Jan. 6, 2005
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COLUMBUS, Ohio – The No. 4 Ohio State men’s gymnastics team officially will begin the 2005 season when it travels to Chicago for the 35th annual Windy City Invitational. The meet is set for 7 p.m. Saturday at the UIC Physical Education Building on the campus of Illinois-Chicago.
LAST TIME OUT – TEAM INTRASQUAD
The Buckeyes competed in the team intrasquad scrimmage Dec. 17 at St. John Arena in Columbus, Ohio. The Scarlet and Gray teams competed on all five events and when the scores were tallied, team scarlet prevailed over team gray, 163.45-158.90. It was team scarlet’s second-consecutive victory over the gray, as they compiled an 81.8-80.775 victory last year.
Senior Randy Monahan executed the highest scoring performance with a 9.60 on high bar for the scarlet team. Willie Ito of the gray team posted a team high of 9.50 on high bar.
“I think as a group we certainly are ahead of schedule compared to last year,” Miles Avery, OSU head coach, said. “I was impressed with both the upperclassmen and the freshmen.”
BUCKEYES IN THE RANKINGS
Ohio State earned the No. 4 spot in the coaches’ preseason Top 15 poll. The Buckeyes garnered two first-place votes.
Oklahoma is No. 1, while Big Ten teams Illinois and Penn State round out the Top 3.
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.
IN THE WINDY CITY
This marks the 24th-consecutive year Ohio State has participated in the Windy City Invitational.
The Buckeyes have captured the invite’s title on nine occasions, including back-to-back wins last season and 2003. OSU also was the invitational’s champion in 1985, 1989, 1993, 1994, 1996, 1997 and 2000.
No. 2 Illinois – The 2004 Big Ten Champions return four All-Americans to a squad that also finished third in the national championships. Junior Adam Pummer was a 2004 All-American on floor and vault, while junior Justin Spring was the 2004 high bar national champion. Spring also garnered All-America laurels on parallel bars and was the Big Ten champion on floor.
Seniors Ben Newman and Peter Shostchuk also return; both captured All-America honors on pommel horse.
In his 28th year guiding the Fighting Illini is Yoshi Hayasaki. The University of Washington alum started out as a graduate assistant in 1971 before taking over as head coach in 1974 and has since led Illinois to one NCAA championship and four Big Ten titles.
No. 7 Michigan – The Wolverines return three All-Americans in Luke Bottke, Aaron Rakes and Justin Laury.
At the 2004 NCAA Gymnastics Championships, Bottke earned his first All-America honor on floor with a fifth-place finish.
Aaron Rakes also notched his first All-America honor at the NCAA championships when he finished seventh on pommel horse.
Justin Laury captured his second All-America accolade in the all-around with a fifth-place finish.
At the helm of Michigan is Kurt Golder. In his ninth year coaching the Maize and Blue, Golder is just the fourth Michigan gymnastics head coach in program history.
No. 8 Iowa – All-Americans Linas Gaveika and Michael Reavis return to a Hawkeye squad that finished fourth at the 2004 Big Ten Championships. Gaveika earned All-America accolades on parallel bars and high bar and Reavis garnered the honor on vault.
Tom Dunn is the head coach for the Hawkeyes. In his 25th season in leading Iowa, Dunn has compiled a 187-79-2 record and has led the Hawkeyes to 18 Top 10 finishes at the NCAA championships.
No. 9 Minnesota – Under new head coach Mike Burns, the Golden Gophers will look to senior and All-American Guillermo Alvarez to lead the team.
Alvarez is the lone returning All-American, as he notched three accolades at the 2004 NCAA Championships for his performances on floor, pommel horse and the all around.
Burns, who had been an assistant at Michigan since 1997, earned the head coaching reigns following long-time head coach Fred Roethlisberger’s retirement.
No. 11 Illinois-Chicago – In its 35th year as host of the Windy City Invitational, Illinois-Chicago boasts 2004 vault All-American Neil Faustino and 2004 Eastern College Athletic Conference all-around champion Eric Novick.
