January 18, 1999

Jan. 18, 1999 – The Buckeyes suprised more than a few people over the past weekend when they finished second at the Windy City Invitational. Ohio State was just edged out by defending champion Iowa, losing 226.675-225.000. Head coach Miles Avery has plenty of reasons to be pleased with his team, and even optimistic about the rest of the season. The Windy City Invitational is an accurate barometer of how well teams will do at the end of the season, since the winner usually is also the Big Ten Championship winner. This weekend, the Buckeyes host conference rival Michigan State in their first home meet of the season in their new home, St. John Arena. Ohio State will put its unbeaten dual-meet record on the line this weekend, as the team has a perfect streak at home.

ELSNER IS AN ALL-AROUND GUY Tim Elsner finished third in the all around competition at the Windy City Invitational with a score of 56.200. He won the floor exercise and was fourth in the parallel bars. In his first official competition, Earnest Nelson was 31st in the floor exercise. Jamie Natalie finished third in the floor exercise, and ended the competition with a fourth-place finish on the pommel horse and a 27th place finish in the vault. Jay Nardelli was third in the horizontal bar, while Daren Lynch had a fifth-place finish in the vault.

LAST YEAR AGAINST MICHIGAN STATE The Buckeyes escaped from East Lansing, Mich. with a 229.875-228.7 win over the Spartans. Doug Stibel landed two seasons bests on the high bar (9.950) and in the all-around (58.00). The team also recorded its season best in the high bar at that meet.

THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST Head coach Miles Avery considers Earnest Nelson (Rowlett, Texas) to be the teams best freshman this year. Prior to coming to Ohio State, Nelson competed with the Flippers Gymnastics Club and was coached by Kevin Muenz and Jim Knopp.

NEW HOME FOR BUCKEYE GYMNASTICS This season the Buckeyes will move into their permanent home, storied St. John Arena. The historic arena was built in 1956 and has a seating capacity of 13,276. The home advantage OSU experienced in the past at Larkins Hall will definitely intensify with the move down the street. “We can walk in and say this is where we compete for all our events,” Avery said. “You dont get to compete in an arena like this unless its for the national championship. To compete and get comfortable in an arena of this size and for your everyday dual meets takes the pressure or stress off when youre at the bigger meets.” The Buckeyes have a perfect unbeaten dual-meet streak at home and look to continue their success throughout this season.