COLUMBUS, Ohio After coming off a Big Ten win last week, the No. 18 Ohio State women’s gymnastics team returns to conference action as the Buckeyes travel to Huff Hall to take on No. 17 Illinois at 2 p.m. Sunday. The Buckeyes (3-4, 1-2 Big Ten) and Illini (8-3, 5-2 Big Ten) will team with the American Cancer Society and Colleges Against Cancer as they take part in a “Pink Meet” to raise awareness for breast cancer.

This will be the second match-up between Ohio State and Illinois this season. The squads met Jan. 31 in a quad-meet in St. John Arena where the Buckeyes finished fourth (193.825) and Illini took second (194.575). The squads will meet again for the second of three meetings this season as they compete in the Big Ten Championships March 21, hosted by Illinois..

Fans can follow the meet on for live updates and video.

“Illinois is hosting the Big Ten Championships this year, so we are looking forward to traveling there and gaining great experience in Huff Hall,” Ohio State head coach, Carey Fagan, said. “We are nearly at the mid-point of the season and I am happy with the progress this team has made in the past two weeks. Workouts have been very consistent and the line-ups are coming together with our most consistent and highest scorers leading the way. We are looking to repeat our performance against Iowa, hitting 24 for 24 routines and continue to make improvements on every event. The team is prepared for another great Big Ten match-up this weekend.”

Ohio State is ranked No. 18 in the nation with a team average score of 194.655. In the central region, the Buckeyes rank fourth as a team. The Buckeyes hold a 48.815 average on floor, their best event. They rank No. 16 in the nation and third in the region on floor. With a 48.730 team average on bars, Ohio State is No. 15 in the country to rank fourth in the region. The Buckeyes also hold a fourth-place ranking on beam with a 48.615 average. In the nation, Ohio State is No. 16 on beam.  On vault, the Buckeyes hold a team average score of 48.495 to rank No. 7 in the central region.

The Buckeyes rank fifth in the Big Ten Conference. They hold a 1-2 Big Ten record after a conference win over Iowa last week and two league losses to Michigan State and Illinois Jan. 31, all three coming at home. On floor, the Buckeyes rank second among conference teams. The squad ranks third on bars, fourth on beam and No. 6 on vault.

The freshmen class leads Ohio State in all but one event and ranks among the Buckeyes Top 3 in each event. Taylor Jones ranks first for the Buckeyes in the all-around and on floor. She averages a 39.012 in the all-around after claiming her first all-around crown last week. Her all-around average ranks eighth in Big Ten and in the central region. On floor, Jones averages a 9.820 to rank seventh in the conference. She is No. 11 in the central region and holds the No. 46 position nationally on floor. She has led Ohio State on floor in four of the five meets this season and has one first-place finish at UIC with a season-high 9.850. On vault, Jones is ranked No. 18 in the Big Ten and No. 32 in the region with a 9.755 average. She ranks second on vault for the Buckeyes.

Casey Williamson leads the way for the Buckeyes on vault with a 9.800 average, after one meet, to rank No. 7 in the Big Ten and No. 18 in the region. She holds the third position on floor and bars for Ohio State. On floor, Williamson averages a 9.775 which ties for No. 12 in the conference and is No. 19 in the region. With a 9.700 average on bars, she is ranked No. 22 in the conference.

Nicole Krauter leads Ohio State on beam with an average of 9.775. She is ranked ninth in the Big Ten and is No. 14 in the central region. Krauter posted a team season-high 9.850 in her first collegiate meet Jan. 9 at Arkansas. She has led the Buckeyes in three meets this season.

Krissi Woodward is among the Top 3 for Ohio State on beam with an average score of 9.750. She led the Buckeyes on beam Jan. 24 at UIC with a 9.825, in her first collegiate meet. On beam, Woodward is tied for No. 11 among conference competitors and tied for No. 16 in the central region.

Sophomore Rebecca Best ranks second for Ohio State in the all-around, is third for the squad on vault and is tied with Woodward to rank third for the Buckeyes on beam. Best has led Ohio State in the all-around in two meets this season to hold a 12th-place ranking in the Big Ten with a 38.845 average. In the central region, she is tied for No. 10 in the all-around. On vault, Best averages a 9.730 and has led the Buckeyes in the event in three meets this season.