Leading the Flames is CJ Johnson. In his 31st year at the helm of UIC, Johnson helped lead the Flames to their first ECAC title and was named 2004 NCAA East Region Coach of the year.
THIRD TIMES THE CHARM
Senior Randy Monahan is looking to capture his third-consecutive Windy City all-around title, as he won the event in 2003 and 2004.
Representing one of OSU’s larger freshmen classes, head coach Miles Avery considers them a talented group equipped to make an immediate impact. The class is comprised of D.J. Bucher, Pejman Ebrahimi, Mike Marino, David Ortiz, Pedro Pineda and Jimmy Wickham.
“We have a talented group of athletes who will keep Ohio State as one of the leaders in the Big Ten, as well as in the nation,” Avery said.
Bucher who hails from Mason, Ohio, is a former Senior National Team member and placed as high as third in the all around at the 2000 Junior Olympics.
The 2004 Junior Olympic vault silver medalist, Ebrahimi (Granada Hills, Calif.) also captured the 2004 region I vault crown.
A native of Ellington, Conn., Marino is the region 6 all-around champion and placed fifth in the nation on rings at the 2004 Junior Olympics.
Ortiz, who is from Cincinnati, Ohio, is the 2004 parallel bars state champion.
Pineda, a native of Galloway, Ohio, is the state all-around champion and also was a regional team member in 2003 and 2004.
Wickham (Gulfport, Miss.) is the 2004 regional vault champion and captured the Mississippi state all-around title in 2003.
2005 SEASON OUTLOOK
The Ohio State men’s gymnastics team will be entering the 2005 season where the same rules and codes will prevail in governing collegiate gymnastics. Usually every four years, following the Summer Olympics, competitive gymnastics experiences changes in judging for the next quadrennium, where the expectations and regulations or the “code of points” ruling gymnasts are placed at higher standards. However with the start of this quadrennium the changes have been put on hold and this season NCAA gymnastics will be using the old code.
“This year will be an unusual year,” Miles Avery, said. “Without any changes in gymnastics to the code of points, many squads will be very good this year. Parity in gymnastics will be on the rise and several teams will be in the hunt for conference and national championships. The Buckeyes as always will be one of the elite squads fighting for those same championships.”
This upcoming season will feature the talents of senior all-around leader Randy Monahan, the No. 17th gymnast in the country. As the No. 16th gymnast in the U.S., junior Ronald Ferris is expected to step up and compete on every apparatus in 2005.
Other key upperclassmen contributing to the squad include Kerry Adderly, Willie Ito, Grant Osborne and Cody Trobaugh. Both Adderly and Trobaugh are senior veterans looking to lead the team by example.
After enduring an ankle injury during the 2004 campaign, Ito is primed to perform on all six events in 2005. Osborne, a former Junior National champion, will be prepared to prove his talent on the collegiate level, while Kristopher Kline and Nicholaus Searcy also will add to the deep talent pool of OSU gymnasts. Both had tremendous summers of training, Avery said, and they too will help the Buckeyes stay ahead of the competition.
Despite some of the difficulty floor poses, the Buckeyes should prevail on the event again with some of the most talented tumblers in the nation. Last season, OSU was one of the best floor team in the country and returns the nucleus of its squad.
“Cody Trobaugh, Kerry Adderly, Kris Kline and Randy Monahan give us a head start in excelling on floor, as well as Ron Ferris, who was the most improved gymnast over the summer.” Avery said. “Also, floor favors freshman Jimmy Wickham’s style of gymnastics and he also will present a challenge to opposing teams.”
The Buckeyes possess a depth of talent on pommel horse, including members of the freshman class, making it the team’s best event. Bucher, who is one of the top pommel horse competitors in the nation, will lead the Buckeyes on the apparatus and Avery believes fellow freshman Marino and sophomore Jahir Johnson will also provide power and vigor to the pommel horse squad.
“Both Mike and Jahir are expected to break into the lineup,” Avery said. “They will definitely help our team become deeper on this event.”
