April 4, 2000
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio State men’s gymnast Jamie Natalie (Jr., Hockessin, Del.) became the first Ohio State gymnast since 1997 to claim a NCAA title after winning both the all-around and floor exercise titles at the NCAA Championships last week in Iowa City, Iowa. He was named All-America in three events after placing in the top six in the all-around, floor exercise and still rings.
On Friday, Natalie scored a season-high 58.375 in the all-around to claim the championship and earn All-America honors. The last Ohio State gymnast to win the all-around title was 1996 Olympian and four-time defending national champion Blaine Wilson, who won in both 1996 and 1997.
After winning the all-around title, Natalie began the individual event finals on Saturday by winning the floor exercise crown with a 9.900. On the still rings, Natalie finished fifth to earn All-America honors on that event as well. He was an All-American last year after placing second on the pommel horse at the NCAA Championships.
At this year’s championships, Natalie also qualified for the individual event finals on the parallel bars, but placed eighth. Only the top six finishers on each event are named to the All-American team.
Natalie, a 2000 U.S. Olympic hopeful, had a standout season, as he also won the floor exercise title at the Big Ten Championships with a school-record 9.950. He broke the previous record of 9.925, set by Wilson at the 1996 NCAA Championships. He was named to the all-Big Ten team after placing third in the all-around and winning the floor exercise crown. Natalie earned Big Ten Gymnast of the Week honors three times this season and was eighth at the 2000 Winter Cup Challenge, the highest finish for a NCAA gymnast in the event.
Two other Buckeyes also earned All-America honors. On the vault, Daren Lynch (Jr., Londonderry, N.H.), the 2000 Big Ten vault champion, earned his second-consecutive All-America honor on the event by scoring a 9.700 to place sixth. He was fifth at the 1999 NCAA Championship on the vault. Raj Bhavsar (Fr., Houston, Texas), the Big Ten Freshman of the Year and an all-Big Ten honoree, also was named to the All-America team after placing third on the parallel bars. The NCAA Championships ended the Buckeyes’ 2000 season. The squad was 13-1 in the regular season, placed second at the Big Ten Championships and advanced to the NCAA Championships for a record 20th-consecutive season. The team finished sixth at the NCAA Championships.