Jan. 19, 2001

COLUMBUS, Ohio— The men’s gymnastics program took their season record to 5-2 with a solid defeat of Illinois-Chicago on Jan. 19 at St. John Arena. The Buckeyes and Flames met for the second time in two weeks. Their first meeting, at the seven-team Windy City Invitational Jan. 13, saw OSU walk away with a third place finish and UIC place seventh. Ohio State remained poised as they won four of the six routines in the rematch, winning the competition by a final score of 208.200-198.675.

Dick Huntwork (So., Pickerington, Ohio), Jamie Natalie (Sr., Hockessin, Del.), Daren Lynch (Sr., Londonderry, N.H.) and Jamey Houle (Fr. Enfield, Conn.) helped ensure another Buckeyes win with stellar performances. Huntwork won the all-around crown with a score of 50.90. Lynch recorded the highest single score for the Buckeyes with a 9.35 on rings, followed by Earnest Nelson’s ( Jr., Rowlett, Texas) 9.15 on vault. Lynch won the rings competition and his 8.75 on parallel bars placed second only to Natalie’s 8.85. In addition to the parallel bars crown, Natalie also placed second on high bar, third on floor exercises and third on vault. Jamey Houle scored a 8.900 on high bar to win the routine and placed second on pommel horse with a score of 8.75.

Much like the Windy City Invitational, both teams struggled to adapt to the new rule changes instituted by the International Gymnastics Governing Council for the 2001 season. The increased difficulty of the routines once again brought lower than expected scores from the judges.

“We could do easier routines and end up on our feet, but that’s not what we’re trying to do.” said OSU head coach Miles Avery, “We want to do the toughest routines and keep improving week by week. We did a little better today than the week before, and that’s the game plan. We’re going to take our bumps and our bruises all during the year, but it will all come together at the end of the season. Our guys believe that this is the way to win and we’re not going to change our strategy.” The Buckeyes travel to Ann Arbor on Jan. 20 to face the top-ranked Michigan Wolverines. OSU handed Michigan their only two regular-season losses last year as the Wolverines went on a compile a 22-2 record. But despite the rivalry, Avery is hoping to focus the team on a larger goal.

“I want to beat Michigan tomorrow, but that’s not the most important thing right now. Our plan is to beat Michigan at the end of the year. Right now, we just want to keep improving our routines. Winning in January doesn’t really mean anything, it’s what happens at the end that matters.” he said.