As well, Avery anticipates that with the improvement of Monahan and Ferris, they will challenge sophomores Ito, Kline and Osborne for a spot in the line up.
The core of OSU’s rings’ competitors, in Kerry Adderly, Randy Monahan and Cody Trobaugh, return for the 2005 season.
“Kerry, Randy and Cody were some of the best gymnasts on rings last year,” Avery said. “We will be able to compete well on this event because last year we were already one of the best teams on rings.”
Adding to the foundation of those participating on rings are a much-improved Kline and Junior National finalist Marino. In addition, Bucher and Pineda will push the Buckeyes to continued success on the rings.
“All of these guys are the nucleus of a squad that should be one of the best rings teams in the country,” Avery said.
With the arrival of the freshman class, the Buckeyes look to overcome the difficulties the event may create.
“Three of our freshmen, Pejman Ebrahimi, David Ortiz and Jimmy Wickham were three of the best vaulters in the junior ranks,” Avery said.
“Ebrahimi will bring excitement to vaulting as one of the only college gymnasts who can perform a handspring double front.
Adderly, Ferris, Monahan, Searcy and Trobaugh have improved significantly and are predicted by Avery to help lead OSU to the top of the vaulting ranks.
Because of its depth, parallel bars is one of Ohio State’s better events. Adderly, Ito, Monahan, Osborne, Trobaugh and Searcy are the Buckeye returnees that led OSU in 2004.
Freshmen D.J. Bucher, Mike Marino and Pedro Pineda will add increased depth, as the event is Marino and Pineda’s best.
“This event decides championships,” Avery said. “If you are successful on this event, your team has a shot at being the best team in the nation overall.”
As one of the events that usually is a challenge to many teams, Ohio State will be forced to put forth tremendous effort to maintain a top-ranking high bar status.
Ferris, the 2004 Big Ten High Bar Champion and Ito, a Big Ten high bar finalist, as well as Adderly, Bucher, Monahan and Trobaugh will be the core of the team and will step up to drive the team to high bar success.
Following his NCAA all-around record breaking score of 56.5 in the all around against Minnesota in 2004, Monahan returns to the Buckeyes in hopes of repeat performances from last year. Monahan also looks to add a NCAA all- around title to his list of accomplishments. During Ohio State’s 2004 campaign, Monahan not only secured the all-around NCAA record, but also captured the all-around Big Ten crown for the second-consecutive year. Monahan also placed third in the all around at the 2004 NCAA Men’s Gymnastics Championships, earning him a spot at the 2004 U.S. Gymnastics Championships in Nashville, Tenn., and All-America honors.
Ferris also is slated to increasingly contribute to the Buckeye all-around squad. Last season, Osborne competed in the all around against Nebraska, scoring a 53.575.
As in years past, Ohio State will kick off the season with a trip to Chicago for the Windy City Invitational where it will get a glimpse of Big Ten competition. In the Big Ten, OSU will meet Minnesota, Penn State, Illinois and Michigan where the latter three will present the most challenges to the Buckeyes, Avery said.
In non-conference action, Ohio State will challenge Illinois-Chicago, California, Stanford, Nebraska and Oklahoma.
Illustrating how tough this year’s opponents will be, the Scarlet and Gray will have to hold its own against five of the Top 6 NCAA finishers (1- Penn State, 2- Oklahoma, 3 – Illinois, 5- Michigan and 6- California) in 2004.
One of the highlights for this upcoming season is the Buckeyes’ meet against Japan, the team gold medalists at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.
“I think it’s great the guys will have a chance to compete against competition they don’t regularly face,” Avery said. “It is tremedously exciting for them because they will get to represent not only OSU, but the United States.
Finally, Ohio State will contend for the conference crown as it travels to Ann Arbor, Mich., for the 2005 Big Ten Championships March 25-26. The NCAA championships April 7-9 at West Point, N.Y., will conclude the season and hopefully a year marked by a national championship.
The Buckeyes will travel to Minneapolis, Minn., to take on the Golden Gophers at 7 p.m. Jan. 15 at the Sports Pavilion.
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.