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COLUMBUS, Ohio The Ohio State women’s gymnastics team jumped to No. 12 nationally after posting a 194.625 on the road at Arkansas last Friday. The Buckeyes have not been nationally ranked in the Top 15 since March 3, 2001 when they held the twelfth position.

Ohio State opened the season ranked No. 21 in the preseason coaches’ poll, but with a solid team performance at Arkansas Jan. 9 boosted its ranking into the Top 12. The Buckeyes opened the 2009 season with a 194.625, a program season-opening high score.

“The team performed very well over the weekend and it was great to finally see the team compete after months of preparation,” Carey Fagan, Ohio State head coach, said. “We had two freshmen that were standouts last Friday night, Taylor Jones and Nicole Krauter. They handled the pressure of their first college meet like true veterans. Taylor had the high score on floor (9.825) and Nicole scored a near-perfect 9.850 on the balance beam, which was the high score for us.”

Other top performances came from the upperclassman in the season opening meet. Junior Hillary Dow scored her personal best on bars with a 9.775. Senior Kiki Holman started the meet on bars for the Buckeyes with a strong routine and set the pace for the rest of the line-up. She also anchored the beam line-up under pressure to avoid counting a fall.

During the last five seasons, Ohio State’s final national rank has risen each year. In 2004, the Buckeyes ranked No. 42 nationally. In the 2004-05 season, Fagan, in her first season, moved the Buckeyes to finish 38th. Under the direction of Fagan, the Buckeyes moved up 20 national spots in just three seasons, going from No. 38 in 2005 to a tied No. 18 ranking in 2008.

“We have a really great mix on the team right now and are concentrating on making improvements each week on the things we can control,” Fagan said. “If we can do that, we will continue to climb in the rankings.”

With a roster comprised of six upperclassmen, two sophomores and five freshmen, Ohio State will mix experience with new energy to continue its assent toward the national championships. The Buckeyes will look to continue raising its team average as they return home at 7 p.m. Saturday for their home-opener against Maryland in St. John Arena. The squad will then return to the road Jan. 24 in a dual meet against UIC.

Year      Final National Rank
2004      42nd
2005      38th
2006      27th
2007      19th
2008      t-18th

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