Buckeyes drop season opener on the road

COLUMBUS, Ohio – On a night when the thermometer registered negatives degrees in Columbia, Mo., the competition between the No. 18 Ohio State women’s gymnastics team and No. 16 Missouri heated up the Hearnes Center. The Buckeyes (0-1), who opened their season on the road for the third-consecutive season, fell, 194.725-190.65, to the Tigers (1-0), who ranked 13th in the national poll a season ago.

“We know we are a better team than we showed tonight,” Carey Fagan, sixth-year Ohio State head coach, said. “Beth Ann Ballard suffered an injury in warm-ups and we are managing our injuries the best we can.”

After a little hiccup on the uneven bars, its first event of the evening, Ohio State rebounded on vault, receiving big scores from returning All-American Rebecca Best and 2009 Big Ten Freshman of the Year Taylor Jones. Best scored a team-high 9.800 to tie for second while Jones earned a 9.725 as the Buckeyes posted a 48.250 event total. Despite a great Ohio State performance, Missouri’s Sarah Shire, the reigning Big 12 All-Around Champion, gave the Tigers the win on floor, scoring a meet-high 9.825 en route to the Tigers 48.825 team total.

Starting the night on the uneven bars, Ohio State tallied a 46.575 behind sophomores Taylor Jones (9.575) and Casey Williamson (9.550) while Missouri took the event with a 48.725.

Best, a junior from Williamstown, N.J., recorded her second 9.800 of the evening on the balance beam, leading Ohio State to the event win, 48.475-48.450. Best took second the beam, behind Missouri’s Shire who was first with a 9.875. Sophomore Nicole Krauter, who led the Buckeyes on beam a season ago, notched a 9.750 to tie for third while freshman Colleen Dean scored a 9.725 in her collegiate debut for fourth.

Williamson, a native of Mansfield, Ohio, led the squad on floor with a 9.725, which tied for third at the meet, and Best added a 9.625 as the Scarlet and Gray combined for a score of 47.350. However, Missouri sealed its win with a 48.725 event total on floor in the final rotation.

With four student-athletes competing in the all-around, Williamson posted Ohio State’s top performance with a 38.500 to tie for fourth. In addition, Best scored a 38.350, senior Hillary Dow notched a 38.075 and Dean a 37.600 in the all-around for the Buckeyes. Sophomore Tiger Mary Burke had the meet-high with a 39.200. 

Next Saturday, Ohio State opens its home schedule vs. Oregon State at 4 p.m. in St. John Arena. Admission to all four regular-season Buckeye gymnastics meets is free of charge in 2010.