Senior Kiki Holman follows Best in the all-around with a 38.575 average to rank No. 16 in the conference and in the central region. Holman ranks second for Ohio State on beam with tenth-place standing in the conference and No. 15 spot in the region. She holds a 9.770 average in the event.

On bars, senior Alyssa Meyer holds a 9.780 average and the top spot for the Buckeyes. She holds the ninth-place position in the league and claims the No. 12 ranking in the region in the event. Meyer has led Ohio State on bars in three meets this season and has two first-place meet finishes. Junior Hillary Dow follows Meyer on bars with a 9.731 average to place No. 17among conference competitors. After one meet, senior Amanda Surine places second for the Buckeyes on floor with a 9.800. She ranks eighth in the conference and is tied for No. 12 in the region on floor.

With a season-high score of 195.225, Ohio State defeated Iowa in a Big Ten match-up in St. John Arena last Saturday. The Hawkeyes led the Buckeyes after three events, but fell short after the final rotation to finish the night with a 194.250 team score.

Jones won the all-around title for the first time in her career with a season-high 39.125. She tied for first on vault with a season-best 9.850 and placed second in the meet on floor with a 9.825. Jones added a 9.725 on both bars and beam.

Ohio State started the night on vault with a team season-high 48.900. Surine and Williamson both recorded a 9.80, a season high score for both, to place second for Ohio State in the event. Junior Beth Ann Ballard followed for Ohio State with 9.75, also a season best. Best added a 9.70 to Ohio State’s vault total.

Williamson and Ballard led the way for Ohio State on bars with a 9.750 score for both. The pair placed second in the meet and boosted Ohio State’s bar score to a 48.650. Best tied Jones in the event with a 9.725, with Meyer following close behind with a 9.70.

Ohio State scored a team total 48.750 on beam. Krauter and Holman tied with a 9.777 on the beam to lead the Buckeyes. Best scored a 9.75 on the event, while Woodward added a 9.725.

The Buckeyes concluded the night on floor with a solid 48.925 team total. Ohio State’s season-high score on floor topped Iowa’s 47.725 to give the Buckeyes the event win. Surine scored her second season-high score of the night on floor with a 9.80, a third-place ranking in the meet. Meyer and Dow posted solid 9.775’s on floor. Williamson followed close behind with a 9.750. Best scored a 9.725 on floor to increase her all-around total to a 38.900.

No. 17 Illinois returned 11 letterwinners and lost only two from their 2008 squad that finished ranked No. 15 in the nation. In 2009, the Illini hold a team average of 194.705 to rank just above the Buckeyes in the national standings and rank one spot higher in the Big Ten standings as they hold down the fourth position. The squad holds an 8-3 record this season and is led by Bob Starkell, who is in his 10th season as head coach. Illinois will take on 13th-ranked Missouri tonight before taking on the Buckeyes Sunday.

The Illini ventured to Columbus to open Ohio State’s Big Ten season in a quad-meet Jan. 31. The Buckeyes fell to the Illini in a fourth-place finish, while Illinois took the runner-up position. Missouri led the way with a team total of 195.375, followed by Illinois (194.575), Michigan State (194.500) and Ohio State (193.825). Ohio State traveled to Illinois last season to capture a road victory with a final score of 193.450-193.125. The Buckeyes lead the all-time series 13-10 and have won six of the last nine meetings.

Ohio State welcomed the Big Ten Network to St. John Arena twice, while having four total meets aired on the network this year. The quad-meet vs. Missouri, Michigan State and Illinois was shown in a delayed airing on Big Ten Network. Fans can watch Ohio State vs. Iowa at 7 p.m. Saturday. The meet at Penn State with Alabama March 1 will be aired on Big Ten Network at noon March 8. The Big Ten Championships hosted by Illinois at 3 p.m. March 21 will be shown live by the Big Ten Network.

The Buckeyes will continue on the road as they travel to Bowling Green Feb. 22 before heading to No. 14 Penn State March 1 in a tri-meet with No. 5 Alabama. Ohio State returns to Columbus at 7 p.m. March 7 for senior night against George Washington.

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