Jan. 23, 2001

%^$Bucks Look to Stay on High Note
%^$The seventh-ranked Ohio State women’s gymnastics team entertains No. 16 Penn State Saturday night at 7 p.m. at St. John Arena. Ohio State comes off a fine all-around performance at Sunday’s All-Ohio Championships, where the Buckeyes posted the sixth-best score in school history (195.575).%^$

%^$Bucks-Lions: The Series
%^$Penn State holds a 20-14 edge over Ohio State in the all-time series. The Nittany Lions captured a 194.800-192.425 win over the Buckeyes last season in Happy Valley.%^$

%^$Scouting the Nittany Lions
%^$Penn State enters the upcoming meet with a 2-0 dual meet record and No. 16 national ranking after a 194.075-192.150 win Saturday in State College, Pa. The Nittany Lions were paced by Maria Taylor’s first-place finishes on beam (9.825) and bars (9.925). The Lions are led by co-captain Gemma Cuff, a returning All-American on floor. Penn State is guided by ninth-year head coach Steve Shephard (Southern Illinois, 1975), who has posted a 105-58 record during his tenure at Penn State.%^$

%^$Buckeyes Capture All-Ohio Crown
%^$Ohio State recorded its best all-around effort of the season Sunday at the All-Ohio Championships, dominating with a season-best score of 195.575 en route to the crown. The Buckeyes easily topped runner-up Kent State (193.150) and Bowling Green (191.175) to win the event, hosted at Bowling Green’s Anderson Arena. The Buckeyes’ score is the sixth-best in school history and the best in two years. OSU had individuals place first in three of four events, while Sarah Spring paced the Buckeye attack with her second straight all-around title, scoring 39.000 to eke past Kent State’s Jenny Eckel (38.975). Lindsey Vagedes captured two individual titles, winning the floor exercise (9.9) crown, while tying with teammate Jill Tucker with a 9.95 on vault. Mary Beth Doerr won the uneven bars competition for the second straight week, scoring 9.875.%^$

%^$We’re No. 1 – Squared
%^$Lindsey Vagedes and Jill Tucker both can claim to be the top vaulter in the country this week. The two are tied with Georgia’s Sierra Sapunar for the highest score in the nation on vault this season (9.95).%^$

%^$Vagedes Vaults to Top – Again
%^$Lindsey Vagedes has been phenomenal on vault this season, winning each of the first three competitions while averaging a score of 9.892. Vagedes is tied with teammate Jill Tucker and Georgia’s Sierra Sapunar for No. 1 in the nation on vault (9.95). Vagedes also is nationally ranked on bars (16th), floor (21st) and in the all-around (25th).%^$

%^$Buckeyes Making History
%^$Ohio State’s score of 195.575 at the All-Ohio Championships is the sixth-best in school history. It also is the highest score ever in a road dual meet, topping the previous high of 195.175, set in a loss at Illinois March 6, 1999. The score is already better than any score recorded last season.%^$

%^$Buerkel Back Despite Her Back
%^$Stephanie Buerkel made a major impact at the All-Ohio Championships, taking second place on bars (9.85) and third on beam (9.8). For the first time this season, Buerkel competed in more than one event after taking several months off due to a back injury. Buerkel’s performance on beam was key as the Buckeyes improved by 1.525 points from a score of 47.175 vs. Ball State.%^$

%^$Home Sweet Home
%^$Ohio State has been virtually unbeatable at home over the past four-plus seasons, defeating 21 of the last 25 opponents who have come to Columbus. OSU won its home opener, 193.500-192.900, over Ball State Jan. 12.%^$

%^$Ohio State in the Rankings
%^$Ohio State is ranked seventh in the latest GymInfo poll, which is based on team high scores. OSU holds Top-25 rankings in three of the four event rankings, highlighted by a No. 4 ranking on vault and No. 7 mark on uneven bars. Ohio State has posted a 2-1 record against ranked teams this season after downing No. 10 Bowling Green and No. 19 Kent State last week. The Buckeyes will square off with six teams ranked in the Top-25 preseason poll this season.%^$

%^$Individuals in the Rankings
%^$In addition to the aforementioned Lindsey Vagedes, several other Buckeyes are ranked individually in the national rankings. Jill Tucker is tied for first place with Vagedes on vault. Sarah Spring is tied for 10th on floor, while Mary Beth Doerr is tied with Vagedes for 25th on bars.%^$

%^$GymInfo Poll – Jan. 22, 2001%^$No.School Team High%^$1. UCLA 197.500%^$2. Alabama 196.650%^$3. Georgia 196.500%^$4. Utah 196.375%^$5. Michigan 196.200%^$6. Illinois St. 196.000%^$7. Ohio State 195.575%^$8. Florida 195.550%^$9. Nebraska 194.500%^$10.Stanford 195.300%^$ Oklahoma 195.300%^$12.California 195.175%^$13.Iowa State 195.075%^$14.Oregon State 194.900%^$15.Minnesota 194.850%^$16.Penn State 194.825%^$ Bowling Gr. 194.825%^$18.Illinois 194.650%^$19.Utah State 194.450%^$20.BYU 194.325%^$21.Denver 194.175%^$22.Iowa 194.100%^$23.W. Michigan 193.850%^$24.N. Hampshire 193.800%^$25.Arizona St. 193.750%^$

