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Buckeyes remain at home for a co-ed conference meet vs. the Nittany Lions Saturday

COLUMBUS, Ohio – After a successful two-meet weekend, the Ohio State women’s gymnastics team happily remains at home, welcoming Penn State for a Big Ten Conference matchup at 4 p.m. Saturday in St. John Arena. The affair will be a co-ed event as the men’s gymnastics teams from both universities face off at the same time as well.

The Buckeyes enter the weekend with a 2-6 overall record and 0-2 Big Ten ledger.

FOLLOW IT LIVE
Live streaming and scoring for Ohio State’s home contest vs. Penn State can be found on the women’s gymnastics’ schedule page at OhioStateBuckeyes.com.

ADMISSION IS FREE
Admission for all regular-season Ohio State home gymnastics meets in St. John Arena is free of charge. After Saturday, the Buckeyes will hold just one more regular-season meet, a dual vs. Auburn, before hosting the 2010 Big Ten Women’s Gymnastics Championships.

Tickets for the all-conference meet are currently on sale. All seating in St. John Arena will be general admission with tickets starting at $8 for adults, $5 for students and youth and $4 for groups of 10 or more. All group tickets must be purchased in advance. For more information, contact Mike Johnson in the group sales office at 614-247-1984.

Tickets can be purchased online at OhioStateBuckeyes.com (click on “Shop” along the top bar for links and then click on tickets, single game tickets through Ticketmaster), by calling Ticketmaster (1-800-745-3000) or in person at any Ticketmaster outlet or the Ohio State Ticket Office.

LAST TIME OUT
Ohio State put on a show last Sunday, recording 10 individual season highs and three team bests en route to a season-best team total of 195.025 as it defeated UIC (191.750) in St. John Arena before a crowd of 577.

Senior captain Hillary Dow won the all-around with a 39.000 behind a first-place finish on vault (9.875) and fourth-place finish on bars (9.750). Freshman Colleen Dean had a huge night, notching her first career 9.900 on floor, taking first on the event. The Sylvania, Ohio, native also tied for first with a personal-best 9.800 on bars. Competing on bars for the first time this season, senior Kristin Perchatsch notched a 9.775 for third.

The Buckeyes swept first thru third on three of the four events, notching season-high event tallies on bars (48.850), beam (48.625) and floor (48.875).

DOUBLE TIME
The Buckeyes accomplished a lot in their second meet of the weekend Sunday vs. UIC after competing against then-No. 14 Kentucky in Lexington Friday. Ohio State scored a 193.975 in a hostile environment, its second-best score on the road this season.

“Sometimes those two-meet weekends help out,” Carey Fagan, Ohio State head coach, said. “It is tough physically but sometimes it helps out mentally because any mistakes from the first competition are fresh and easier to focus on.”

Junior Rebecca Best nearly tied her career high in the all-around, scoring a 39.100, just .025 points out of first place at the dual. The Buckeyes also returned sophomores Taylor Jones and Nicole Krauter to the all-around, giving OSU five all-arounders. Jones had 9.675s on vault, bars and beam while hitting a 9.725 on floor. Competing on floor for the first time this season, Krauter scored a 9.700 vs. Kentucky before raising her season high to a 9.775 vs. UIC.

THE BUCKEYES
Ohio State returns to the road for a conference dual at Illinois at 2 p.m. March 6 which will be televised by the Big Ten Network on a tape delayed basis. Heading into the weekend, the Buckeyes own a 193.410 regional qualifying score (RQS) which ranks them fifth in the Big Ten and seventh in the Central Region.

LEADING THE WAY
Individually, three different Buckeyes lead Ohio State on the four events. After winning vault at home last Sunday, senior captain Hillary Dow improved her RQS to 9.785 to rank 10th in the Big Ten while junior Rebecca Best took over the Buckeye lead on bars with a 9.735 RQS. On beam, Best is tied for 10th with a 9.745 while freshman Colleen Dean is not too far behind with a 9.725 for 12th in the league. The rookie leads Ohio State with its highest individual ranking, holding seventh on floor with a 9.805 RQS.

ABOUT OHIO STATE
The Buckeyes returned eight gymnasts from the 2009 squad that finished ranked 17th in the GymInfo national rankings with a 195.735 RQS. However, Ohio State has lost the service of senior Beth Ann Ballard and sophomore Krissi Woodward for the season because of injury. In addition, freshmen Sarah Gillespie and Vanessa Kowis are sidelined with injuries, while classmate Lauren Ritter is slowly working her way back from a serious injury sustained her senior high school season.

The Buckeyes have been fighting their way through injuries but with two solid marks from last weekend, the squad now owns a 193.410 RQS to jump from seventh to fifth in the Big Ten. Ohio State hit a season-high 195.025 vs. UIC in St. John Arena last Sunday.  

THE NITTANY LIONS      
Penn State is currently ranked first in the Northeast Region and 14th in the NCAA with a 195.290 RQS, marking the second-consecutive week Ohio State will face a Top 15 opponent. The Nittany Lions hit a season-high 196.450 against Alabama and Minnesota to finish second in a tri-meet held Jan. 30 in University Park, Pa.

Individuals leading the way for PSU are Brandi Personett and Natalie Ettl. Personett holds the No. 1 spot in the NCAA vault rankings with a 9.930 RQS and is second on floor (9.905) while Ettl enters the rankings in 11th on bars with a 9.845 RQS.

THE CONNECTIONS
Ohio State head coach Carey Fagan was a three-time letterwinner for Penn State and served as a senior captain in 1998 under Steve Shephard, who is in his 18th at the helm of the Nittany Lion program.

Before joining Fagan on the Ohio State staff, sixth-year assistant Bill Lorenz served as an assistant at Penn State while Meredith Yonushonis, in her second year as an assistant with the Buckeyes, graduated from PSU in 2006 after a four-year career with the Nittany Lions.

Last but not least, Penn State assistant coach Randy Monahan was a seven-time All-American for the Ohio State men’s gymnastics team from 2002-05. Monahan is in his second season with the Nittany Lions.

OSU-PSU: THE SERIES
Ohio State trails Penn State in the all-time series, 25-16-1. The Buckeyes gave the Nittany Lions a run for their money last year, finishing just behind PSU, 196.650-196.050, March 1 in University Park, Pa.

POSTSEASON IN COLUMBUS!
The Scarlet and Gray are thrilled to bring the 2010 Big Ten Conference Championships to St. John Arena for the first time since the 2001-02 season. Head coach Carey Fagan is excited to host the league meet March 27 after hosting the NCAA regional championships last year.

“The regional championship was a great dress rehearsal for hosting the 2010 Big Ten Championships in Columbus,” Fagan said. “The conference championships are a big deal so I think it will attract even more attention than the regional championship did a season ago so the atmosphere will be electric.”

For tickets, call 1-800-GO-BUCKS!

UP NEXT
After two home meets, Ohio State heads back on the road to face conference foe Illinois at 2 p.m. March 6 in Champaign. The Buckeyes then return home to close out the regular season with Senior Day against Auburn at 2 p.m. March 13.