Oct. 31, 2005

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State men’s gymnastics team tied Illinois for the No. 2 spot in the 2006 preseason coaches’ poll released by GymInfo. Defending champion Oklahoma earned the No. 1 spot, followed by Ohio State and Illinois.

The Buckeyes, the defending conference champion, are one of six Big Ten programs ranked in the Top 10 and one of three conference teams in the Top 5. Other Big Ten teams ranked include No. 5 Penn State, No. 6 Michigan (tied with Stanford), No. 8 Minnesota and No. 9 Iowa.

Ohio State returns 11 letterwinners from the team that earned second place at the NCAA men’s gymnastics championships last year, including senior three-time All-American and 2005 NCAA high bar champion, Ronald Ferris (Austintown, Ohio/ Ohio Gymnastics Institute). In addition, three-time All-American sophomore DJ Bucher (Mason, Ohio/ Queen City Gymnastics) returns in 2005 after earning a spot on the U.S. Men’s Gymnastics Senior National Team in August and competing at the World Championship Team trials in October.

Other key Ohio State returnees include juniors Willie Ito (Huntington Beach, Calif./ South Coast Gymnastics) and Grant Osborne (Fort Collins, Colo./ USOTC). Ito supported the team’s second place NCAA championships efforts tying former Buckeye Randy Monahan on high bar with a score of 9.9 and Osborne tied for 14th on floor and pommel horse.

The freshman class includes two Junior Olympic event finalists in Jake Bateman (Kingsport, Ohio/ Premier Athletics) and Eddie Hay (Butler, Pa./ Butler Gymnastics).

The Buckeyes kick off the season with three exhibition competitions including the Mixed Pairs Intersquad Dec. 4, the Scarlet and Gray meet Dec. 16 and the Varsity Exhibition Jan. 7. The team starts its regular season in Chicago at the Windy City Invitational Jan. 14.