April 30, 2014

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State women’s gymnastics team held its annual awards banquet Tuesday evening to recognize all of the accomplishments throughout the past season. The Impact Award is given to a gymnast who competes in every meet throughout the season and hits every routine on the event, averaging a 9.70 or better.  The recipients of the Impact Award are: senior Melanie Shaffer (vault and floor exercise), freshman Jaine VanPutten (vault), junior Sarah Grady (uneven bars), sophomore Samantha Kent (uneven bars) and senior Alex DeLuca (floor exercise). 

Three additional awards that are decided upon by the coaches were also presented.  Shaffer earned the “O”Chievement MVP Award for her outstanding contributions to the team this season. She was a first team All-Big Ten selection and placed second on uneven bars at the Big Ten Championships, earning herself a spot on the All-Championship team. Shaffer also set a personal best 39.425 in the all-around this season and earned 9.90 or better multiple times on vault, bars and floor. 

Next, the Coaches Award was presented to freshman Tenille Funches. Funches competed in the all-around eight times this season and hit 38 out of her 39 routines, scoring a career-high 9.90 on vault twice. 

The Natalie Pausch Most Improved Gymnast Award was presented to senior Victoria Aepli. Aepli competed in the all-around six times this season, making her vault debut as a senior. Aepli also trained a new, more difficult floor exercise routine and upgraded her balance beam routine as well. The senior scored 9.80 or better on every event this season and earned a personal best 39.25 at the Big Ten Championships, where she was named second team All-Big Ten for the first time in her career. 

The four seniors, Aepli, DeLuca, Sarah Miller and Shaffer, also were honored for their exceptional careers at Ohio State. Each received a framed leotard with a picture of themselves from competition in it and a plaque listing their individual accomplishments.