EAST LANSING, Mich. – No. 24 Ohio State showed poise and determination as it fought back to claim a third-place finish at the Big Five meet with a score of 195.150 Saturday afternoon to conclude the regular season. The Buckeyes came in behind Illinois (196.850) and Maryland (195.700) while they topped No. 11 Nebraska (194.900) and Michigan State (192.825).
The Scarlet & Gray helped hand the Cornhuskers their first loss of the season. Ohio State heads into the postseason at 12-7 overall and 5-4 in the Big Ten.
The day started out rough as the Buckeyes struggled on balance beam to open the meet. The squad concluded the first rotation with a 47.550, which was fourth, while Stefanie Merkle had a team-high 9.775.
“We told them they needed to fight hard,” said head coach Meredith Paulicivic. “They went into their bye and regrouped. Brooke [Chesney] came out and led off with an awesome floor set and we rolled from there. I’ve never been so proud of the team for their fight!”
After a bye for the second rotation, Ohio State bounced back on floor exercise behind a 42.900, the third-best score. Brooke Chesney got the team going with a 9.825, which Janelle McClelland and Merkle matched. Olivia Aepli, Jamie Stone and Alexis Mattern all scored a 9.850 to keep the rally going.
The momentum stayed in OSU’s favor as the team moved on to vault. The Buckeyes finished second with a 49.125, the second-highest mark of the season. Mattern led the charge with a career-high 9.925 in the anchor spot to claim the event title. Stone tallied a 9.850 while Merkle and Morgan Lowe each had a 9.800.
Ohio State ended the meet on uneven bars, where it notched a 49.275 to tie for second place. Peyton Hinterberger secured a career-high 9.825 and Aepli tied her season high on a 9.850. Jenna Swartzentruber and Kaitlyn Hofland topped the team after they both earned a 9.875.
Mattern checked in sixth in the all-around competition with a 39.100.
By placing third, Ohio State earned a spot in the evening session of the 2018 Big Ten Championships on Saturday, Mar. 24 at 8 p.m. ET in Champaign, Ill.