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Jan. 10, 2001

Bucks Return to the Home Digs
The Ohio State women’s gymnastics team makes its first home appearance of the 2001 season Friday night, hosting Ball State at 7 p.m. at St. John Arena. The Buckeyes will look to continue their recent trend of home dominance after winning four of five home meets last year.

Bucks Score Well, But Fall to UM
Despite posting a strong score in its season opener, Ohio State dropped a 194.275-192.250 decision to No. 18 Minnesota Saturday night in Minneapolis. Lindsey Vagedes had a stellar meet for Ohio State, winning the all-around competition with a score of 39.175. Vagedes also captured the vault competition, scoring 9.850, and tied for first place on balance beam with a 9.800. She added a fourth-place finish on uneven bars (9.725) and a fifth-place finish in the floor exercise (9.800). Sarah Spring also starred for the Buckeyes, taking second to Vagedes in the all-around with a 38.325. Spring won the bars crown, scoring 9.775 to squeak past teammate Mary Beth Doerr, who tied for second (9.750).

Bucks Come Up Big on Bars
OSU posted its best event score of the night on bars at Minnesota, recording a score of 48.400. Four of the five Buckeye scores which counted toward that mark were at least a 9.7. Bars also was the lone event in which the Buckeyes notched a higher score than the Golden Gophers (48.300).

Vagedes No Stranger to Success
Lindsey Vagedes began her senior season with a bang last weekend at Minnesota, winning the vault and all-around crowns while tying for the beam title. She posted scores of at least 9.725 in all four events. Vagedes earned All-Big Ten distinctions on vault, beam, floor and in the all-around last season, joining Michigan’s Sarah Cain as the only Big Ten gymnast to earn All-Big Ten laurels in four or more events. Vagedes also is a three-time Big Ten individual champion, earning the 1998 and 1999 vault crowns and the 1999 beam title. A Good Way to Start
Ohio State’s score of 192.250 in the season opener at Minnesota was by far its best score to open a season. It topped last season’s season-opening tally of 190.650, set in a quadrangular meet at Michigan State.

Home Sweet Home
Ohio State has been virtually unbeatable at home over the past four seasons, defeating 20 of the last 24 opponents who have come to Columbus. Last year the Buckeyes won four of five home meets, losing only to BGSU and Kent State in the All-Ohio Championships.

Wirtzberger Out For Season
After a stellar freshman campaign which included a trip to the NCAA Championships, Rickee Wirtzberger will miss the 2001 season with a neck injury, suffered in practice over the summer. Wirtzberger advanced to the NCAA Championships after tying for first place on floor at regionals with a 9.925 – a career best.

Scouting Ball State
Ball State opened the 2001 season with a convincing 188.675-184.575 over Missouri Sunday in Muncie, Ind. Sophomore Amy Bodus was dominating in the meet, winning the vault (9.575), beam (9.750) and floor (9.55) crowns en route to the all-around title (37.550). For her efforts, Bodus won MAC Gymnast of the Week honors. BSU comes off a 22-6 campaign – the most wins in school history.

OSU-BSU: The Series
Ohio State holds a 4-1 lead in the series with Ball State. The teams have not met in dual meet action since Jan. 11, 1986, when the Buckeyes topped BSU 178.35-162.45 in a quadrangular meet in Lexington, Ky.

BSU Head Coach Mary Roth
Mary Roth is in her 16th season at the helm of the Cardinals. A 1971 graduate of Wisconsin-Platteville, Roth has brought the Cardinals to national prominence over the past few years, including a No. 10 national ranking in 2000. Last year’s squad defeated a school-record 22 opponents and was led by the school’s first-ever MAC Gymnast of the Year, Laura Szczepanski. Roth has a 116-120 career record.

Who’s Back?
Two-time All-America Lindsey Vagedes highlights the 10 letterwinners returning this season and will be the Buckeyes’ leading all-arounder. 2000 NCAA Championships participant Jill Tucker (floor exercise) also returns, as does All-Big Ten performer Mary Beth Doerr (uneven bars). Juniors Amanda Allen and Stephanie Buerkel are back as well and are being counted on for big scores.

Introducing the New Buckeyes
Head coach Larry Cox has brought in a solid core of six freshmen for 2001, all of whom are expected to battle for playing time. Four of the newcomers saw action last weekend: Tiffanie Janke on beam and floor, Megan Porter on bars and an exhibition floor performance, Julie Levi on vault (exhibition) and Jenni Lymanstall on vault and beam (exhibitions). Bethany Groskopf of Cincinnati and Kelly Cumberland of Dublin, Ohio, round out the freshman class.

Who’s Gone
Five Buckeyes saw their eligibility run out at the conclusion of the 2000 season. Elizabeth Jensen, who competed in all but one meet last year on bars and beam, and Lacey Hudson, who competed in six meets on vault, will not return. Jill McMillon is another key loss. She competed in several meets on floor and vault. The Buckeyes also lost Gina Paoloemilio and Cynthia Molnar from last year’s squad.

Ohio State in the Rankings
Ohio State is ranked 24th in the preseason GymInfo Coaches Poll. The Buckeyes will square off with seven teams ranked in the Top-25 preseason poll this season.

2000 Season In Review
After struggling throughout much of the season, Ohio State came alive down the stretch of the season, earning a bid to the NCAA Regionals – the team’s 21st straight bid to the postseason. OSU took fourth at the Big Ten Championships and followed it up with a strong third-place finish at regionals, missing by one place of advancing. Buckeyes Rickee Wirtzberger and Jill Tucker each advanced to the NCAA Championships as individuals, tying for the floor exercise crown with scores of 9.925. OSU also posted a school-record score of 49.450 on floor at the regional meet – the second-best score posted by any team competing in the NCAA Regionals.

OSU Head Coach Larry Cox
Three-time regional Coach of the Year Larry Cox heads into his 22nd season as the Ohio State women’s gymnastics coach. Cox has guided OSU to a NCAA Regional appearance in each of his 21 seasons at the helm and has produced four All-Americans. He has led the Buckeyes to five Big Ten crowns, six NCAA Regional titles, and six NCAA Championships berths. Cox began his career at Odessa (Texas) Junior College, winning the Junior College National Championship on parallel bars in 1975. He transferred to Arizona State in 1976 and won the WAC parallel bars title in 1977. That same year, Cox was a finalist for the Nissen Award, presented annually to the nation’s outstanding senior male collegiate gymnast. After graduating in 1977, Cox remained at ASU as assistant coach for the men’s and women’s gymnastics teams. In 1979, Cox became head coach at Ohio State.