Feb. 3, 2007

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Columbus, Ohio – The No. 4 Ohio State men’s gymnastics team (5-2 overall; 1-0 Big Ten) posted a season-high 216.35 to best No. 10 Temple by 17.8 points in front of a crowd of 812 at St. John Arena Saturday. In their home opener, the Buckeyes scored Top 3 individual scores on all events but high bar. In the victory, the squad noted the Top 5 finishes on pommel horse, rings and parallel bars.

“I was pleased to see the guys continually improve from week to week,” Miles Avery, Ohio State head coach said. “I can tell we still have a lot to do before the championships in March and April.”

On floor, Ohio State edged Temple, 36.3-34.2 to capture the event. For the Buckeyes, senior Grant Osborne (Fort Collins, Colo./USOTC) earned one of his two event wins with a 9.35. Following Osborne was floor specialist Jimmy Wickham (Jr., Gulfport, Miss./Planet Gymnastics) in second with a 9.15 and senior co-captain Kristopher Kline (Westerville, Ohio/Hocking Valley Gymnastics) rounded out the Top 3 with a 9.0.

In the second rotation, the Buckeyes grabbed the Top 5 scores on pommel horse as the team outscored the Owls, 36.2-32.9. For the Buckeyes, the 36.2 marks a season-high. Osborne captured his second event win with a 9.3 and was followed by classmate Willie Ito (Sr., Huntington Beach, Calif./South Coast Gymnastics) in second (9.15), Kline in third (8.9), DJ Bucher (Jr., Mason, Ohio/Queen City Gymnastics) in fourth (8.85) and Tai Lee (Fr., Orlando, Fla./Orlando Metro Gymnastics) in fifth (8.8). The Scarlet and Gray dominated on rings as all Ohio State gymnasts outscored their competitors and each scored more than a 9.0. Bucher and Kline tied on the event with a 9.4 and Lee closely followed with a score of 9.35 to round out the Top 3. For Kline, the 9.4 was a career high on the apparatus. Juniors Pejman Ebrahimi (Encino, Calif./LeClub Gymnastics) and Pedro Pineda (Galloway, Ohio/Hocking Valley Gymnastics) tied for fourth (9.15) and sophomore Jake Bateman (Kingsport, Tenn./Premier Gymnastics) scored a 9.05 for sixth. The squad compiled a score of 37.3, besting Temple by 3.9 points.

With a 35.35, Ohio State finished first on vault and again landed the Top 3 scores. Junior David Ortiz (Cincinnati, Ohio/Queen City Gymnastics) grabbed his second event win this season with a 9.1. On the event, Wickham finished in second and Kline in third with scores of 8.95 and 8.8, respectively.

On parallel bars, the Buckeyes again earned the Top 5 marks and bested the Owls, 35.75-32.15. Bucher led with a 9.5 first-place finish, Ito earned a 9.0 for second and senior co-captain Nicholaus Searcy (Dublin, Ohio/Hocking Valley Gymnastics) wrapped up the Top 3 with an 8.7. In fourth was Lee (8.55) and Bateman scored an 8.5 for fifth.

In the final rotation for Ohio State, Lee earned career-high marks with a 9.4 for first on high bar. Ortiz added to the team’s, 35.45-32.6 event win with a second-place finish of 9.35.

Next week, the coaching staff and nine Buckeyes will travel to Las Vegas for the 2007 Winter Cup Challenge Feb. 8-10. The men’s program is sending the most representatives (11) to the USA Gymnastics competition this year, including all four Ohio State seniors. Willie Ito, Kristopher Kline, Grant Osborne and Nicholaus Searcy will be joined by juniors DJ Bucher and Jimmy Wickham, sophomores Jake Bateman and Eddie Hay and freshman Tai Lee at the Winter Cup. At the challenge, two pools of 42 gymnasts will vie for a limited number of spots on the U.S. Senior National Team. In addition to the current student-athletes, former Buckeyes Blaine Wilson and Randy Monahan will compete at the national meet as well.