Jan. 19, 2005

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Columbus, Ohio – After opening the 2005 season with a third-place finish in a quad meet against No.7 Michigan, Minnesota and Maryland this past weekend, the Ohio State women’s gymnastics team travels to East Lansing, Mich., to meet the No. 11 rankedMichigan State Spartans at 2 p.m. Saturday at Jenison Field House. The Buckeyes enter the meet with a 1-2 overall record.

Ohio State finished third in a quad meet with No. 7 Michigan, Minnesota and Maryland Saturday night in St. John Arena. Ohio State totaled a score of 192.675 to edge Maryland, who posted a score of 191.550. Michigan claimed the meet with a score of 196.025 while Minnesota placed second with a total of 193.925.

The Buckeyes finished the night with team scores of 48.950 on beam, 48.575 on vault, 47.950 on bars and a 47.200 on floor.

Liz Meaney led the Buckeyes with a first-place finish, 9.850, on beam. Meaney also tallied a score of 9.675 on bars for 10th-place. Junior Kaylin Schlecht took third-place on bars with a tally of 9.825 while teammate Brittany Brown posted a mark of 9.750 on floor for fourth-place.

Members of the women’s gymnastics team volunteered at the Holy Family Soup Kitchen in downtown Columbus, Ohio on December 29, 2004. While volunteering the squad and its coaching staff served food and bagged groceries for people in need. In all, 280 meals were served throughout the day.

“It was a really humbling experience for us and the people we helped were very grateful,” Carey Fagan, Ohio State head coach, said. “You think you know what a soup kitchen is like and you think you know what to expect, but it’s still shocking when you see it, especially the families.”

Fagan and her team wanted to begin a tradition of doing community service projects. After talking to members of the Ohio State Student Athlete Support Services Offices the team decided working a soup kitchen was an excellent idea.

The Ohio State Athletics department will feature the women’s gymnastics team on live internet video during the LSU meet, at 2 p.m. Feb. 20 and the Japan All-Star meet at 7 p.m. March 3. Fans can access the live video link by logging on to the official athletics website at

At first glance, the 2005 Buckeyes seem to be a team with the appearance of a rebuilding year. Of the 10 competitors returning this season only three – senior Elizabeth Meaney, junior Kaylin Schlecht and sophomore Brittany Livingston – saw action as all-around competitors last season.

Leading the Buckeyes this season in almost every event will be Meaney, who is the Buckeyes’ top returning all-arounder. In 2004 she averaged a 38.910 in the all-around in nine meets.

On floor the Buckeyes will be led by Meaney and Livingston. Meaney competed on floor in every meet last year and posted a 9.850 or higher 12 times while averaging a 9.850. Livingston, meanwhile, posted consistent numbers for the Buckeyes competing in 10 meets, averaging a 9.750. Joining Meaney and Livingston will be senior Jenni Lymanstall, who averaged a 9.780 on floor in 2004. The Buckeyes also will look to Schlecht to provide added depth on floor.

As strong as the Buckeyes are on floor they will be equally as strong on beam. Once again Meaney will be the top returning competitor. She posted scores of 9.800 or better in 10 of her 12 performances last season.

On vault Ohio State features some very talented performers with Meaney again providing the scoring spark as she averaged a team-best 9.900 competing on vault in every meet. Meaney will be joined by sophomore Elizabeth Ahlberg, who made an immediate impact for the Buckeyes in 2004, competing in every meet averaging a 9.710.

Junior Leah Boccaccio is Ohio State’s top returning bars competitor. She had a break-out season last year as she scored a 9.800 or higher in four of the eight meets she competed in, and also averaged a team-best 9.780 in 2004.

The Buckeyes have much to celebrate with their 2005 recruiting class. The five-member scholarship class will bolster an Ohio State squad.

The Ohio State freshman class features two top Florida gymnasts in Jessica Rosette and Maalika Moore-Thomas, who will provide the Buckeyes with depth as all-arounders.

