CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — No. 24 Ohio State had three gymnasts finish on the podium as the team took home fifth place at the Big Ten Championships Saturday inside State Farm Center. The Buckeyes had their third-highest score of the season with a 196.375.
“The best thing was the fight in the team tonight,” head coach Meredith Paulicivic said. “We stayed on 23-of-24 routines, which is really good. The fact that the intricate events, bars and beam, were last and we handled that better than we have all year on the biggest stage is a huge confidence builder for this young team. Hopefully it’ll put us in the right place as we head back to St. John Arena for NCAA Regionals.”
Jamie Stone (vault) and Olivia Aepli (uneven bars) became the first pair of Buckeyes to win individual titles since Aly Marohn ’13 and Sarah Miller ’14 back in 2013. Alexis Mattern earned bronze on floor exercise and joined the duo on the All-Big Ten Championships Team.
“Super excited for the girls,” exclaimed Paulicivic. “I’ve told Jamie and Olivia all year that I feel like if they hit they can be a 9.9 and Lexy is a great floor kid. To get a Big Ten individual title is exciting for our team. I think a lot of people notice the difference in the team and know that we have the potential in the next couple of years to be one of those top teams.”
The championship started on floor exercise for the Buckeyes, who checked in with a 49.275. Mattern led the way as she tied her career high on a 9.925 to place third. Janelle McClelland and Stefanie Merkle both had a 9.875.
Ohio State moved on to vault, where it posted the second-highest score of the season behind a 49.150. Stone stuck her landing for a career-high 9.900 and a tie for the win. Mattern and Morgan Lowe were right behind her with a 9.850 and 9.825, respectively.
After a bye rotation, it was time for the Buckeyes to compete on uneven bars, where they finished with a 49.100. Aepli performed the best routine of her career to earn the highest score by a Buckeye this season with a career-best 9.950, which tied for first place. Mattern notched a 9.825 while Kaitlyn Hofland and Jenna Swartzentruber both had a 9.800.
The night ended on balance beam with a 48.850. Stone once again paced the Buckeyes, this time with a 9.825. Both Swartzentruber and Amanda Huang scored a 9.800 on the apparatus.
Mattern was ninth overall in the all-around competition with a 39.250.
Ohio State will serve as one of six NCAA Regionals hosts and awaits news about who will be making their way to St. John Arena. The teams will be unveiled during the NCAA Selection Show on Monday, Mar. 26 at 4 p.m. ET on NCAA.com.