COLUMBUS, Ohio The Ohio State women’s gymnastics team wrapped up the 2009 season tied for No. 14 in the nation with Big Ten rival Michigan. The Buckeyes ended the season with a 195.735 regional qualifying score to end among the Top 15 in the nation – a feat unmatched by Ohio State squads in over a decade.

The Buckeyes finished the year with a 6-7 overall record and a 1-4 conference record. The squad finished ranked fourth in the central region and the Big Ten.

The final note of the Buckeyes 2009 season was a trip to the NCAA National Championships by sophomore Rebecca Best. She competed in the all-around event in her first national appearance. After scoring a 9.850 on floor, Best was named a second team All-American on the event. She is the sixth Buckeye to take home All-America honors, following former teammate Kaylan Clevinger who earned second-team recognition on bars last season.

The squad opened the 2009 season on the road at Arkansas Jan. 9 with a team total score of 194.625, a program season-opening high score and has continued to increase the team total score in each meet. The Buckeyes returned home Jan. 17 against Maryland to claim a victory against the Terrapins, with a team score of 194.750. They returned to the road at UIC Jan. 24 to raise their team score by .100. To end January, the squad welcomed Missouri, Michigan State and Illinois to St. John Arena. The Buckeyes finished fourth in the quad meet with a 193.825 total score.

Ohio State opened February with a 195.225 team score vs. Iowa Feb. 7.  Following the two-week home stand, Ohio State traveled to Illinois, Bowling Green and Penn State. The Buckeyes fell to Illinois Feb. 15 196.700-195.675, but they finished with a win over the Falcons Feb. 22 194.175-193.750.The Buckeyes placed third at Penn State in a tri-meet with Alabama with a team score of 196.050.

The Buckeyes finished out their home season against George Washington posting a season-high 196.475 on senior night. They then upset No.8Auburn in the regular season finale with a score of 195.825.

In postseason action, Ohio State finished fifth at the Big Ten Championships March 21 with a 195.900. The squad returned to St. John Arena for the NCAA Central Regional Championships April 4 with a third-place finish. The Buckeyes posted a 195.950 in the meet.

“We accomplished a lot of our goals this season and finishing the year ranked No. 14 is exciting,” Carey Fagan, Ohio State head coach, said. “Our seniors played an important role in the progress we made during this season and the last four seasons. As freshman, Amanda Surine, Kiki Holman and Alyssa Meyer joined a team that was ranked No. 38 in the country. At the end of their first season, we were ranked No. 27. After their sophomore year, we were No. 19 and in 2008 we finished No. 18. To finish No. 14 during their senior year was a great way for them to finish their competitive gymnastics careers at Ohio State. This year we had a great mix of new talent and experienced leadership. We are excited about having our first returning All-American (Rebecca Best) and adding a new group of talented freshman to the team.”

Fagan was named the 2009 NCAA Central Region Coach of the Year after leading Ohio State to a third-place finish at the championships and coaching Rebecca Best to the NCAA National Championship in the all-around. Fagan guided Ohio State to its fourth-consecutive appearance in the regional championships and a Top 3 finish for the second-consecutive year.

Taylor Jones was named Big Ten Freshman of the Year at the Big Ten Championships March 21. With a 39.100, Jones finished second for Ohio State in the all-around at the conference meet. On floor, Jones posted her event high for the night with a 9.875. She claimed a 9.80 on vault, a 9.725 on beam and a 9.70 on bars. Jones has led the Buckeyes throughout the 2009 season, holding the top spot in the all-around, on floor and on vault.

Sophomore Rebecca Best, along with freshman Taylor Jones, was named All-Big Ten at the Big Ten Championships banquet. Best claimed her second second-team All-Big Ten honor, while Jones was named a first-team All-Big Ten honoree.

Senior Alyssa Meyer, junior Hillary Dow and sophomore Jessica Staton earned winter academic All-Big Ten honors. Meyer is one of five Big Ten athletes to maintain a 4.0 GPA throughout her academic career.  To be eligible for Academic All-Big Ten selection, student-athletes must be letterwinners who are in at least their second academic year at their institution and carry a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or higher.

With a 39.350 all-around total at the NCAA Central Regional Championships April 4, sophomore Rebecca Best advanced to the NCAA National Championships. Led by Best, Ohio State placed third with a 195.950 team total score in St. John Arena. Best tied for second in the all-around to advance to nationals with a career-high 39.350 mark. She posted a 9.850 on vault, beam and floor, while posting a 9.80 on bars.

