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Buckeyes enter national championships as the fifth seed

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The No. 5 Ohio State men’s gymnastics team has been selected to advance to the 2010 NCAA Men’s Gymnastics National Qualifier held April 15 at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, N. Y. Buckeye head coach Miles Avery has guided Ohio State to the national qualifier in each of his 13 seasons in Columbus.

The 2010 Ohio State team had only good things to build from after an exciting run at the 2009 NCAA Championships. The team saw four individuals earn All-America honors, including a national runner-up on pommel horse in Steven Spencer, as the Buckeyes made their first trip back to the team finals since 2005. The Scarlet and Gray return three of their four All-Americans to the floor this season.

THE LOGISTICS
The national qualifier is comprised of 12 teams with the field split into two qualifying sessions. Ohio State, as the fifth seed, will start the competition on rings at 1 p.m. April 15 and will be joined by top-seeded Illinois (parallel bars), No. 4 Stanford (vault), No. 8 Penn State (pommel horse), No. 9 UIC (floor) and No. 12 Temple (high bar).

Session two starts at 7 p.m. with No. 2 Oklahoma, No. 3 Michigan, No. 6 California, No. 7 Minnesota, No. 10 Nebraska and No. 11 Iowa in the grouping.

The Top 3 teams from each qualifying round move on to the team championships held at 7 p.m. April 16 before the top competitors on each event duke it out for individual NCAA titles at 7 p.m. April 17.

THE HARDWARE
Ohio State gymnasts like collecting hardware and did so as the team combined for five individual Big Ten medals last Saturday in St. John Arena.

Junior captain Brandon Wynn, who has led the nation on rings all season long, earned his first career Big Ten title on rings (15.85) and added third-place finishes on vault and in the all-around. Wynn became the first Buckeye to win an individual conference championship since DJ Bucher (2005-08) and Eddie Hay (2006-09) won parallel bars and floor, respectively, in 2007.

Lancaster, Ohio, native Ty Echard received the first Big Ten medal of his career, taking second on pommel horse (15.325). After finishing third at the NCAA championships as a true freshman in 2009, Echard set the Ohio State program record on pommel horse with a score of 15.7 vs. Michigan March 20.

Sophomore Philip Onorato sprang his way to a career-high 16.3 on vault at the conference finals. The Plano, Texas, native took second on vault for the second-consecutive season to bring his career Big Ten medal count up to three after placing second on rings and vault in his conference rookie of the year season in 2009.

OHIO STATE IN A NUTSHELL
Ohio State opened the season ranked seventh in the preseason coaches’ poll and has climbed as high as fifth in the 2010 GymInfo national poll. This is the sixth-consecutive week the Buckeyes have held the No. 5 ranking with a 349.690 national qualifying score.

Strong leadership from the upperclassmen helped Ohio State conclude the regular season with four-consecutive team scores above the 350.000 mark with its highest score, a 354.900, coming vs. No. 2 Oklahoma (March 13). The Buckeyes have received career-high marks from seniors Tai Lee and Justin Myers, as well as junior All-American Brandon Wynn.

In 2010, Lee and sophomore Ty Echard have posted program records on high bar (15.3) and pommel horse (15.7), respectively.