COLUMBUS, Ohio In its final home meet of the 2008 season, the 26th-ranked Ohio State women’s gymnastics team takes on Kentucky at 2 p.m. Sunday in St. John Arena. On Senior Day, three OSU seniors – Kaylan Clevinger, Maalika Moore-Thomas and Jessica Rosette – will be honored after the meet.

The Buckeyes are 6-4-1 overall this season and 2-1 at home. The Wildcats are 1-7 overall and host a tri-meet Friday with Arizona and Western Michigan before traveling to Columbus for the dual meet Sunday.

Live results of the meet Sunday will be available at

After a 193.725 team score last Friday at Missouri, Ohio State has fallen out of the national Top 25, but the Buckeyes maintain a No. 6 ranking in the Central Region with a 194.135 Regional Qualifying Score (RQS) average. Kentucky ranks No. 7 in the same region with a 193.580 RQS.

Following the meet Sunday, Ohio State will hit the road for its final two meets of the regular season at Arizona State March 14 and West Virginia March 22. The Big Ten championships will be hosted by Michigan March 29.

“The senior meet is always an emotional and exciting one for the team,” Carey Fagan, Ohio State head coach, said. “These seniors have been through a lot in their four years and I know they all really want to put together a memorable night for the team and the fans. As the last home meet, it will be important for us to put together a great night on all four events and we will be looking to our seniors to help lead the way.”

Kaylan Clevinger, Maalika Moore-Thomas and Jessica Rosette have had a lot to do with Ohio State’s rise in the national rankings the last four years. Before they arrived, the Buckeyes were not inside the Top 40, but last year they helped Ohio State end the season with a national rank of No. 19.

After missing her sophomore season because of injury, Rosette was one of the Buckeyes’ top all-arounders last season as a junior. This season she has been one of the team’s most consistent competitors on floor. Moore-Thomas is a two-time OSU captain and a two-time first-team All-Big Ten selection. Clevinger was a first-team All-Big Ten honoree last year and became the first Buckeye since 2001 to compete at the national championships (bars).

With a 194.135 team regional qualifying average, Ohio State ranks No. 26 in the nation, No. 6 in the Central Region and No. 6 in the Big Ten.

Of the four events, the Buckeyes rank highest on bars, where their 48.73 RQS ranks third in the Big Ten, fourth in the region and 17th in the nation. Ohio State’s next-best event is floor with a 48.90 RQS, which ranks fourth in the Big Ten, fifth in the region and is tied for 19th in the nation.

The Buckeyes’ 48.79 RQS on vault is fourth in the Big Ten, fifth in the region and 22nd in the nation, while their 48.00 RQS on balance beam is seventh in the Big Ten, eighth in the region and 38th in the nation.

Freshman Rebecca Best leads the Buckeyes on two events and in the all-around. Her 9.810 RQS on vault ranks 11th in the Big Ten and her 9.850 RQS on floor is tied for third, both of which lead the Buckeyes, as does her 39.063 average in the all-around, which would rank fifth in the Big Ten if she qualified for ranking. Best has scored a 9.90 on floor three times this season and her 9.875 on vault Feb. 16 in Columbus is the Buckeyes’ best score on that event this season.

Senior Kaylan Clevinger has led Ohio State on bars every meet this season and her 9.845 RQS ranks third in the Big Ten. That score is tied for 23rd in the nation. Clevinger ranks 16th in the Big Ten on floor with a 9.765 RQS, which ranks third for the Buckeyes.

Senior Maalika Moore-Thomas ranks second for Ohio State on two events, including vault with a 9.765 RQS (tie for 16th in Big Ten) and floor (9.835 RQS ranks sixth in Big Ten). Her 9.95 on floor Feb. 9 at Iowa is the highest score for a Buckeye this season.

Ohio State’s final event leader is junior Kiki Holman on balance beam with a 9.685 RQS. Best ranks second on the team in that event with a 9.645 RQS.
Junior Alyssa Meyer is second for the Buckeyes on bars with a 9.725 RQS. Sophomore Beth Ann Ballard ranks third on the team in two events – vault with a 9.735 RQS and bars with a 9.710 RQS.

LEADING THE WAY By the Numbers
VAULT RQS (Big Ten Rank)
1. Rebecca Best 9.810 (11)
2. Maalika Moore-Thomas 9.765 (t-16)
3. Beth Ann Ballard 9.735 (19)
4. Hillary Dow 9.730 (20)

BARS RQS (Big Ten Rank)
1. Kaylan Clevinger 9.845 (3)
2. Alyssa Meyer 9.725 (t-20)
3.  Beth Ann Ballard 9.710  (24)

BEAM RQS (Big Ten Rank) 
1. Kiki Holman 9.685 (t-23)
2. Rebecca Best 9.645 (27)
3. Kristin Perchatsch 9.555 (32)

FLOOR RQS (Big Ten Rank)
1. Rebecca Best 9.850 (t-3)
2. Maalika Moore-Thomas 9.835 (6)
3. Kaylan Clevinger 9.765 (16)

Kentucky opened the season with a 193.450 team score in a win over Auburn, but the Wildcats have dropped seven-consecutive meets since then despite scoring at least a 194.80 two of the last three meets. Kentucky scored its season-high on the road three weeks ago with a 195.175 at Georgia. Led by fifth-year head coach Mo Mitchell, the Wildcats rank 14th in the nation on floor.

Ohio State has won 12 of 16 meetings all-time with Kentucky and scored a season-high 195.825 to beat the Wildcats last season in a tri-meet in St. John Arena. The competition Sunday will mark the third-consecutive year Kentucky has come to St. John Arena. The Wildcats’ 194.150 team score last year was their best performance there.

Ranked No. 22 last week, Ohio State placed third in the Cat Classic hosted by Missouri Friday with a 193.725. The Buckeyes finished with a 48.775 on floor with its top score of 9.825 from Maalika Moore-Thomas, which tied for second. She also led the Buckeyes on vault (9.850, third).

Rebecca Best followed on floor with a 9.775. Best took second for the Buckeyes on vault with a 9.800 and helped lead the squad on bars with a 9.725. Beth Ann Ballard and senior Kaylan Clevinger tied Best on bars.

On vault, Jessica Staton posted a season-high 9.775 to boost Ohio State’s team score to a 48.850. Ballard added a 9.725 to the Buckeyes vault score and Hillary Dow scored a 9.700 on the event.

Alyssa Meyer tied Clevinger on floor with a 9.750. Meyer added a 9.700 on bars in the Buckeyes final rotation. Ohio State finished with a 48.450 on bars.

Fans across the nation can watch the Buckeyes in full-action three times this season with the Big Ten Network, which began with their Big Ten debut of the delayed airing of the meet at Iowa. The co-ed meet against Penn State aired last Thursday and Sunday. The Big Ten women’s gymnastics championships March 29 in Ann Arbor, Mich., will be aired on tape delay in a two-hour feature April 3 at 8 p.m.

The Buckeyes will close out the regular season with back-to-back meets on the road. Ohio State travels to Arizona State March 14 and West Virginia March 22 before the Big Ten Championships get underway in Ann Arbor, Mich., March 29.

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