Shawnee, Mo., native Kaylan Clevinger will give the Buckeyes an added boost in the all-around as well. Having only been involved in gymnastics for a little over six years, Clevinger won the 2003 Level-9 Junior Olympics National Championship on vault, beam, floor and all-around before moving onto Level-10 in 2004, where she was runner-up in the Level-10 Missouri State Championships.

Karley Walek of Pequannock, N.J., will be looked upon to help Ohio State improve on vault. Walek is a three-time all-state selection and a 2004 Junior Olympic competitor.

Another New Jersey native, Helina Manesis will provide the Buckeyes with a spark in every event. Manesis won the state vault title in 2003.

Fagan also added Canonsburgh, Penn., product Megan Flood and Landisville Pa. native Amanda Gamby to the 2005 roster.

Louisiana State University transfer Brittany Brown joins the roster as well this season. Brown, a junior, will no doubt make an impact to the Buckeye season as an all-arounder. During her sophomore campaign at LSU, Brown averaged a 9.860 on floor and a 9.775 on beam.

Last June long time Ohio State women’s gymnastics coach Larry Cox retired from the ranks of head coach after 251 wins, five Big Ten championships and 24 trips to the NCAA Regional Championships. Enter newly appointed head coach Carey Fagan. After spending the last three seasons as an assistant coach for Ohio State, Fagan is now the head coach for the Buckeyes and 2005 will mark the beginning of the Fagan Era, as she inherits a team which went 9-7-1 in 2004.

“I am extremely excited to be here as head coach,” Fagan, a graduate of Penn State University, said. “We have a great team with loads of talent. It is a new beginning for us all.”

Jay Santos and William Lorenz were named assistant coaches by head caoch Carey Fagan for the 2005 season in August.

Santos, a 1995 graduate of UMass, joins Fagan’s staff after four successful years as the women’s team director of the Somersault Gymnastics Center in Stoughton, Mass.

Lorenz comes to Columbus after spending the last two seasons as an assistant women’s gymnastics coach at Penn State, where he was coordiantor of the conditioning and recruiting programs. Lorenz is a 1997 graduate of UMass.

Michigan State carries a 5-1 record and No. 11 ranking into this weekends meet. This past weekend Michigan State finished second at quad meet with Arizona, Missouri and Illinois-Chicago.

The Spartans are led by junior captain Sarah Alexander. Alexander was named Big Ten Athlete of the Week on Jan. 12, and is averaging a 39.15 in the all-around.

Kathie Klages is the head coach of the Spartans. Klages is in her 15th season as head coach and holds a career record of 238-113-3.

Ohio State dropped a pair of meets to Michigan State in 2004.

In its first meeting, Ohio State fell 194.800-196.775 Feb. 28, 2004 in East Lansing, Mich. The Buckeyes were led by Tiffanie Janke who placed second on both vault (9.925) and beam (9.850).

In their second meeting, the Buckeyes placed second behind the Spartans at the annual Eagle Classic on March 13, 2004, in Ypsilanti, Michigan. The Buckeyes tallied a score of 195.275 on the heels of a Tiffanie Janke first place all-around finish (39.575). Michigan State won the meet with a 195.700.

“We are excited to go and compete against one of our Big Ten rivals, Michigan State,” Fagan said. “Michigan State has had a great start to the season, and actually broke their school record for team score at their first competition this year. We have made some adjustments to our line-ups and will hopefully improve on the start we had at our season opener. We still have several athletes who will be returning to competition after injuries in the preseason, and these additions will help us on every event.”

The Buckeyes have enjoyed success in meets held at St. John Arena. Since the 1994 season, Ohio State is 43-15 at home. The Buckeyes also have won five of their last seven home meets dating back to the 2003 All-Ohio Championships.

The Buckeyes are 80-76-1 against teams from the Big Ten. Last season Ohio State finished 0-2-1 against conference foes, falling to Illinois and Michigan State while tying Penn State.

The Buckeyes return to St. John Arena to host a tri-meet with No. 5 Oklahoma and Illinois State at 7 p.m. Jan. 29.