New Zealand with a score of 83.639. His top event finish was on parallel bars, where he posted a 14.600 to place 51st.

Former Buckeye Kris Done also represented New Zealand, finishing 85th overall and second on the team behind Koudinov with a score of 80.523. As a team, New Zealand finished 33rd overall with a cumulative score of 322.441.

A total of 311 athletes representing 65 countries competed in the qualification rounds. The Top-24 athletes in qualification advanced to all-around finals, while the Top-8 teams and Top-8 individuals on each apparatus moved on to team and event finals.

Melton won team gold, a bronze medal in the all-around, and placed in the Top 5 in three event finals for Team USA at the 2014 Senior Pan American Championships in August.

Melton finished in fifth place on three apparatuses: parallel bar (15.000), floor exercise (14.600) and pommel horse (14.550). A score of 88.850 helped the Orlando native to a third-place finish behind Colombia’s Jossimar Calvo Moreno (89.300) and Cuba’s Manrique Larduet Bicet (89.250) in the all-around competition. Team USA posted a 352.550 to win team gold.

Former Buckeye Brandon Wynn won a silver medal on rings (15.450) and placed seventh on high bar (14.600) for Team USA.

Wynn and Melton were named to the U.S. Senior National Team at the conclusion of the 2014 P&G Championships in August.

Wynn paced a group of five current and former Buckeyes competing in the senior division at the national championships, capturing his fourth U.S. title on rings with a two-day score of 31.400.  Wynn, a native of Voorhees, N.J., placed ninth in the all-around competition with a 174.050 combined total from the two days of competition.

Melton placed 11th in the all-around with a two-day score of 172.350. The Orlando, Fla., product and 2014 Big Ten Freshman of the Year finished in the Top 10 on both parallel bars (seventh, 29.900) and vault (ninth, 29.900).

Finishing in a tie for 14th overall in the all-around was Martin, who closed the meet with a score of 170.550. Moling used a two-day score of 157.850 to place 30th overall, while Johnson, competing in three events, totaled a two-day score of 109.900.

Wilson finished seventh in the junior division (age 17-18), winning the vault with a score of 29.450 on his way to a two-day all-around total of 157.450.

The Buckeyes return to action Saturday, Jan. 24 against Illinois in the first of three Big Ten regular season dual meets. The meet is slated for a 4 p.m. ET start at St. John Arena.