Ohio State will host national championships for the first time since 2001

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The NCAA Men’s Gymnastics Championships will return to St. John Arena in 2011, The Ohio State University and the NCAA announced Thursday. The three-day championships will kick off Thursday, April 14 with two qualifying sessions followed by the team finals Friday, April 15. The 2011 national championships will conclude with the individual finals Saturday, April 16.

“Ohio State is honored to be hosting the 2011 NCAA Men’s Gymnastics Championships in St. John Arena,” Heather Lyke, Ohio State Associate Athletics Director, said. “For our coaching staff and team, the chance to compete in the most important meet of the season in front of our home crowd is invaluable. We look forward to welcoming the top teams from across the country to Columbus and giving our fans the opportunity to be a part of such a memorable event.”

Ohio State will be the third Big Ten Conference institution to host the national competition in the last six years after Penn State did so in 2007 and Minnesota in 2009.

“I am tremendously excited to host the NCAA championships in Columbus,” Miles Avery, 13th-year Buckeye head coach, said. “I am proud to bring a national championships of this caliber to St. John Arena. It hasn’t been here since 2001, and it was pretty good to us then, so we look forward to that opportunity again.”

In 2001, the Buckeyes won the program’s third NCAA title and Avery, in his fourth year at the helm, was named the national coach of the year in St. John Arena. Then-senior Jamie Natalie was presented the sport’s top honor, the Nissen-Emery award, previous to winning the NCAA All-Around title.

Natalie was named an All-American on three events in his home gym, including the all-around, floor and parallel bars. In all, Ohio State saw three athletes collect seven All-America laurels, including 2008 Beijing Olympian Raj Bhavsar.

In the last four seasons, the host program of the national championships has won twice with Oklahoma winning in 2006 and Penn State taking the crown in 2007. In 2008, Stanford was upset at home by Oklahoma but returned in 2009 to win the title in Minneapolis.