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April 5, 2006

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COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State women’s gymnastics team travels to Baton Rouge, La., for the NCAA Central Region Championships Friday night hosted by LSU. After a two-year hiatus from regionals, the Buckeyes enter the six-team competition after being ranked sixth in the region for most of the season and finishing fifth at the Big Ten championships.

LSU’s Web site, www.LSUsports.com, will have live stats during the meet.

The winning and second-place teams will advance to the 2006 NCAA National Championships, hosted by Oregon State April 20-22.

WHO’S WHO AT THE CENTRAL REGION CHAMPIONSHIPS
Joining Ohio State in the Central Region Championships are Oklahoma (196.335 regional qualifying score), host LSU (196.330), Penn State (195.530), Kentucky (195.225) and Michigan State (194.180). The Buckeyes rank sixth among the field with a 193.795 RQS.

Nationally, Oklahoma owns the sixth-best team RQS and LSU is close behind at No. 7. Penn State is tied for 16th, Kentucky is 20th, Michigan State is 28th and Ohio State is 32nd.

Penn State finished the season ranked second in the Northeast region and Oklahoma was No. 1 in the South Central region, but because of the NCAA’s seeding and redistributing process, the two schools were placed in the Central Region Championships.

From the Central Region, member schools Alabama (196.460 RQS, No. 1 in region) was sent to the West Region and Auburn (195.695 RQS, No. 3 in region) was sent to the Northeast Region.

In addition, five gymnasts not on qualifying teams have been invited to participate in the all-around competition and one specialist in each event will compete. Those gymnasts are members of squads at Western Michigan, Eastern Michigan, Central Michigan and Kent State.

BUCKEYES IN THE CENTRAL REGION
Ohio State had a team average of 48.265 (RQS) on vault, which ranked 10th in the Central Region and will be sixth at the Central Region Championships. OSU’s 48.490 RQS on bars is sixth on both accounts and the Buckeyes’ 48.420 RQS is fifth in both categories. On floor, OSU’s 48.755 RQS, was sixth in the Central Region and will be fifth in the Central Region Championships.

Among Central Region members, sophomore Maalika Moore-Thomas is ranked ninth in the all-around competition (38.800 RQS). She is also ranked 20th on vault (9.805, team best), tied for 11th on beam (9.795 team best) and tied for 20th on floor (9.805).

Senior Kaylin Schlecht is tied for sixth on bars (9.840, team best) and tied for 18th on beam (9.760). Senior Brittany Brown is eighth on floor (9.860, team best). Freshman Alyssa Meyer is 22nd on beam (9.750).

OHIO STATE AT A GLANCE
Ohio State is coming off a fifth place finish at the Big Ten Championships March 25, hosted by Michigan State. In head-to-head competition during the regular season, the Buckeyes fashioned an 8-7 record, which included an upset win over then-No. 21 Illinois in Columbus March 4. OSU spent one week in the Top 25 (Feb. 28).

COACH FAGAN ON OHIO STATE
“We are very excited about qualifying to the NCAA Regional Championships,” Carey Fagan, Ohio State coach, said. “It has been a few years since we have been there as a team and this was one of our goals this season, so it feels great to have achieved this goal. Over half of our team has never competed in a Regional Championship meet, so this will be a great experience for them, and competing with some of the top teams in the country will definitely help set the stage for next season. Anything can happen on any given night. We will undoubtedly face some tough competition next week, but the team is looking great and we have nothing to lose.”

A LOOK AT THE REGIONAL FIELD
Oklahoma is led by Brittney Konack-Schumann who in her native South Central Region is seeded 2nd in the all-around (39.445 RQS average), 2nd on floor (9.900), 4th on beam (9.880), tied for 6th on bars (9.865) and 2nd on vault (9.920). Nationally, Konack-Schumann is seeded 6th in the all-around competition.

