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Junior Brandon Wynn wins third-consecutive meet on rings, this time against top U.S. gymnasts

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Scoring a 15.15 on rings at USA Gymnastics’ Winter Cup Challenge prelims Thursday, Brandon Wynn proved for the third meet in a row, he is one of the country’s most talented gymnasts on the event. Advancing into the finals Saturday alongside of Wynn are current Buckeyes Steven Spencer and Ty Echard, as well as former Buckeye Jake Bateman.

The national meet, which wheedles 120 of the top male gymnasts down to 43 for the finals, will conclude at 7:15 p.m. PST Saturday at the Las Vegas Sports Center.

In 2010, Wynn has won rings at both Ohio State collegiate meets this season and added another first-place finish last night against 83 competitors on rings, including two 2008 Olympians. Former Stanford Cardinal Tim Gentry was the closest finisher to Wynn, scoring a 14.90 for second on the event.

A native of Voorhees, N.J., Wynn currently sits in seventh place in the all-around with a score of 85.10, posting a fourth-place finish on vault with a career-high 16.05 and a ninth-place finish on floor (14.50).

The junior All-American and Ohio State captain was selected to the 2009-10 U.S. Men’s Senior National team last August at the 2009 VISA Championships, ranking sixth on rings with a two-day total of 30.3.

Jake Bateman, who finished his four-year career at Ohio State a season ago, placed fifth in the all-around at the prelims with an 85.35, including a ninth-place finish on floor (14.50) and 10th-place finish on vault (15.75). Oklahoma’s Christopher Brooks leads the all-around after prelims with an 88.30.

Steven Spencer also had a tremendous night for the Buckeyes, finishing third on pommel horse with a score of 15.05. Last April, Spencer set the OSU program record with a 15.475 to finish as the NCAA runner-up on the event. Reigning NCAA champion Daniel Ribeiro from Illinois won horse with a 15.20 while Sooner Alexander Naddour placed second with a 15.15.

Sophomore Ty Echard from Lancaster, Ohio, performed well at the national meet, scoring a 14.35 on pommel horse for seventh place. Senior Tai Lee had his best showing on vault with a 14.60 while sophomore Philip Onorato notched a 14.90 on the apparatus. Junior Sean Regan also represented the Buckeyes on horse, rings, parallel bars and high bar.

Competing on a special invitation from his native state of Israel, Shachar Tal put up solid numbers with a 14.05 for 14th on rings and 14.00 on floor for 27th. With official FIG scores, Tal now will be a candidate to compete for Israel at international events.

NOTING BRANDON WYNN (NCAA rankings as of Feb. 1)
After a standout sophomore season, Brandon Wynn has picked up where he left off last April. At the 2009 NCAA Championships in Minneapolis, Minn., Wynn earned his first All-America honor, placing eighth in the all-around with a score of 87.45. The Voorhees, N.J., native earned a Big Ten medal as well last season, finishing third on rings at the conference event finals.

Now as a junior captain, Wynn has notched back-to-back meet highs on rings, tying his career high and the OSU program record with a score of 16.1 at the Windy City Invitational (Jan. 16) and notching a 15.85 vs. Illinois (Jan. 30). With a 15.975 average, Wynn is the top-ranked gymnast in the NCAA this season.

Wynn first hit a 16.1 on rings last year vs. Michigan (March 21), setting the Ohio State program high and the best tally in the NCAA in 2009.

Also finding success on vault, Wynn holds the second-best average in the Big Ten and fifth-best in the NCAA with a 15.825 mean. Last time out, he notched a then career-high 16.0 vs. the Illini for second place.

USA GYMNASTICS YOUTUBE
USA Gymnastics has been uploading videos from the 2010 Winter Cup Challenge on YouTube. Here are links to Ohio State student-athletes, both current and former.

Shachar Tal – floor – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pQjOekDf9pY

Brandon Wynn – pommel horse – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ma2St9uYqkw

Jake Bateman – high bar – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fZ5VT_qglhE