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COLUMBUS, Ohio With the start of the 2009 season just two months away, the Ohio State men’s gymnastics team is already in the midst its training regimen in preparation for the competition year.

The Buckeyes enter the season with its largest freshman class in head coach Miles Avery’s 12 years at the helm of the program with nine student-athletes joining the squad.

Watch video interviews with freshmen Mike Behles of Wayne, Ill., and Philip Onorato of Plano, Texas, as they talk about the transition from club to college gymnastics and high school to college courses. In addition, get to know all the young Buckeyes by reading the Q&A’s below.

Mike Behles
Wayne, Ill.
Nickname:
Bulldog
2008-09 Ohio State roommate: Brandt Gomez
Started gymnastics when I was: 7 years-old
Gymnast I first admired: Blaine Wilson
Why I chose Ohio State: The resources, the campus and the team
Best event: Vault
Career aspirations: To work hard and be able to provide for my family
Favorite music: Rock, pretty much everything
Best meal I make: Beefaroni
Most interesting place I’ve visited: Arizona
Person I most admire: My dad
Hobbies: Video games, drawing, pool and shuffleboard
Thoughts on the 2009 season: It is going to be awesome!

Alexy Bilozertchev
Hilliard, Ohio 
Nickname:
Bilo
Major: Business
I started gymnastics when I was: 6 years-old
Gymnast I first admired: Alexei Nemov
Best part of competing at Ohio State: Being a Buckeye
Best events: Floor, pommel horse, vault and parallel bars
Career aspirations: Make a world and Olympic team and win a medal
Who would play you in a movie: The kid from Home Alone (Mcaulay Culkin) because we look alike.
Favorite music: Rock, alternative, rap, techno and classic rock
Best meal I make: I make a pretty good omelet and I can grill a nice steak.
Most interesting place I’ve visited: Japan
I most admire: Anyone who goes beyond the norm and does something different.
Thoughts on the 2009 season: It is going to be an amazing lineup of guys. If we work together and focus on what is ahead, then we can make some great things happen.

Brandt Gomez
Knoxville, Tenn.
2008-09 Ohio State roommate:
Mike Behles
Major: Creative writing and photography
I started gymnastics when I was: 3 years-old
Gymnast I first admired: Alexei Nemov
I chose Ohio State: Because my parents are alumni so I always wanted to go.
Best part of competing at Ohio State: The strong tradition of great gymnastics
Best event: Vault
Who would play you in a movie: Guy Pearce. Why? No idea.
Favorite music: Punk rock
Best meal I make: I make a mean peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
Most interesting place I’ve visited: London
In 10 years, I would like to be: A novelist.

Ty Echard
Carroll, Ohio
Major:
Biology
I started gymnastics when I was: 3 years-old
Gymnast I first admired: Drew Durbin
Greatest gymnastics accomplishment to date: Placing second on pommel horse at J.O. Nationals
Why I chose Ohio State: The tradition of Ohio State and the prestige
Best event: Pommel horse
Career aspirations: I want to be an orthopedic surgeon.
Favorite music: Rock
Best meal I make: Prime rib
Most interesting place I’ve visited: Niagara Falls
I most admire: My parents

Elliott Hardy
Plano, Texas
Nickname:
Eli
2008-09 Ohio State roommate: Philip Onorato
Major: Business
I started gymnastics when I was: 5 years-old
Gymnast I first admired: Jordan Jovchev
Why I chose Ohio State: It’s a great group of guys and great coaches
Best event: Floor
Career aspirations: Winning an NCAA championship
Who would play you in a movie: Daniel Craig
Best meal I make: Grilled chicken
Most interesting place I’ve visited: Russia
Person I most admire: My mother
In 10 years, I would like to be: running a business and coaching gymnastics.
Fun fact: I volunteer a lot.

Patrick Hatmaker
Tybee Island, Ga.

2008-09 Ohio State roommates: Brandon Wynn, Steven Spencer and Sean Regan
Major: Exercise Science
I started gymnastics when I was: 8 years-old
Greatest gymnastics accomplishment to date: Making it to Ohio State
Best part of competing at Ohio State: The tradition
Best event: Pommel horse
Best meal I make: Breakfast
Most interesting place I’ve visited: Yellowstone National Park
In 10 years, I would like to be: with my family and kids.
Fun fact: I was on the varsity math team in high school and voted class clown.

Philip Onorato
Plano, Texas
2008-09 Ohio State roommate:
Elliott Hardy
Major: Business
I started gymnastics when I was: 5 years-old
Gymnast I first admired: Jason Gatson
Best part of competing at Ohio State: The school spirit
Best event: Rings
Career aspirations: To be an Olympian and work for BMW
Who would play you in a movie: Robert Downey, Jr.
Best meal I make: Steak
Most interesting place I’ve visited: Japan
Fun fact: I like to dye my hair.

Matt Rayl
Carmel, Ind.
Major:
Business
I started gymnastics when I was: 6 years-old
Gymnast I first admired: Jeff Greene, my former coach
Best part of competing at Ohio State: You’re a Buckeye!
Best event: Pommel horse
Career aspirations: Entrepreneur
Favorite music: Rock
Best meal I make: Stir-fry
Most interesting place I’ve visited: California
The greatest risk I’ve ever taken was: Skydiving

Steven Spencer
Fremont, Calif.
Nickname:
Stevo
2008-09 Ohio State roommates: Brandon Wynn, Patrick Hatmaker and Sean Regan
I started gymnastics when I was: 6 years-old
Gymnast I first admired: Li Xiaoshuang
Best part of competing at Ohio State: It is a great group of guys to have as teammates and friends.
Career aspirations: To be a sports psychologist
Who would play you in a movie: James Roday (Shawn Spencer on Psych)
Favorite music: Alternative rock
Best meal I make: Popcorn
Most interesting place I’ve visited: Garden of the Gods in Colorado
I most admire: My parents
In 10 years, I would like to be: married.
No one knows: I’m scared of bees and wasps REALLY scared.
Fun fact: My father was a professional thoroughbred jockey.