Buckeyes travel to Baton Rouge for third-consecutive regional championships

 COLUMBUS, Ohio The Ohio State women’s gymnastics team will compete in the NCAA Central Region Championships at 7 p.m. ET Saturday at Louisiana State University’s Pete Maravich Assembly Center in Baton Rouge, La. The Buckeyes will enter their third-consecutive year in the regional championships seeded sixth in the six-team event.

Ohio State qualified for the regional championships with its regional qualifying average of 194.405, which ranks seventh in the region and No. 33 in the nation.

The nation’s Top 36 teams are placed equally into six regional championships. Each region is comprised of six teams, five individual all-around competitors and an individual event specialist per each event.

Live scoring and video is available LSU’s Web site,, along with complete event information.

Other teams selected to compete for the Central Region Championships include No. 6 Stanford (196.770), No. 7 LSU (196.730), No. 18 Missouri (195.510), No. 20 Kentucky (195.395) and No. 26 Kent State (194.895). Five all-around competitors who are not on a qualifying team and one individual event specialist per event were also named to compete at the regional championships.

The top two teams and the top two all-around competitors (who are not on an advancing team) for each region will receive an automatic bid to the national championship in Athens, Georgia, April 24-26, hosted by the University of Georgia.  Also, the event winner at the regional championships will advance (in that event only) if they are not part of a qualifying team or the all-around qualifiers.

Ohio State finished fifth at the NCAA Central Region Championships in 2007 with a team score of 194.650.  Senior Kaylan Clevinger led the Buckeyes with a 9.90 on bars, which tied for first in the regional competition and qualified her to represent Ohio State as an event specialist in the NCAA Championships.

Host Alabama won the event central region with a team score of 196.70. Oklahoma and Iowa State both scored a 195.925 to tie for second. Michigan State finished fourth (194.80) and Kentucky placed sixth (194.025).

“This will be our third-consecutive trip to the NCAA Regional, so this team will bring a lot of experience to the championships,” Carey Fagan, Ohio State head coach, said. “Our goal for regionals is to hit every routine and if we do that it could prove to be one of our strongest scores of the year.”

Ohio State ranks No. 7 in the central region with its regional qualifying average of 194.405. The squad holds a 48.975 RQS on floor to rank fifth in the central region.

The Buckeyes also rank No. 5 in the region on bars with a 48.820 RQS. On vault, Ohio State is sixth in the central region going into the regional championships with a 48.845 RQS. The Buckeyes will enter Saturday’s championships with a regional qualifying average of 48.250 on beam, which is ranked No. 9 in the central region.

At the Big Ten Championships March 29, Ohio State finished with a team score of 194.075 to place seventh in Ann Arbor, Mich., while host Michigan clinched its 16th the Big Ten title. OSU freshman Rebecca Best led the Buckeyes with a sixth-place all-around finish and a pair of fourth place event finishes.

Best finished with a 39.125 in the all-around to place sixth among conference contenders and was the only Buckeye to compete as an all-arounder. Best added tied fourth-place finishes of 9.850 on vault and floor. Her 9.850 tied her season best on vault. Best posted a 9.750 on bars to increase her all-around total.

Clevinger tied for fourth overall with Best on floor with a 9.850 and tied for third on bars with a 9.900. Clevinger added a 9.700 on vault to boost Ohio State’s team total to 48.675 on the event. On floor, senior Maalika Moore-Thomas took third in the conference with a 9.875. Senior Jessica Rosette and junior Alyssa Meyer both posted 9.750s on floor to help give the Buckeyes an event score of 49.075.

Junior Kiki Holman led the Buckeyes on beam with a 9.775 and added two routines on vault and bars, posting a 9.700 on each. Sophomore Hillary Dow added a 9.725 on floor and posted a 9.700 on beam to follow Holman in the event. Sophomore Kristin Perchatsch placed second for Ohio State on bars with a 9.800. The Buckeyes finished bars with a team score of 48.400 and scored a 47.925 on beam.

Clevinger, Moore-Thomas and Best were all named second-team All-Big Ten for 2008. The honor is the third for Moore-Thomas, who was a first-team selection as a sophomore and junior. She becomes the third Buckeye in program history to earn Big Ten honors for three years. Clevinger picked up her second Big Ten award after being named a first-team honoree last season. Best is the first Ohio State freshman since Jill Weber in 2003 to be honored by the conference.

Freshman Rebecca Best leads Ohio State in the all-around and on vault, while ranking second for the squad on the remaining three events. Best holds a regional qualifying average of 39.075 in the all-around and 9.835 on vault. She ranks No. 12 in the central region in the all-around after she led Ohio State in eight meets this season. Best ranks No. 18 in the region on vault. On floor, she ranks second for the Buckeyes with a RQS of 9.865 to rank ninth in the central region. She holds a 9.765 RQS on bars and a 9.720 RQS on beam.

On floor, senior Maalika Moore-Thomas holds a 9.870 RQS to lead Ohio State in the event and rank No. 8 in the central region. She ranks third for the Buckeyes on vault with a regional qualifying average of 9.790. Sophomore Beth Ann Ballard is second for the Buckeyes on vault with a 9.805 RQS.

Senior Kaylan Clevinger enters the Central Region Championships third in the region on bars. She holds a regional qualifying average of 9.880 in the event. Clevinger has led the Buckeyes in the event in every meet this season and has post a near-perfect 9.90 twice. Last season, she posted a 9.90 in the region championships to claim first and earn a trip to the NCAA championships.

Sophomore Hillary Dow follows Best in the all-around and on beam. She holds a regional qualifying average of 38.600 in the all-around to rank No. 19 in the central region. On beam, Dow posts a 9.680 RQS. Junior Alyssa Meyer holds a 9.740 RQS on bars, which ranks third for Ohio State.

LEADING THE WAY By the Numbers
VAULT RQS (Region Rank)
1. Rebecca Best 9.835 (18)
2. Beth Ann Ballard 9.805 (t-29)
3. Maalika Moore-Thomas   9.790 (34)

BARS RQS (Region Rank)
1. Kaylan Clevinger 9.880 (3)
2. Rebecca Best 9.765 (t-27)
3.  Alyssa Meyer  9.740 (32)

BEAM RQS (Region Rank) 
1. Kiki Holman 9.765 (22)
2. Rebecca Best   9.720 (t-38)
3. Hillary Dow 9.680 (t-46) 

FLOOR RQS (Region Rank)
1. Maalika Moore-Thomas 9.870 (8)
2. Rebecca Best  9.865 (9)
3. Kaylan Clevinger 9.830 (38) 

ALL-AROUND RQS (Region Rank)
1. Rebecca Best 39.075 (12)
2. Hillary Dow 38.600 (19)

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