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Fifth-seeded Buckeyes set to compete at Rec Hall at 6 p.m. Saturday

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State women’s gymnastics team may have started 2010 off slow, but the momentum it gained through the regular season has helped the squad qualify for its fifth-consecutive appearance at the NCAA Regional Championships. Ohio State travels to University Park, Pa., for the six-team meet hosted by Penn State at 6 p.m. Saturday.

Joining the Buckeyes at the event will be No. 1-seed Oklahoma, No. 2 LSU, No. 3 Penn State, No. 4 Maryland and No. 6 New Hampshire. The Scarlet and Gray are the fifth-seed and will start the event on beam.

FOLLOW IT LIVE
Live scoring for 2010 NCAA University Park Regional can be found on the women’s gymnastics’ schedule page at OhioStateBuckeyes.com or at http://www.gopsusports.com/sports/w-gym/10ncaareg.html.

GETTING THERE
Tickets for the event are $8 for adults and $5 for youth and students with general admission. Group rates are available for purchase prior to the event and are $5 per ticket for parties of 20 or more.

LAST TIME OUT
As host of the 2010 Big Ten Championships March 27, Ohio State scored a 194.700 in St. John Arena in front of a crowd of1,717. The Buckeyes’ team total served as the team’s third-best sum this season and was good for a seventh-place finish.

Three-time All-Big Ten honoree Rebecca Best finished tied for fifth in the all-around with a 39.275, a season high, after scoring team-high marks on all four events. 

Michigan won the championship, recording a 196.900. In second place was Penn State (196.525) followed by Iowa (195.575).

ALL-BIG TEN
Senior captain Hillary Dow and junior Rebecca Best received second-team All-Big Ten honors March 26 at the 2010 Big Ten Women’s Gymnastics banquet held at Ohio Stadium in Columbus, Ohio.

For Dow, the all-conference honor was the first of her career while Best, a 2009 All-American, earns her third second-team honor. In six seasons, Ohio State head coach Carey Fagan has tutored eight student-athletes to 11 All-Big Ten honors with Best being her first three-time awardwinner.

THE BUCKEYES
After upsetting Auburn for the second-consecutive season, the Buckeyes upped their regional qualifying score (RQS) to a 194.570 which ranks them eighth in the Central Region just behind Kent State’s 195.055.

LEADING THE WAY
Individually, three different Buckeyes lead Ohio State on the four events. Although senior captain Hillary Dow was injured vs. Illinois (March 6), she still ranks the highest on vault with a 9.805 RQS for 28th in the Central Region. Junior Rebecca Best and sophomore Nicole Krauter are tied for 29th in the region with a 9.800 RQS.

On bars and beam, Best owns team-high averages with a 9.785 and 9.810 RQS, respectively. Best is ranked 26th on bars and 18th on beam regionally. On floor, freshman Colleen Dean leads Ohio State holding 24th on the event with a 9.815 RQS.

The Buckeyes have two talented all-arounders in the Central Region rankings, starting with Best’s 39.025 RQS for 11th while sophomore Casey Williamson is 24th with a RQS of 38.660.

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 lost the service of senior Beth Ann Ballard and sophomore Krissi Woodward before the season started because of injury. Late in the season, senior captain Hillary Dow hurt her ankle against Illinois (March 6) but the devoted Buckeye has been fighting through the pain and competing on vault and bars.

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 and with five solid marks recorded from between Feb. 19-March 13, the squad now owns a 194.570 RQS to rank eighth in the Central Region. Ohio State hit its season-high, a 195.525, vs. Auburn in St. John Arena March 13.

THE 39.000 CLUB
This season, Ohio State has seen four all-arounders hit above a 39.000 in the all-around. Junior All-American Rebecca Best leads the way with a season-best 39.275 notched at the 2010 Big Ten Championships March 27 in St. John Arena.

Sophomore Casey Williamson posted a career-best 39.075 in the upset against Penn State (Feb. 27) while senior captain Hillary Dow added a season-best 39.050. Against Auburn, freshman Colleen Dean hit a personal-best 39.075 in the all-around to finish second behind Best’s 39.100.

DEAN-O
Colleen Dean has had a remarkable freshman season for the Buckeyes. The Sylvania, Ohio, native owns or ties for Ohio State’s best individual scores on three of the four events. With a 9.800 on bars vs. UIC (Feb. 21), Dean tied for first at the meet and currently is in a five-way tie for the team lead.

On beam, she turned in a team-best 9.825 for second place against Auburn (March 13). Dean also owns the individual season-best on floor with a 9.900 vs. the Flames, giving her a first-place finish at the meet. She has turned in the best mark for Ohio State on floor at nine meets this season while also leading the Buckeyes on beam at three meets.

HOME FLOOR ADVANTAGE
With three of its four regular-season home meets scheduled late in the year, Ohio State scored some of the team’s best marks in St. John Arena, upsetting nationally-ranked Penn State (Feb. 27) and Auburn (March 13).

The Buckeyes recorded a season-best 195.525 vs. Auburn after scoring a 195.025 vs. UIC Feb. 21 behind freshman Colleen Dean’s first career 9.900 on floor.

Three of the team’s season-best event tallies have come in Columbus with a 48.900 on bars and a 49.000 on beam vs. the Tigers, in addition to a 48.875 on floor vs. the Flames. The Buckeyes’ best vault score, a 49.050, came on the road vs. Iowa Feb. 6.

ST. JOHN ‘UPSET’ ARENA
With strong performances from senior Hillary Dow, sophomore Casey Williamson and freshman Colleen Dean, Ohio State earned its first Big Ten win of the season Feb. 27, downing then-No. 14 Penn State, 194.950-193.850, in St. John Arena. Ohio State is 5-1-1 against PSU in St. John Arena during the regular season since the 1996-97 season.

Williamson took third in the all-around, finishing with a career-best 39.075 while Dow was fourth with a 39.050. Dean, who has championed the Buckeyes on floor all season, finished second on the event with a 9.825 and also finished second with a 9.750 on bars.

Later in the year, the Buckeyes upset then-No. 17 Auburn in St. John Arena March 13 with a season-high 195.525. On Ohio State’s senior day, the Buckeye all-arounders swept first through fourth. Junior Rebecca Best hit a season-high 39.150 and Dean followed with a career-best 39.075 to finish 1-2. Williamson had a 38.900 for third and senior Kristin Perchatsch competed in the all-around for the first time this season and scored a 38.750 for fourth.

BUILDING STEAM
Ohio State put on a show Feb. 21, recording 10 individual season highs and three team bests en route to a 195.025 as it defeated UIC (191.750) in St. John Arena.

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 through third on three of the four events, notching then season-high event tallies on bars (48.850), beam (48.625) and floor (48.875).

DOUBLE TIME
The Buckeyes accomplished a lot vs. UIC after competing against then-No. 14 Kentucky in Lexington Feb. 19. 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.