Freshman Philip Onorato wins all-around, rings and high bar for Ohio State

COLUMBUS, Ohio Ohio State had a gymnast claim first on each of the six events en route to a season-high tally of 350.8 to secure victory over UIC (333.05) Saturday night in St. John Arena. The Scarlet and Gray improve to 3-3 overall while the Flames drop to 2-7 on the season.

A crowd of 707 saw seniors Jake Bateman (floor) and Pejman Ebrahimi (vault), sophomore Brandon Wynn (rings) and freshmen Ty Echard (pommel horse) and Philip Onorato (rings, high bar, all-around) record meet-best scores. Competing in just his third meet as a Buckeye, Onorato, a native of Plano, Texas, captured the all-around win, scoring a career-best 85.85. Wynn placed second in the all-around with an 84.5.

“I thought they did well,” Miles Avery, Ohio State head coach, said. “We still need to finish better but overall, there were a lot of bright spots tonight. The freshman class did great and I’m pleased with the way they came out tonight.”

For the night, the Buckeyes won all six events and swept the Top 3 finishes on floor, rings, vault and parallel bars.

Ohio State started the night by winning floor, 58.8-54.25. The 58.8 floor total bettered Ohio State’s previous high of 57.7 scored at Illinois Jan. 24. Bateman, a two-time team captain from Kingsport, Tenn., scored a season-high 15.1 to finish first and was followed by junior Justin Myers in second (14.8) and Onorato in third (14.6).

Lancaster, Ohio, native Echard championed the Buckeyes on pommel horse, setting a career high with a 15.3. His tally was more than a point higher than the closest competitor, the Flames’ David Mohr (14.0). Bateman rounded out the Top 3 on horse with a season-best 13.95. Ohio State won pommel horse, 55.95-53.95.

On rings, Wynn and Onorato tallied a pair of 15.35s to tie for first while junior Shachar Tal just trailed in third with a 15.25. Bateman added a 15.15 for fourth to help Ohio State to a program-best 61.1 rings score. The Flames finished the third rotation with a 55.85 on the event.

In the fourth rotation, Ebrahimi showed why he won the 2007 NCAA vault title, receiving a career-high 16.05 on the apparatus in support of Ohio State’s 63.35-59.7 victory on the event. There was no drop off for the Buckeyes as the team swept the Top 6 places on vault. Freshman standout Onorato added a 15.85 (2nd), Wynn contributed a 15.75 (3rd), Bateman tallied a 15.7 (4th), freshmanMike Behles turned in a 15.6 (5th) and Myers rounded out the scoring with a 15.55.

A native of Hinckley, Ohio, and Ohio State’s two-time most improved honoree, Myers secured first with a 14.15 on parallel bars as the Scarlet and Gray claimed the event, 55.85-53.95. Two Buckeye rookies followed in scoring with Onorato taking second (14.05) and Behles rounding out the Top 3 with a 14.0.

On the final event of the evening, Ohio State won high bar, 55.75-55.35. Onorato concluded his all-around campaign with a first-place tally of 14.2, finishing just ahead of UIC’s Andrew Strover’s 14.15. Bateman posted a 14.05 and junior captain Tai Lee a 14.0 to finish in third and fourth (tied), respectively. 

Up next, the Buckeyes return to the road to face Penn State at 2 p.m. Feb. 28 in State College, Pa.