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Feb. 25, 2004

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COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State women’s gymnastics team (7-3-1, 0-1 Big Ten) will travel to East Lansing Mich., this Saturday for a tri-meet against the No. 22 Michigan State Spartans and the West Virginia Mountaineers. The meet is set to begin at 7 p.m. at Michigan State’s Jenison Field house.

LAST WEEK: OSU TIES NO. 22 PENN STATE
In front of 2,938 fans Ohio State tied No. 21 Penn State 195.950-195.950 Saturday in St. John Arena. The tie is the first for Ohio State since March 1, 1987, when the Buckeyes tied Minnesota 185.40-185.40. Ohio State tallied its highest point total of the season in the meet, surpassing the 195.600 scored against West Virginia and N.C. State Jan. 18.

The Buckeyes were paced by Tiffanie Janke, who claimed her second all-around title in three weeks with a 39.275. Janke placed second on vault with a 9.875 and second on beam with a 9.850. Junior Elizabeth Meaney placed first on beam with a 9.875 and first on floor with a 9.900. Sophomore Kaylin Schelcht posted a strong performance as well, finishing second on bars with a 9.875 and placing third in the all-around with a score of 39.025, while Leah Boccaccio placed third on bars with a 9.825.

SCOUTING THE SPARTANS
Michigan State enters the meet 8-9 on the season and 0-3 in the Big Ten. In their last meet the Spartans defeated Pittsburgh 196.575-195.250. Leading the way for Michigan State is co-captain Sarah Alexander. A first team All-Big Ten selection in 2003, Alexander has won two beam titles, a floor exercise title and an all-around title in 2004. Against Pittsburgh, Alexander posted a 9.900 on beam for first place and a season-high 9.825 on vault for second place.

Michigan State’s head coach is Kathie Klages. Klages is in her 14th season and holds a career record of 223-111-2. Her teams have participated in seven NCAA Regional Championships. She was named NCAA Central Region Coach of the Year in 1993, 1996, 1998 and 2000. Klages earned Big Ten coach of the Year honors in 1996.

OHIO STATE – MICHIGAN STATE: ALL TIME SERIES
Ohio State trails Michigan State in the overall series 22-17. Since 1979 Ohio State is 12-1 at home, 3-12 in East Lansing and 1-6 in neutral meets against the Spartans. The last home win against Michigan State came Jan. 25, 2003, with Ohio State prevailing 195.875-195.175. The Buckeyes’ last win in East Lansing was a 190.650-190.625 victory, Jan. 8, 2000.

OHIO STATE DEFEATS MICHIGAN STATE IN 2003
Jill Weber and Shelby Warner led Ohio State with all-around scores of 39.275 and 39.075, respectively, as the Buckeyes defeated Michigan State 195.875-195.175, Jan. 25, 2003, in front of 1,401 fans at St. John Arena. The Buckeyes defeated the Spartans in every event. Leading the way on vault for the Buckeyes was Weber, who posted a 9.875. Tiffanie Janke also had a strong performance on vault with a score of 9.825, along with Warner’s 9.700. Liz Meaney scored 9.775 to secure Ohio State’s win on vault.

OHIO STATE VS. THE BIG 10
The Buckeyes are 80-74-2 against teams from the Big Ten. This season Ohio State is 0-1-1 against conference foes, falling to Illinois Jan. 31, 194.550-194.850 and tying Penn State 195.950-195.950, Feb. 21.

A LOOK AT WEST VIRGINIA
The West Virginia Mountaineers enter Saturday’s meet sporting a record of 9-3-1 and are coming off victories against Maryland and No. 13 Michigan.

West Virginia is paced by freshman Janae Cox and senior Jessica Bartgis. Cox has posted three 39.0 or better all-around scores in her first four career meets while Bartgis has posted consecutive 39.0 or better all-around scores in her last two meets.

Linda Burdette is in her 29th season as head coach of the Mountaineers. Burdette’s career record stands at 482-190-3 and includes three EAGL Coach of the Year awards, as well as three NCAA Championship appearances in the past eight years. Last season Burdette guided her squad to a 22-6 mark and qualified for the NCAA regional championship for the 20th consecutive season.

OSU – WEST VIRGINIA: ALL-TIME SERIES
The Buckeyes hold the edge in the all-time series against West Virginia, Ohio State is 12-8. Since 1979, Ohio State is 3-1 at home, 3-3 in Morgantown, W.Va., and 2-1 in neutral sites vs. West Virginia. In the last meeting between the two schools, Jan. 18, West Virginia topped Ohio State 196.250-195.600 in Morgantown, W. Va.

