Wynn notches 2009 NCAA-high 16.1 on rings

COLUMBUS, Ohio A crowd of 500-plus watched six members of the Ohio State men’s gymnastics team set career highs Saturday night in St. John Arena as the squad celebrated senior night with a team total of 349.7. The Buckeyes tallied program-high marks on rings (61.25) and high bar (60.15) but ultimately dropped its conference match vs. Michigan who posted a 357.6.

Top performances came from senior Jake Bateman, notching a career and program-high 15.3 on high bar and sophomore Brandon Wynn, accomplishing the same feat on rings with a 16.1. A native of Voorhees, N.J., Wynn’s mark is a best by an NCAA competitor this season. No Division I NCAA gymnast has produced a mark above a 16.0 in 2009.

Bateman, who scored a season-high and second-place 88.65 in the all-around, was joined by his four teammates in the high bar effort, as all Buckeye competitors hit career marks on the apparatus, including juniors Tai Lee with a 15.1 and Justin Myers with a 15.0.

Ohio State started strong on floor, scoring a 59.4. Bateman led the scoring with a second-place 15.15 and was followed by senior Eddie Hay with a 14.95 for fourth and Myers with a 14.7 in seventh. The Wolverines won the event, edging the Buckeyes with a floor total of 60.0. On pommel horse, freshman Ty Echard continued his stellar rookie season with a team-best 14.0. Two seniors in Bateman (13.5) and Andy Saurber (13.25) added the squads second and third highest scores. Michigan, led by Chris Cameron with a 15.0, outscored Ohio State, 59.3-53.75, on the difficult event. Cameron went on to win the all-around with an 89.25 mark.

In the third rotation, the Buckeyes made up some ground, winning rings with a program-best 61.25 over the Wolverine’s 59.8. Following Wynn’s first-place effort, Bateman joined in with a second-place 15.4 and junior Shachar Tal made it a sweep with a 15.2, just .05 shy of his career high. The Buckeyes have placed 1-2-3 on rings three times this season. The squad earned its first sweep vs. UIC Feb. 21 and repeated the effort at Oklahoma last weekend. Ohio State carried its momentum into its vaulting, notching the Top 3 marks on its second-consecutive event. Fifth-year senior Pejman Ebrahimi took first with a 15.9, Myers of Hinckley, Ohio, notched a career-high 15.8 for second and Bateman tied for third with a 15.75. With an Ohio State vault total of 62.45, Michigan held a slim margin, winning the event with a 62.6.

Steven Spencer set a career high on parallel bars to lead the Buckeyes with a fifth-place 13.7 but the squad dropped the event to the Wolverines, 57.25-52.7. Ohio State bounced back in the final rotation, winning high bar, 60.15-58.65, as all five gymnasts competing earned career-bests. Behind Bateman’s first-place mark, Lee of Orlando, Fla., tied for second and Myers placed fourth. Wynn added a 14.75 for fifth while classmate Sean Regan had a 14.55. Regan also had career highs on floor (14.5) and rings (14.3).

The Buckeyes have next week off as they prepare for the 2009 Big Ten Men’s Gymnastics Championships hosted by the Wolverines in Ann Arbor, Michigan April 3-4.