April 23, 1999

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State men’s gymnastics team scored a 229.85 in the team preliminaries of the %^$NCAA Mens Gymnastics Championship, good enough for second and advancing it to the team finals in %^$Lincoln, Neb. The Buckeyes join leader Michigan (230.500) and host Nebraska (228.200) as the top three %^$teams moving on. Ohio State was paced by Jamie Natalie (So., Hockessin, Del.) who tied his %^$individual season best on the vault (9.65). The team also recorded a new season best on the floor exercise %^$(38.625). Daren Lynch (So., Londonderry, N.H.) tied his career-high on the vault (9.75). %^$

%^$The Buckeyes return to the NCAA Championship finals after a three-year absence. The last time Ohio State %^$made the finals was in 1996, when it went on to claim the national title. %^$

%^$Throughout the course of the evening, the lead traded place several times between Ohio State and Michigan, %^$with the Buckeyes leading for half the competition until the Wolverines pulled ahead after Ohio State faltered %^$a bit on the pommel horse and horizontal bar. %^$

%^$Head coach Miles Avery said, “Making the finals this year definitely feels better right now than last year when %^$we self-destructed after the first rotation and missed the cut. We started out on a roll and luckily that carried %^$us through some mishaps on the parallel bars and horizontal bar. All along I thought these were the best three %^$teams in the nation, and these are the ones that are left standing for the final day of competition.”%^$

%^$When asked to forecast the outcome of the Championship, Avery said, “Tomorrow night is going to be a close, %^$tight competition. The team that hits all of their routines the best will win. Since we didn’t hit everything %^$tonight, that gives us something to look forward to tomorrow.”%^$

%^$Nebraska’s Jason Hardabura won the all-around. Natalie placed ninth. Other Ohio State top all-around %^$finishers included Doug Stibel (Sr., Canton, Mich.) who was 12th, Tim Elsner (Sr., Middletown, %^$N.J.) who was 13th, and Jay Nardelli (So., Centreville, Va.), who was 15th. %^$

%^$The individual event finals are Sat. at 7 p.m. These are the top eight individuals from each event. Those %^$representing the Buckeyes are: Elsner and Stibel on the floor exercise, Lynch in the vault, Natalie on the %^$pommel horse and parallel bars, Peter Landry (Sr., Lewiston, Maine) on the parallel bars and Stibel %^$on the parallel bars.%^$

%^$Team Scores:%^$Michigan 230.500%^$Ohio State 229.850%^$Nebraska 229.525%^$Penn State 228.200%^$Brigham Young 227.150%^$Stanford 226.700%^$%^$