April 8, 2006
NORMAN, Oklahoma – Five of seven Buckeyes qualified for five events at the NCAA Individual Event Finals scheduled for 8 p.m. Saturday at the Lloyd Noble Center on the campus of the University of Oklahoma.
“Overall I’m proud of the guys that represented Ohio State well,” Miles Avery, Ohio State head coach, said. “Hopefully tomorrow we come home with some All-Americans.”
To begin the individual event qualifier, freshman Eddie Hay (Butler, Pa./Butler Gymnastics) earned a 9.475 and Jimmy Wickham (So., Gulfport, Miss./Planet Gymnastics) scored an 8.550 on floor for Ohio State. Hay’s score earned him a third-place finish, and a chance to compete for the title crown.
Sophomore DJ Bucher (Mason, Ohio/Queen City Gymnastics) represented the Buckeyes on pommel and scored an 8.875. Bucher qualified for the event final with a fifth-place finish.
Kristopher Kline (Jr., Westerville, Ohio/Hocking Valley Gymnastics) and freshman Jake Bateman (Kingsport, Tenn./Premier Gymnastics) competed for Ohio State on rings. Kline notched a season-high 9.025 on the event and Bateman tallied an 8.825.
In second event of the night for both Wickham and Kline, the Buckeyes earned a 9.550 and 8.950, respectively. Wickham ended the evening with a third-place finish to advance to the finals Saturday.
On parallel bars, Nicholaus Searcy (Dublin, Ohio/Hocking Valley Gymnastics) represented Ohio State on the event and scored a 9.225. Searcy tied for 10th and will compete for the event title tomorrow evening. Bucher also competed on the event and earned a 9.200.
Co-captain Willie Ito (Jr., Huntington Beach, Calif./South Coast Gymnastics) and Bateman both competed on high bar in the individual event qualifier. On his only event of the night, Ito tallied a 9.775, only .25 less than his season high to land a second-place finish. The second-place finish moves him on to the individual finals. Bateman ended the competition with an 8.300 on the event.