Dec. 4, 2002

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COLUMBUS, OHIO – The Ohio State men’s and women’s gymnastics teams will preview the 2003 season in the co-ed Mixed Pairs Championship at 2 p.m. Sunday in St. John Arena. Ten teams of one women’s and one men’s gymnast each were randomly selected by a computer to compete in the event. The pairs will compete in three rotations, with the top seven pairs advancing to the second rotation and the top four moving to the final rotation.

There will be individual performances from both teams as exhibitions between each of the rotations. For the men’s exhibition, Raj Bhavsar and Ryan Schwartzkopf will perform on pommel horse, with Matthew Smith on rings. For the women’s exhibition, Julie Levi will vault, Kyla Watson and Jenni Lymanstall will perform on beam, Rickee Wirtzberger will perform on floor, and Megan Porter, Sarah Spring, Bethany Groskopf and Stefanie Marshall will perform on even bars and beam.

Coming off a second-consecutive Big Ten Championship, the Ohio State men’s gymnastics team has enormous potential for the 2002-03 season. Coach Miles Avery feels he has another championship team on his hands this year. The Buckeyes will return 33 out of 36 routines performed at the NCAA championship last year where they placed second to Oklahoma by less than one point. In addition, five All-American will return to compete this season. The 2002 NCAA and Big Ten individual champion, senior Raj Bhavsar, will help lead the team as it strives for Big Ten and NCAA championships.

Last season, the freshman class was called upon often and performed well. In the NCAA championships, the class performed 11 of 36 routines. Kerry Adderly was an All-American on floor and Randy Monahan was an All-American on high bar. With one year of experience and the off-season to improve, the class should be ready to move into the spotlight.

In five years under the direction of head coach Miles Avery the Buckeyes have remained among the nation’s elite. Under Avery’s guidance Ohio State has produced one NCAA title, two Big Ten titles, three NCAA all-around champions and 11 All-Americans.

Avery has garnered one national coach of the year honor (2001) and two-consecutive Big Ten Coach of the Year awards (2001, ’02). He also was named the 2002 Central Region Coach of the year.

The Ohio State women’ s gymnastics team enters the 2003 season looking to rebound off an uncharacteristic 3-15 season in 2002. The Buckeyes will face some tough competition this season with meets against Nebraska, Utah and Michigan all whom finished ranked in the Top 10 nationally in 2002.

“We have very tough competition,” Larry Cox, head coach, said. “We need to take advantage of more situations and I think we’ll do that this year. I’m really looking forward to our team maturing and staying in the competitive mode. One of the biggest improvements that we are going to see in this team is the take charge attitude at competitions.”

“We start against Michigan and that will be a good test for us early in the year. I look at them as probably the best in the Big Ten, but they are beatable. We’re going into all our meets to win.”

After losing four letterwinners to graduation, seniors Sheri Greig, Sarah Spring, Stephanie Marshall and Rickee Wirtzberger will step up to fill the leadership roles of the team.

Cox expects a tremendous amount of success from his seniors especially Greig, a Big Ten selection as a junior and Spring, who tied the school record in floor exercise last season.

Entering his 24th year as head coach of the Ohio State women gymnastics team, Cox has recorded a total of 232 wins throughout his career.

Cox, a graduate of Arizona State, earned co-Big Ten Coach of the Year honors in 2001, leading the Buckeyes to a 13-3 dual-meet record. In addition, Cox is also a three time regional Coach of the Year.

Proving himself as one of the country’s most prominent women’s gymnastics collegiate coaches, Cox has guided Ohio State to a NCAA Regional appearance in each of his 23 seasons at the helm. He led the Buckeyes to five-consecutive Big Ten titles between