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Feb. 5, 2004

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COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State women’s gymnastics team (5-2, 0-1 Big Ten) will compete 2 p.m., Sunday, in Bowling Green, Ohio, in the annual All-Ohio Championships. In the meet the Buckeyes will compete against the No. 19 Kent State Golden Flashes and the Bowling Green Falcons. The Buckeyes have won two of the last three All-Ohio Championships (2001 and 2003).

LAST WEEK: OSU DEFEATS ILLINOIS STATE, FALLS TO NO. 21 ILLINOIS
Ohio State defeated Illinois State but fell to No. 21 Illinois, Jan. 31, in Columbus, Ohio. The Buckeyes tallied 194.550 points to edge the Redbirds, who scored 190.175. Illinois tallied 194.850 points to claim the meet.

The Buckeyes were led by Elizabeth Meaney, who won the all-around competition with a score of 39.450, and the floor exercise competition, with a career-high score of 9.950. Senior Tiffanie Janke also posted a strong evening by claiming victories in the vault competition, with a score of 9.850, and the balance beam competition, with a career-high tying 9.950.

Senior Jenni Lymanstall posted a career-high 9.875 on the floor exercise to claim third place in the competition. Sophomore Kaylin Schlecht also set a career-high score in the floor exercise competition, posting a 9.850 to place fifth. THE BOWLING GREEN FALCONS
The Bowling Green Falcons enter this Sunday’s meet 2-1 on the season. The Falcons have defeated Eastern Michigan and North Carolina while their only loss is to Southeast Missouri State.

The Falcons are led by senior Melissa Popovich. Popovich, who has received the MAC Gymnast of the Week award twice this season, owns the second-best floor exercise score in school history with a 9.950. She also ranks sixth all-time in Bowling Green history in the all-around competition with a score of 38.975. This past weekend against North Carolina, Popovich won the all-around title with a score of 39.425

The head coach for Bowling Green is Dan Connelly. In his seventh year as head coach and 12th year as a collegiate coach, Connelly has tallied a 111-98 career record. Connelly also is a three-time MAC Coach of the Year recipient.

OHIO STATE VS. BOWLING GREEN: ALL-TIME SERIES
In the overall series, Ohio State is 23-6 vs. Bowling Green. Since 1979 the Buckeyes are 8-0 in home meets, 5-1 in meets at Bowling Green, and 1-1 in competitions at neutral sites.

A LOOK AT KENT STATE
Kent State comes to the All-Ohio Championships 6-0 on the year and No. 19 in the newest GymInfo poll.

The Golden Flashes feature standout senior Morgan Wiland. In her career, Wiland has notched a career-high 9.950 on bars along with registering seven top-3 finishes. Last week against Northern Illinois, Wiland registered her fourth consecutive bars title as she posted a 9.950.

Brice Biggin is in his 13th season as the head coach of the Kent State Golden Flashes. Since his arrival, Biggin has been selected MAC Coach of the Year on four different occasions. He also holds a career record of 98-63 and has won the MAC conference championship four times.

OHIO STATE VS. KENT STATE STATE: ALL-TIME SERIES
The Buckeyes and Golden Flashes are tied in their overall series at 17-17-1. Since 1979, Ohio State is 8-4 at home, 7-4 on the road and 3-0 at neutral sites against the Golden Flashes.

BUCKEYES LOOK TO CONTINUE MAC ATTACK
The Buckeyes are 73-27-1 (.722) all-time against schools from the Mid-American conference. The Buckeyes have won their last five meets against MAC squads. Their last loss to a MAC opponent came March 9, 2002 against Kent State, 194.325-193.200.

2003 ALL-OHIO CHAMPIONSHIP: WEBER, JANKE PROPEL OSU’S WIN
Jill Weber and Tiffanie Janke both posted a perfect 10.0 on vault as the Buckeyes defeated Kent State (195.450) and Bowling Green (193.525) with a team score of 196.650 March, 8, 2003, in St. John Arena to the claim the All-Ohio championship.

The Buckeyes placed first on vault and set a school record with a score of 49.625. The Buckeyes also placed first on beam (49.225) and tied for first with Kent State on bars with a score of 48.950. A couple of slips caused OSU to come in third overall on floor with a score of 48.850.

MAKING A FRESH IMPACT
The Buckeye freshman class has had no problem of making an immediate impact on the 2004 season. Both Elizabeth Ahlberg and Brittany Livingston have seen their share of action this season and have produced strong numbers for the Buckeyes.

Livingston has competed on vault, floor exercise, uneven bars and balance beam in every meet this season. She placed third in the all-around with a score of 38.375 in the meet against West Virginia and N.C. State, Jan. 18, and her 9.850 on balance beam against West Virginia and N.C. State is tied with Elizabeth Meaney for the season-high score on balance beam

Ahlberg also has competed in every meet this season. She has posted strong scores on vault, scoring an individual season-high of a 9.725 against Maryland and Pittsburgh.