Penn State is led by Aslynn Sutterfield, who owns a North East Region-best 9.875 RQS on floor. Other include Lisa Clark, ranked 3rd in that region on vault (9.840), Katie Perret, ranked 2nd in bars (9.855) and Jennifer Orlando, ranked 5th in the all-around (39.025).

For Kentucky, Krystle Cook is ranked 3rd on vault (9.885), 1st on bars (9.885) and 5th in the all-around (39.130). Natalie Rubinstein ranked tied for third on bars (9.860) and 13th on vault (9.825), while Heather Hite ranked fourth on beam (9.865) and tied for 12th on floor (9.825).

Michigan State’s Kristen Coleman is ranked 7th in the all-around (39.025) and 9th on bars to lead the Spartans. Victoria Iakounina ranked 11th in the all-around (38.635).

Host LSU is led by April Burkholder, who is ranked 2nd in region in the all-around (39.420, 8th in the nation), 3rd on floor (9.910), 2nd on beam (9.885) and 4th on vault (9.875). Terin Martinak is ranked 3rd on beam (9.870) and 6th on floor (9.880) and Kelly Phelan is ranked 3rd in the all-around (39.305) and 2nd on floor (9.915).

OSU FIFTH AT BIG TEN CHAMPIONSHIPS
At the Big Ten Championships March 25, Ohio State scored a team total of 193.525 to post its best finish in the event since 2003. Sophomore Maalika Moore-Thomas placed fifth in all around with a 38.750. Senior Kaylin Schlecht had OSU’s best individual finish at 6th with a 9.800 on bars. Schlecht and freshman Alyssa Meyer both scored a 9.750 on beam to tie for ninth overall.

Sophomore Kaylan Clevinger scored a 38.100 in the all-around in her first ever participation in the event, as well as a 9.700 on bars. Minnesota took first place in the championship with a 195.150.

NOTING THE 2006 BUCKEYES
Kaylin Schlecht ranks No. 39 (tie) nationally on bars with a regional qualifying score average of 9.840, which leads the Buckeyes in that event. Schlecht has posted a 9.7 or higher eight of nine times on bars and recorded a career high 9.90 twice, which is the individual best for the squad. She is second for the Buckeyes on beam with a 9.760, which is No. 18 (tie) in the central region.

Brittany Brown is tied for eighth in the Central Region on floor with a 9.860 RQS average. She has scored a 9.8 or above on all but one routine this season. Brown is fourth on bars for the Buckeyes with a 9.580 and has scored above a 9.7 five of seven times this season.

Maalika Moore-Thomas competed in the all-around in every meet but one this season and ranks No. 9 in the central region with an average score of 38.80. She has posted a team individual season best on three events, including a 9.900 on vault, a 9.825 on beam and a 39.175 in the all-around. Moore-Thomas is OSU’s top-ranked vaulter with an RQS average of 9.805, which ranks No. 20 regionally. She has posted a 9.6 or higher on each vault this season. Moore-Thomas ranks first on beam for Ohio State with a 9.795 RQS average, which ranks No. 11 (tie) regionally. She is second on the team on floor with an RQS average of 9.805, which is ranked tied No. 20 regionally.

Freshman Alyssa Meyer ranks tied for No. 22 in the Central Region on beam with a 9.750 and No. 31 on bars with a 9.740. Meyer is second for the Buckeyes on bars and third on beam.

Sophomore Kaylan Clevinger ranks No. 38 in the central region and No. 27 in the Big Ten on floor with an average of 9.745. She has posted a 9.65 or higher eight of nine times this season on floor and is third on that event for the Buckeyes.

Junior Elizabeth Ahlberg is second on vault for Ohio State with a 9.605 average, scoring under a 9.5 only once this season. Sophomores Megan Flood and Helina Manesis help out the Buckeyes with their third and fourth place positions on vault. Flood averages a 9.525 and Floor has a 9.520 average.

Senior Emily Sineway is fourth for the Buckeyes on beam with a 9.595 and fifth on bars for the Buckeyes with a 9.560 average on bars.

### GO BUCKS! ###