COLUMBUS, Ohio – On senior day, the No. 14 Ohio State women’s gymnastics team tied its season-high team total of 196.100 to place first in a tri-meet vs. Missouri and Pittsburgh Saturday afternoon in St. John Arena. Missouri placed second with a 193.325, while Pittsburgh finished third with a 191.625 team total.
“We had a slow start on vault, but once we got going, we got on a roll today and it was good to know we have that strong mentality during a meet,” head coach Carey Fagan said. “Sarah Miller’s 9.95 on balance beam was as perfect as I’ve seen a routine performed in St. John Arena. Rebecca Best wasn’t listed to compete for us on bars, but she came through us for us today in her final home competition on senior day.”
The Buckeyes started on vault, placing second with a 48.600 and would lead the meet after the first rotation with Missouri in second (48.200) and Pittsburgh in third (47.650). Ohio State was led by junior Taylor Jones and freshman Melanie Shaffer each with a 9.750, tying fourth overall.
The Scarlet and Gray had a solid performance on bars, hitting all six routines with each ending with a stuck landing. Ohio State earned a team score of 48.975 to win the event. The team started the apparatus with a trio of 9.775’s from freshman Alex DeLuca, junior Casey Williamson and Shaffer, who all tied for fourth place. Up next, Jones scored a 9.750 to finish out the event, while sophomore Colleen Dean placed third with a 9.80.
Senior Rebecca Best won bars with a 9.80 and a 9.850 respectively. Shaffer, Williamson and Best all scored a new season high. After two events Ohio State held first place with a 97.575, 1.05 points in front of Pittsburgh in second.
Ohio State continued its momentum on beam when freshman Sarah Miller had an outstanding performance with a near perfect routine. Miller scored a 9.95, which was a season-high and new OSU individual best in 2011. Best followed Miller’s lead and posted a 9.850 for the Buckeyes. Dean and DeLuca claimed season-best scores with a 9.875 and a 9.80, respectively. The team score of 49.275, which won the event, was a season-high for the Buckeyes, besting their previous score of 49.150 which was set Feb. 4 in Denver, Colo. Miller placed first on beam, while Dean tied for second and Best earned fourth place. The Buckeyes extended their lead with an overall score of 146.850 to lead 2.350 over second-place Missouri headed into the final rotation.
Finishing up on floor exercise, the Scarlet and Gray posted a 49.250, tying the previous team-season mark to claim their third-consecutive event victory.
The team was led by the freshman duo of Shaffer and Miller with a pair of 9.90’s to for first overall. Schaffer’s performance was a season-high. Jones, who placed fourth overall, earned a 9.85 for another Buckeye season-best score. The team’s floor score solidified Ohio State’s victory, while Dean won the all-around competition with a 39.225 – just shy of her season high.
The Ohio State seniors had an outstanding performance to finish out the final home meet of the 2011 campaign. Best tied her season high on beam of 9.850 and recorded a 9.850 on bars. Senior Karissa Lam performed well on beam in an exhibition, scoring a 9.050. Senior student-assistant coach Jessica Staton and senior athletic trainer student Rachel Caruso were also recognized during the post-meet presentation with former Ohio State football coach John Cooper on hand.
The Buckeyes will now begin postseason play next week at the 2011 Big Ten Championships at 3 p.m. March 19 in Minneapolis, Minn.