Dec. 10, 2015

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The No. 2-ranked Ohio State men’s gymnastics team was named the preseason favorite in the Big Ten Conference in a poll of league coaches released Thursday.

The Buckeyes enter the 2016 season at the top of the preseason Big Ten rankings for the second consecutive season. Ohio State returns three All-Americans and 16 letterwinners to its roster after an injury-plagued 2015 campaign that saw the Buckeyes finish fifth at the conference championships.

Defending Big Ten champion Penn State was voted second overall. Illinois was ranked third, followed by Michigan and Minnesota. Iowa and Nebraska completed the preseason rankings in sixth and seventh place, respectively.

The conference coaches also announced their “Gymnasts to Watch” for the 2016 season, a list that includes redshirt sophomore Sean Melton and redshirt junior Jake Martin.

A four-event All-American, two-time Big Ten champion and the 2014 Big Ten Freshman of the Year, Melton won a bronze medal in the all-around and team gold with the U.S. Senior National Team at the 2014 Senior Pan American Championships. The Orlando, Fla., native, returning to competition after a redshirt season in 2015, was 16th in the all-around at the P&G championships this summer.

Martin was a two-event All-American and the Big Ten champion on vault for the Scarlet and Gray in 2014. A native of Oviedo, Fla., Martin qualified for the P&G championships this past summer after redshirting the 2015 season.

OSU opens the 2015-16 campaign with the Scarlet and Gray Exhibition next Sunday, Dec. 20, at 2 p.m. at Steelwood Athletic Training Facility. The regular season begins Jan. 17 with a trip to the Windy City Invitational in Chicago.

Ohio State hosts both the Big Ten and NCAA championships at St. John Arena in April.

1. Ohio State
2. Penn State
3. Illinois
4. Michigan
5. Minnesota
6. Iowa
7. Nebraska

Bobby Baker, So., Illinois
Chandler Eggleston, So., Illinois
Andrew Botto, Jr., Iowa
Matthew Loochtan, Sr., Iowa
Dmitri Belanovski, So., Michigan
Emyre Cole, Fr., Michigan
Paul Montague Jr., Sr., Minnesota
Yaroslav Pochinka, So., Minnesota
Ethan Lottman, Sr., Nebraska
Sam Chamberlain, Sr., Nebraska
Jake Martin, Jr., Ohio State
Sean Melton, So., Ohio State
Trevor Howard, Sr., Penn State
Dominic DiFulvio, Jr., Penn State