Buckeyes take sixth place at team competition

WEST POINT, N.Y.  – With a 347.350 team total, the Ohio State men’s gymnastics team finished sixth at the 2010 NCAA Team Championships Friday night in Christl Arena on the campus of the Military Academy in West Point, N.Y.

Michigan won with a 360.500, Stanford was second with a 359.800 and Oklahoma took third with a 357.050.

Gymnasts with the Top 10 scores on each event from the Friday night competition advance to the 2010 NCAA Individual Championships held at 7 p.m. Saturday to compete for the individual national titles. For the Buckeyes, junior Brandon Wynn, the nation’s top athlete on rings, will be vying for the rings title, sophomore Steven Spencer, the 2009 NCAA runner-up in on pommel horse, will get a second chance at the title and sophomore Philip Onorato advances on vault.

The interesting, four and half hour meet, which included a ring breaking – yes the ring broke in half – and saw five athletes receive a second chance on the event, will be televised on a tape-delayed basis on ESPN2 at 1:30 p.m. April 23.  

“The guys fought hard out and put it all out there today,” Miles Avery, Ohio State head coach, said. “The three guys advancing have a very good chance to walk away with a national title.”

For the fifth time this collegiate season, Wynn scored a 16.0 or above on rings for his ninth win in as many tries. Wynn’s tally of a 16.0 led Ohio State to a 59.9, its fifth-best event total of 2010. Each of the Buckeyes scoring gymnasts pushed a little harder and raised their marks from the qualifying session Thursday. Senior Tai Lee contributed a 14.8, sophomore Mike Behles added a 14.7 and senior Shachar Tal turned in a 14.4 to better the team’s score from the qualifying session by more than a point.

Moving on to vault, the Buckeyes posted a 62.5 behind a team-high and ninth-place 15.9 from sophomore Philip Onorato. Senior Justin Myers added a 15.75, just .05 off of his career best, while Wynn had a 15.7. In a tie were Lee and freshman Blaize Monks as both tallied a 15.15.

Wynn led the squad on parallel bars with a 14.45, bettering his score from the Thursday qualifier by four tenths of a point. In all, the Buckeyes had a 55.8 on the event with Regan adding a 13.9, Tal a 13.75 and Myers a 13.7.

Before the end of the third rotation, a rare occurrence happened as a ring, made of fiberglass, broke while Illinois’ Tyler Williamson was competing. This was just the second time head official Brain Meeker had seen this occur with the equipment. Thus, a 30 minute equipment break was in order with the entire Army men’s gymnastics team rising to the call of duty.

Once the rings were back in working order and the final two competitors went on the event, the teams advanced to their next events and were issued a three minute warm-up time to get back into competition mode.  

Through three rotations, Wynn led the pack of all-around competitors with a 46.150 total.

Taking on high bar in the fourth rotation, Ohio State saw Regan and Monks lead the squad with a 14.3 and 14.05, respectively, as the Buckeyes combined for a 55.7. For both Regan and Monks, the scores represented their fourth-best marks of the season. Myers contributed a 13.9 while Echard and Wynn tied with a 13.45.

Behind season highs from Onorato and Lee, an energetic Ohio State posted a season-high 58.95 event total on floor. Tal and Wynn championed the squad with a pair of 14.85s after Onorato scored a 2010-best 14.65 and Lee a 14.6. The final score the Buckeyes counted toward the floor total was Monks’ 14.5, just .20 shy of his personal best.

Action was halted once more as issues over the replacement set of rings were discussed. After a great floor set, the Scarlet and Gray had to sit through a 20 minute break before observing a bye in the sixth rotation for a combined rest period of 45 minutes.

Pommel horse started a bit rocky for the Buckeyes, but Spencer hit a great set, scoring a 15.2 for second place and helping the team to a 54.5 event total. Spencer’s mark was his third best this season. Sophomore pommel horse specialist Matt Rayl posted a 13.4, Echard had a 13.0 and Lee a 12.9.

Blaize Monks: 14.5
Shachar Tal: 14.85
Philip Onorato: 14.65
Tai Lee:  14.6
Brandon Wynn: 14.85
Justin Myers: 14.15
Event Total: 58.95

Pommel Horse
Brandon Wynn: 11.35
Tai Lee: 12.9
Matt Rayl: 13.4
John Laing: 11.05
Steven Spencer: 15.2
Ty Echard: 13.0
Event Total: 54.5

Sean Regan: 12.8
Shachar Tal: 14.4
Mike Behles: 14.7
Tai Lee: 14.8
Brandon Wynn: 16.0
Event Total: 59.9

Blaize Monks: 15.15
Tai Lee: 15.15
Justin Myers: 15.75
Philip Onorato: 15.9
Brandon Wynn: 15.7
Event Total: 62.5

Parallel Bars
Steven Spencer: 13.15
Sean Regan: 13.9
Shachar Tal: 13.75
Tai Lee: 13.25
Justin Myers: 13.7
Brandon Wynn: 14.45
Event Total: 55.8

High Bar
Ty Echard: 13.45
Blaize Monks: 14.05
Sean Regan: 14.3
Justin Myers: 13.9
Tai Lee: 13.45
Brandon Wynn: 13.25
Event Total: 55.7