Ohio State opened the central region championships on floor with a 9.750 score from freshman Casey Williamson. Junior Hillary Dow followed with a 9.725 mark. Senior Alyssa Meyer and freshman Taylor Jones tied on the event with a 9.80 score and Best rounded out the Buckeyes first rotation with a team-high 9.850. Bests’ score boosted Ohio State’s team score to a 48.925.

On vault, the Buckeyes marked three individual career-high scores to post a 49.100 team total score. Dow led the way for Ohio State with a career-high 9.90. Her mark tied for fourth in the meet and was the highest mark by a Buckeye this season. Best tied her career-high score, along with junior Beth Ann Ballard who marked a 9.825. Jones added her second 9.80 of the night on vault for Ohio State and senior Amanda Surine posted a 9.725 on the event.

The Buckeyes posted a 48.875 on bars in their third rotation. Williamson, Best and senior Kiki Holman posted a 9.80 on the event. Holman’s 9.80 marked a season-best score. Ballard added a 9.775 and Meyer finished the night with a 9.70 on bars.

In Ohio State’s final rotation, Best and Holman posted a 9.850 to lead the Buckeyes to a season-best 49.050 team total on beam. The duo tied for third overall in the meet. The freshman class added solid performances to Ohio State’s season-high mark. Nicole Krauter posted a 9.825 to tie for sixth in the meet. Jones marked a 9.775 score and Krissi Woodward followed with a 9.750

At the Big Ten Championships March 21, Ohio State finished with a team score of 195.900 to place fifth in Champaign, Ill. Ohio State finished the night with a 49.125 on both vault and floor. On bars, the squad posted a 49.025. The Buckeyes added a 48.625 on beam.

Leading Ohio State in the meet, sophomore Rebecca Best finished the night with a career-high 39.350 in the all-around to place sixth in the meet. She notched a 9.850 on beam, vault and floor, while posting a 9.80 on bars. Her 9.850 mark on vault and beam marked a career-high score and a tied fifth-place finish on beam.

Junior Hillary Dow concluded the Buckeye all-around performers with a 38.600. On vault, Dow marked a career-high 9.875 to tie for sixth in the meet. On bars and floor, she posted a 9.775. 

Freshman Casey Williamson added a solid night for the Buckeyes scoring above a 9.80 in each of her three events. Williamson notched a career-high 9.850 on bars, while equaling the score on floor. She finished with a 9.80 on vault. Junior Beth Ann Ballard tied Williamson on both vault and bars. The duo tied for sixth in the meet on bars.

Seniors Amanda Surine and Alyssa Meyer contributed strong showings in their final Big Ten Championships. Meyer posted a 9.750 on bars and a 9.775 on floor. Surine posted a 9.775 on vault, a 9.750 on floor and a 9.70 on beam. Freshman Nicole Krauter showed her young talent with a 9.750 on beam.

Buckeye freshmen lead the team on three events and in the all-around. Nicole Krauter ranked first for Ohio State on beam with a 9.830 regional qualifying average. In the central region, Krauter ranked No. 14 on beam.  She led Ohio State in six meets and has two first-place finishes.

Casey Williamson had a 9.815 regional qualifying score on floor to rank second for Ohio State. In the central region, Williamson ranked No. 27 on floor. On vault, Williamson rounded out the Top 3 for Ohio State. She held a 9.790 regional qualifying score on vault. Williamson scored above a 9.70 in both events in each meet.

Junior Beth Ann Ballard led the way for Ohio State on bars with a 9.825 regional qualifying average. Her average tied for No. 15 in the central region. She led Ohio State in six meets this season. Senior Alyssa Meyer followed Ballard on bars with a 9.815 regional qualifying score. She led Ohio State in five meets this season and had three first-place meet finishes. In the region, Meyer ranked No. 19 on bars.

Junior Hillary Dow rounded out the Top 3 for the Buckeyes in the all-around. She held a 38.895 regional qualifying score in the all-around after competing in the event in all but one meet. She ranked No. 13 in the central region.

Senior Kiki Holman had a 9.775 regional qualifying score on beam to rank third for Ohio State. She ranked No. 22 in the central region after posting above a 9.70 on beam in all but one meet.

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