OSU FALLS TO WVU IN TRI-MEET, JAN. 18
In the last meeting against West Virginia, Ohio State defeated the N.C. State Wolfpack but fell to West Virginia, Jan. 18, in Morgantown, W. Va. The Buckeyes tallied a then-season-high 195.600 points, edging N.C. State, who scored 193.275. West Virginia tallied 196.250 points to claim the meet.

The Buckeyes were led by Tiffanie Janke, who tied for first place in both the floor exercise competition with a score of 9.875, and the vault competition, scoring a 9.850. Sophomore Jill Weber also contributed by tying with Janke on vault with a score of 9.850. Weber also placed second in the all-around competition with a score of 39.275.

BUCKEYES VS. EAGL
Ohio State has been successful against teams from the East Atlantic Gymnastics League holding a 38-13 advantage. Most recently Ohio State fell to West Virginia 196.250-195.600 Jan. 18.

Larry Cox APPROACHING 250th WIN
Ohio State head coach Larry Cox is one win shy of his 250th career victory. Since his arrival in 1979, Cox has tallied a career record of 249-135-2. Over the past 24 seasons Cox’s teams have claimed five consecutive Big Ten championships (1983-87), qualified for eight NCAA championships and has never missed the NCAA regional championships. Cox is also a two-time Big Ten Coach of the Year recipient.

JANKE RECEIVES BIG TEN GYMNAST OF THE WEEK HONORS – FEB. 11
Senior Tiffanie Janke was awarded Big Ten Conference Gymnast of the Week honors Feb. 11. The award came after a spectacular all-around performance in leading the Buckeyes to their second consecutive All-Ohio Championship against Bowling Green and No. 19 Kent State, Feb. 8.

With gymnasts Jill Weber and Kaylin Schlecht sitting out with injuries, Janke was moved in as an all-around competitor for the first time since her freshman year. In doing so, she posted a career-high 39.575 to win the competition.

Janke posted scores of 9.900 or higher in three of the four events. She tied for the top spot, with teammate Elizabeth Meaney on vault (9.900) and balance beam (9.925). Janke also tied for fourth on uneven bars (9.825) and floor exercise (9.925).

Janke has enjoyed a stellar senior season thus far. She has posted team highs on balance beam with 9.925 at the All-Ohio Championship, and on vault, with a 9.925 against Maryland and Pittsburgh.

This is Janke’s second Gymnast of the Week award. She won the honor for posting a perfect 10.000 on vault at the 2003 All-Ohio Championships, March 8, 2003.

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 9.775 against Penn State. Ahlberg also saw action as a floor exercise competitor against Penn State scoring a 9.775.

STATISTICALLY SPEAKING
Junior Elizabeth Meaney is ranked No. 15 nationally in the latest GymInfo balance beam rankings with an average score of 9.870. Her balance beam average is also good for fourth in the central region rankings. Meaney’s 9.880 average on floor exercise is eighth in the region.

Senior Tiffanie Janke finds herself on the GymInfo central region vault rankings. Janke is seventh in the region averaging a 9.865.

BUCKEYES RANKED REGIONALLY
In the latest GymInfo regional rankings Ohio State is ranked No. 6 with an average meet score of 194.640. Alabama is ranked No.1 in the region followed by LSU, Auburn, Michigan State 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.

COACH COX ON MICHIGAN STATE AND WEST VIRGINIA
“I feel good going into this weekend’s meet especially if Liz Meaney’s ankle is better. MSU is a mirror team of us, so we will need to be on our game as we were with Penn State. If we can hit out the rest of their season, I think some good things are coming our way.”

BUCKEYES POSTING CAREER HIGHS THIS SEASON
Six Buckeyes have set career high scores this season. Sophomore Leah Boccaccio posted a career high 9.700 on vault, at the All-Ohio Championships, Feb. 8 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.

Against Penn State, Schlecht posted another career high, this time on bars, with a 9.850. Freshman Brittany Livingston and freshman Elizabeth Ahlberg also posted career highs against Penn State both on vault. Ahlberg scored a 9.775 and Livingston posted a 9.725.

NEXT UP
Ohio State will remain on the road for a meet against No. 10 LSU, Friday, March 5, at 7 p.m. The Buckeyes will conclude their 2004 regular season at Eastern Michigan, March 13.