April 8, 2006

NORMAN, Okla. – Ohio State gymnasts, Bucher, Ito and Wickham, garnered All-America status at the NCAA Individual Event Finals Saturday at the Lloyd Noble Center on the campus of the University of Oklahoma. For the meet, participants competed on floor and pommel first. Following the rotation the Top 8 gymnasts received All-America recognition. Subsequently, competitors on rings and vault followed. The parallel bars and high bar were the final events for the gymnasts.

“It was a great year for the squad,” Miles Avery, Ohio State head coach, said. “We went undefeated in the Big Ten and won the Big Ten Championship. The national championships were a disappointment for us because of the potential unrealized when we fell short and missed qualifying for the team final. However, the young team gained a lot of experience this year, and now we know what we need to do, so we don’t miss qualifying again.”

The Buckeyes were represented by freshman Eddie Hay (Butler, Pa./Butler Gymnastics) on floor. Hay was the eighth competitor on the event and barely missed earning his first All-American accolade with a ninth-place finish of 9.062 in his first NCAA individual event finals.

Sophomore DJ Bucher (Mason, Ohio/Queen City Gymnastics) earned his second-consecutive All-America nod on pommel horse after he finished seventh with an 8.825. After the 2006 NCAA championships, the Buckeye became a four-time All-American. Last year, Bucher became the first Ohio State gymnast to earn All-America accolades on three events as a freshman on pommel horse (9.212), rings (9.562) and parallel bars (9.637).

As the lone Buckeye on vault, Jimmy Wickham (So., Gulfport, Miss./Planet Gymnastics) was the final participant on the event. Wickham notched a 9.487 to finish second and posted his first All-America award on the event he captured the U.S. National title at the Winter Cup Challenge in Las Vegas (Feb. 4). On parallel bars, co-captain Nicholaus Searcy (Dublin, Ohio/Hocking Valley Gymnastics) started the final rotation of the evening. Searcy tallied an 8.400 and ninth-place finish.

Co-captain Willie Ito (Jr., Huntington Beach, Calif./South Coast Gymnastics) was the final competitor for Ohio State at the 2006 NCAA Individual Event Championships. With a score of 9.687, Ito placed third on high bar to earn his first All-America nod.