%^$2001 OSU opponents in bold%^$Rankings based on team high scores%^$

%^$Event National Rankings%^$Event OSU Ranking%^$Floor Exercise 34th (48.725)%^$Balance Beam 19th (48.700)%^$Uneven Bars 7th (49.250)%^$Vault 4th (49.075)%^$Bucks Hit Jackpot on Bars
%^$OSU has been solid on uneven bars this season, posting its highest event score on bars in each of the first three meets. Last week, OSU scored 49.150 – just a tenth of a point shy of its record-tying effort against Ball State. In the BSU meet, the Buckeyes tied the uneven bars school record with a 49.250, matching the mark set Feb. 22, 1997, at Michigan. All five scoring Buckeyes recorded career highs of at least 9.8 in the event vs. BSU.%^$

%^$Vagedes No Stranger to Success
%^$Lindsey Vagedes continued her fabulous start to the season with first-place finishes on vault and floor exercise at the All-Ohio Championships. Vagedes has won the vaulting competition in all three meets this season. After winning two events and the all-around in the season opener at Minnesota, she earned Big Ten Athlete of the Week honors. Vagedes earned All-Big Ten distinctions on vault, beam, floor and in the all-around last season, joining Michigan’s Sarah Cain as the only Big Ten gymnast to earn All-Big Ten laurels in four or more events. Vagedes also is a three-time Big Ten individual champion, earning the 1998 and 1999 vault crowns and the 1999 beam title.%^$

%^$Buckeyes Bounce Ball State
%^$Led by a career-best performance from Sarah Spring, Ohio State posted a 193.500-192.900 victory over Ball State Jan. 12 at St. John Arena. Spring captured the all-around title with a career-high 39.050 and also won the floor exercise with a career-best 9.925. OSU tied a school record on uneven bars, recording a score of 49.250 to tie the mark, previously set at Michigan Feb. 22, 1997. All five scoring Buckeyes set or tied career highs with at least a 9.8 on the apparatus. Lindsey Vagedes won the vault title (9.875) and tied for the bars crown with Mary Beth Doerr (9.9). Vagedes also nabbed runner-up laurels on floor (9.85) to Spring. OSU also received a fine performance on balance beam from Jenni Lymanstall, who tied for first place (9.775).%^$

%^$Bucks Score Well, But Fall to UM
%^$Despite posting a strong score in its season opener, Ohio State dropped a 194.275-192.250 decision to No. 18 Minnesota Jan. 6 in Minneapolis. Lindsey Vagedes had a stellar meet for Ohio State, winning the all-around competition with a score of 39.175. Vagedes also captured the vault competition, scoring 9.850, and tied for first place on balance beam with a 9.800. She added a fourth-place finish on uneven bars (9.725) and a fifth-place finish in the floor exercise (9.800). Sarah Spring also starred for the Buckeyes, taking second to Vagedes in the all-around with a 38.325. Spring won the bars crown, scoring 9.775 to squeak past teammate Mary Beth Doerr, who tied for second (9.750).%^$

%^$A Good Way to Start
%^$Ohio State’s score of 192.250 in the season opener at Minnesota was by far its best score to open a season. It topped last season’s season-opening tally of 190.650, set in a quadrangular meet at Michigan State.%^$

%^$Wirtzberger Out For Season
%^$After a stellar freshman campaign which included a trip to the NCAA Championships, Rickee Wirtzberger will miss the 2001 season with a neck injury, suffered in practice over the summer. Wirtzberger advanced to the NCAA Championships after tying for first place on floor at regionals with a 9.925 – a career best.%^$

%^$OSU Head Coach Larry Cox
%^$Three-time regional Coach of the Year Larry Cox heads into his 22nd season as the Ohio State women’s gymnastics coach. Cox has guided OSU to a NCAA Regional appearance in each of his 21 seasons at the helm and has produced four All-Americans. He has led the Buckeyes to five Big Ten crowns, six NCAA Regional titles, and six NCAA Championships berths. Cox began his career at Odessa (Texas) Junior College, winning the Junior College National Championship on parallel bars in 1975. He transferred to Arizona State in 1976 and won the WAC parallel bars title in 1977. That same year, Cox was a finalist for the Nissen Award, presented annually to the nation’s outstanding senior male collegiate gymnast. After graduating in 1977, Cox remained at ASU as assistant coach for the men’s and women’s gymnastics teams. In 1979, Cox became head coach at Ohio State.%^$

%^$2000 Season In Review
%^$After struggling throughout much of the season, Ohio State came alive down the stretch of the season, earning a bid to the NCAA Regionals – the team’s 21st straight bid to the postseason. OSU took fourth at the Big Ten Championships and followed it up with a strong third-place finish at regionals, missing by one place of advancing. Buckeyes Rickee Wirtzberger and Jill Tucker advanced to the NCAA Championships as individuals, tying for the floor exercise crown with scores of 9.925. OSU also posted a school-record score of 49.450 on floor at the regional meet – the second-best score posted by any team competing in the NCAA Regionals.