STATISTICALLY SPEAKING
A couple of Buckeyes can be found on the GymInfo Central Region statistics board this week. Senior Tiffanie Janke and sophomore Jill Weber are both ranked in the Top-10 of the GymInfo central region vault rakings. Janke, whose average vault score is a 9.881, ranks sixth in the region, while Weber’s average of 9.858 is good enough for seventh in the region.

Junior Elizabeth Meaney finds herself in the central region floor exercise Top-10. Meaney is 10th in the region with an average floor exercise score of 9.875.

BUCKEYES GAIN REGIONAL RECOGNITION
In the latest GymInfo regional rankings Ohio State is ranked No. 5 with an average meet score of 194.375. Alabama is ranked No.1 in the region followed by LSU, Auburn and Kent State.

SEASON OUTLOOK: BUCKEYES LOOK TO CONTINUE SUCCESS
After a 2003 season that featured a 10-4 record and a fifth place finish at both the NCAA Regional Championships and Big Ten Championships, along with the return of 11 letterwinners, the Buckeyes have high expectations for the 2004 campaign.

The Buckeyes return 11 veterans, who will provide Ohio State with valuable depth and experience.

Senior Tiffanie Janke and sophomore Jill Weber, both First Team All-Big Ten selections last season, will anchor the team this season. Both Janke and Weber tied a school record with a perfect 10 on vault last season.

In addition, fellow classmates Bethany Groskopf, Jenni Lymanstall, who did not compete last season, and Megan Porter will be strong contributors to the squad this year.

Ohio State features two strong juniors this season. Elizabeth Meaney, who captured the team’s Most Inspirational, Most Dedicated and Coaches’ awards, scored a 9.8 or better on both beam and floor exercise in 12 of the Buckeye’s 13 meets. Fellow junior Shelley Harris will also be a strong contributor, Harris posted a 9.75 or better in four of Ohio State’s last five meets.

Perhaps the most talented class for the Buckeyes is the sophomore class, which made up half of the competing team last season. The class is led by Jill Weber, who was nominated for the Big Ten Freshman of the year award last year. Weber is joined by Leah Boccaccio, Kaylin Schlecht, Emily Sineway, who was the teams Most Improved Gymnast, and Shelby Warner.

The Buckeyes added three freshmen for the 2004 season.

Elizabeth Ahlberg, a native of San Antonio, Texas, was a three-time regional qualifier and a 2003 Junior Olympic National qualifier.

Lindsay Puhl, of Sylvania, Ohio, is a transfer from Cornell University. Puhl earned First Team All-Ohio honors as a high school sophomore and help lead Northview High School to a state championship.

Brittany Livingston, from Lisle, Ill., is a six-time Junior Olympic Qualifier and captured the state vault title in 2003 along with helping her team to three Illinois state championships.

Ohio State will have many tests to pass this year with meets against some of the nation’s most premier squads. The Buckeyes’ schedule includes meets with Nebraska, Louisiana State and Penn State, all are ranked in the “GymInfo” Preseason Top-25.

Ohio State will begin its 2004 campaign home against Kentucky, Jan. and against Maryland and Pittsburgh, Jan.10. The Buckeyes will then travel to Morgantown W.Va., Jan. 18, for a meet against North Carolina State and West Virginia.

The Buckeyes return to Columbus for a meet against Illinois and Illinois State, Jan. 31, before traveling to Bowling Green for the annual All-Ohio Championships, Feb. 8.

Following the All-Ohio Championships, the Buckeyes travel to Omaha Neb., Feb. 15, and the return for their final home meet, Feb. 21, against Penn State.

Ohio State wraps up its 2004 season with three road meets against Michigan State, Louisiana State and Eastern Michigan.

COACH COX ON THE ALL-OHIO CHAMPIONSHIPS
“The competition is going to be tough, especially with Kent State, who is doing real well. Kent has never won the All-Ohio so I’m sure they will be gunning for it. Plus they seem to always put together their best meet against OSU. I do feel the team is stepping up to fill the holes from Jill (Weber) being gone. So we are planning on putting together our best performance so far as well.”

FOUR BUCKEYES HAVE POSTED CAREER HIGHS THIS SEASON
Four Buckeyes have set career high scores this season. Sophomore Leah Boccaccio posted a career high 9.650 on vault, against Kentucky, Jan. 4 while senior Jenni Lymanstall notched a career high 9.875 on the floor exercise in the meet against Illinois State and Illinois, Jan. 31.

Also against Illinois and Illinois State junior Elizabeth Meaney and sophomore Kaylin Schlecht posted new career highs. Meaney posted a career high 39.450 all-around score as well as a career-high, 9.950 on floor exercise, while Schelcht’s floor exercise score of 9.850 tops her previous high of 9.825 set against Kent State in 2003.

NEXT UP
After competing in the All-Ohio Championships, the Buckeyes will remain on the road for a meet at 7 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 15, against the No. 9 Nebraska Cornhuskers in Lincoln, Neb.