April 2, 2016
COLUMBUS, Ohio – One day removed from winning its first conference title since 2007, the third-ranked Ohio State men’s gymnastics team put an exclamation point on its Big Ten championship weekend Saturday night, sweeping the Big Ten’s season-end awards and collecting three event titles at the 2016 Big Ten Event Finals inside St. John Arena.
Redshirt sophomore and Big Ten all-around champion Sean Melton led the Scarlet and Gray barrage, winning gold medals on parallel bars and floor exercise while collecting a silver medal on rings on his way to Big Ten Gymnast of the Year honors. Melton became the sixth Buckeye to win the conference’s top award and the first since Randy Monahan in 2004.
Melton, a native of Orlando, Fla., was simply spectacular for the Buckeyes. He set an NCAA record dating back to the 2012 season on parallel bars – a near-flawless score of 16.175 – and tied a personal-best score of 15.450 to secure the title on floor. He added a 15.100 on rings, falling just shy of the winning total of 15.125, and was eighth on high bar with a 13.900. All of this to go along with his winning all-around total of 89.750 from team finals on Friday.
Alec Yoder, a native of Indianapolis, was outstanding in his conference debut for Ohio State, earning Big Ten Freshman of the Year honors, the second Buckeye in the last three years to do so after Melton collected the award in 2014. Yoder was victorious on pommel horse with a score of 15.225 and added a fourth-place showing on high bar (14.475) and seventh-place performance on rings (14.700). The freshman sensation was runner-up in the all-around Friday night with a score of 87.550.
Sophomore Seth Delbridge (15.325) and senior Alex Johnson (14.550) added silver medals for the Buckeyes on vault and high bar, respectively, as Ohio State earned either gold or silver in all six events, along with the all-around competition. Delbridge’s performance was a personal best, while Johnson quite literally finished a step behind the winning total of 14.575.
The historic performance by the Buckeyes that began with a winning team score of 434.450 on Friday earned head coach Rustam Sharipov Big Ten Coach of the Years accolades. Now in his fifth season at Ohio State, Sharipov is the fourth Buckeye head coach to earn B1G Coach of the Year honors and the first since Miles Avery in 2007.
“I’m incredibly proud of this team,” Sharipov said after the championships. “We handled all of the challenges the meet threw at us this weekend and had a great showing in front of our family, friends and fans. The medals and awards our guys earned are a testament to their hard work.
“We’ll take a day to celebrate this achievement, and then it’s back to the gym as we focus on our main goal – the NCAA championship.”
Big Ten Gymnast of the Year
Big Ten Freshman of the Year
Big Ten Coach of the Year
Ohio State hosts the 2016 NCAA Men’s Gymnastics Championships April 15-16 at St. John Arena. Tickets are available at OhioStateBuckeyes.com, NCAA.com/tickets, Ticketmaster.com or by calling 1-800-GOBUCKS.