Aug. 15, 2006

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio State seniors Kristopher Kline (Westerville, Ohio/Hocking Valley Gymnastics Center) and Nicholaus Searcy (Dublin, Ohio/Hocking Valley Gymnastics Center) set off for the USA Gymnastics’ VISA Championships Aug. 16 – 19 at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn., to contend for a spot on the U.S. National Team. Kline and Searcy are joined by former Buckeye Raj Bhasvar (2000-03) who also qualified after turning in three Top 3 finishes at the national qualifier in July.

Both Buckeyes enter their first USA championships. After finishing in the Top 10 on three of four events at the qualifier, Kline qualified for the final round of competition. Searcy was added to the field July 27, after just missing an automatic bid at the July 15 qualifier in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Kline and Bhasvar had advanced to the finals by garnering 58.00 and 60.55 total points, respectively, to join 25 other senior gymnasts vying for national titles and positions on the U.S. National team at the championships.

“I’m hoping the guys can take confidence away from their first championships,” Miles Avery, Ohio State head coach, said. “And realize they are among the best in the country.”

As a Buckeye, Kline has competed at every meet since joining the team as a freshman. During the 2006 regular season, Kline’s consistent performances boosted the Scarlet and Gray, undefeated in the Big Ten, to a 10-1 record. In addition, he notched a personal-best 9.3 on vault at the Big Ten Championships en route to defending the Buckeyes’ conference team title.

Searcy, co-captain of the 2006 Buckeye squad, added his season-high 9.15 on vault to help catapult the Buckeyes to the championship crown. After the 2005 season, Searcy earned the most improved award from his squad and in 2006 was named Sportsman of the Year for Ohio State at the Big Ten championships. Although pre-qualified for the USA championships, Ohio State junior and U.S. National team member Jimmy Wickham (Gulfport, Miss./Planet Gymnastics) will not compete at this event because of an injury sustained at the July qualifier.