COLUMBUS, Ohio – The fifth-ranked Ohio State men’s gymnastics team travels to Chicago, Ill., for the NCAA Championships starting Friday at UIC Pavilion. Live video and live results links can be found at OhioStateBuckeyes.com.
Two pre-qualifying sessions begin Friday with the Buckeyes in the second session at 8 p.m. ET. Three teams and the top three all-around competitors not on one of the qualifying teams, plus the top three individuals on each event not already qualified on a team or as an all-around competitor, will advance from each pre-qualifying session to the finals session.
Ohio State enters the meet with the fifth-best scoring average (408.350) in the nation. Ohio State owns the best still rings score in the nation with a 71.750 that they recorded against Michigan (Feb. 3). The Buckeyes own the third-highest score in the nation on the parallel bars (70.300) and fourth-highest on pommel horse (69.250) that they recorded in meets against Oklahoma (March 23) and Penn State (Feb. 9).
Individually, Alec Yoder (pommel horse) and Sean Melton (still rings) own the highest scores in the country. Yoder’s career best tally of 15.500 at the dual meet against Nebraska (Jan. 20) ranks No. 2 in school history behind Michael Newburger’s 16.250 in 2014. Melton registered his season best on the rings in his 2018 debut against Nebraska with a 15.150. Yoder also owns the No. 3 parallel bar routine in the nation with a 14.650. Yoder and Melton have combined to win 18 event titles this season.
Yoder’s national qualifying average of 15.063 on the pommel horse is second nationally and the 83.150 in the all-around is the top average in the NCAA; he also ranks fifth on the parallel bars (14.213). Melton owns the third-best NQA on the still rings with a 14.625 average and parallel bars at 14.263.
Big Ten Awards
The Buckeyes have competed at nine meets this year (eight team meets and Winter Cup) and following five of those meets, either Sean Melton or Alec Yoder has been named the Big Ten Gymnast of the Week in addition to Melton being named Gymnast of the Championships April 7 at Big Ten Championships in Ann Arbor, Mich. Melton earned the first B1G award of the season on Jan. 22 and Yoder followed that by winning back-to-back honors on Feb. 5 and Feb. 12. Melton was not only the Big Ten Athlete of the Week, but also the NCAA Gymnast of the Week on Feb. 20 following his excellent performance at the Winter Cup. Both Yoder and Melton each retained their spots on the U.S. national team after their scores at the Winter Cup. The most recent recipient was Alec Yoder on March 12 following his all-around performance in a dual meet against Stanford. He scored a season-high 84.100 in the all-around; for his efforts, he was also named the NCAA Gymnast of the Week.
Nissen-Emery Award Finalist
Melton is a 2018 Nissen-Emery Award Finalist the CGA announced. Melton is a nine-time All-American and six-time Big Ten champ; he is joined by five other seniors on the list. Melton is attempting to become the first Ohio State gymnast since Jamie Natalie (2001) to garner the award. Other Nissen-Emery Award Winners in Ohio State history are Mike Racanelli (1990), Kip Simons (1994) and Blaine Wilson (1997).
Yoder Represents America
Junior all-around Alec Yoder did not compete for Ohio State against Oklahoma. The Indianapolis native was representing the U.S. national team at the 11th Artistic Gymnastics World Cup in Doha, Qatar. Yoder owns a team-leading 11 event titles this year. Every meet he has competed at has featured an event title and he owns multi-event wins at four of the meets this season. Arguably his best performance of the year came against Stanford in Palo Alto, Calif. He helped the Buckeyes knock off then-No. 2 ranked Stanford with event titles on the vault (14.200), parallel bars (14.250) and in the all-around (84.100).
Melton, Yoder and Szarvas 2017-18 Team Captains
Senior Sean Melton along with redshirt juniors Alec Yoder and David Szarvas were elected team captains for the 2017-18 season.
The Buckeyes will be led by a trio of captains for a fourth-consecutive season and only the eighth time in the history of the program. The first time the squad featured three captains was 2001, when the Buckeyes won their last national championship.