Buckeyes accomplish third-place regional finish; Clevinger earns All-American honors

COLUMBUS, Ohio The Ohio State women’s gymnastics team wrapped up the 2008 season tied for 18th in the nation. The squad returned into the Top 20 nationally thanks to its team total of 195.125 at the NCAA Central Region Championships, which marked a program record score for Ohio State at regionals.

The Buckeyes finished the year with a 7-6-1 regular season record and a team regional qualifying score of 194.405, which ranked No. 7 in both the central region and in the Big Ten.

The final note of the Buckeyes 2008 season was a trip to the NCAA National Championships by senior Kaylan Clevinger and freshman Rebecca Best. Clevinger competed in the all-around event in her second-consecutive national appearance. After posting a 9.90 on bars in the national meet, Clevinger earned second-team All-American honors as only the fifth Ohio State gymnast to claim the title. Best traveled to the championships as one of six alternates in the all-around after she posted a 39.150 all-around score at regionals.

Ohio State will return eight experienced gymnasts in the 2008-09 season to continue climbing in the rankings. The squad has risen from No. 42 in 2004 to No. 38 in 2005, while climbing to No. 27 in 2006 and finishing in the Top 20 in both 2007 and 2008.

In her second-consecutive national championship appearance, Clevinger was named a second-team All-American on bars April 24. Clevinger posted a near-perfect 9.90 on bars at the NCAA Women’s Gymnastics Championships to become the fifth Buckeye gymnast to claim All-American honors and the first since Lindsey Vagedes in 1999. Clevinger made her second-consecutive national appearance after competing as an event specialist on bars in 2007.

Clevinger tied for fifth-place on bars in session one of her all-around competition to post her third 9.90 of the 2008 season. The 9.90 mark on bars increased Clevinger’s all-around total to a 38.900, which placed 15th overall.

Clevinger posted a 9.65 on vault in rotation one, then followed vault with a career-high tying 9.90 on bars. Clevinger added a 9.550 on beam and finished her all-around contest with a 9.800 on floor.

Best traveled to the championships as one of six alternates in the all-around. Clevinger and Best both posted all-around scores of 39.150 at the regional championships to tie for the second-best all-around score from a non-advancing team. With only two competitors on a non-advancing team continuing to nationals, Clevinger was given the nod by virtue of owning the highest event score between herself and Best (9.875 on bars).

With a 195.125 team total, Ohio State finished third at the NCAA Central Region Championships April 12 in Baton Rouge, La. The team score marked a program record for Ohio State at regionals, which made its 23rd regional appearance. It also marked the Buckeyes’ best finish at regionals since a third-place finish in 2000.

Ohio State finished with a 48.775 on floor and vault, a season-best 48.900 on bars and a 48.675 on beam.

On bars, Clevinger posted a 9.875 to help Ohio State tie its season-best bars total of 48.900. Clevinger tied her career best on beam with a team-high 9.800. She added a 9.75 on floor and a 9.725 on vault. Clevinger posted a 39.150 in the all-around to qualify for the national championships.

Best led the Buckeyes in the first two rotations with a 9.800 finish on floor and she tied her season-best on vault with a 9.850. Best added a 9.750 on both bars and beam to post an all-around total of 39.150.

Juniors Kiki Holman and Alyssa Meyer posted consistent numbers for Ohio State in every event. Holman tied Clevinger on vault with a season-high 9.725 and on beam with a 9.80. Holman and Meyer scored a 9.75 on bars, while Meyer added a 9.70 on floor.

Senior Maalika Moore-Thomas posted a 9.775 on vault and floor, while senior Jessica Rosette added a 9.750 on floor.

Clevinger finished the season with a regional qualifying average of 9.880 on bars and led the Buckeyes in the event in every meet this season. Clevinger posted a near-perfect 9.90 three-times this season, including at the NCAA championships.

Best led Ohio State in the all-around and on vault, while she finished the season ranked second for the squad on the remaining three events. Best held a regional qualifying average of 39.075 in the all-around and 9.835 on vault. She led Ohio State in eight meets this season in the all-around. On floor, Best ranked second for the Buckeyes with a RQS of 9.865. She held a 9.765 RQS on bars and a 9.720 RQS on beam.

On floor, Moore-Thomas finished the season with a 9.870 RQS to lead Ohio State in the event. She ranked third for the Buckeyes on vault with a regional qualifying average of 9.790. Sophomore Beth Ann Ballard finished second for the Buckeyes on vault with a 9.805 RQS.

Sophomore Hillary Dow finished the year behind Best in the all-around and on beam. She held a regional qualifying average of 38.600 in the all-around and a 9.680 RQS on beam. Meyer held a 9.740 RQS on bars, which ranked third for Ohio State.

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.

Seniors Clevinger, Moore-Thomas and Rosette helped build Ohio State’s program with their talent and leadership. The trio helped rise Ohio State’s final ranking to No. 19 in 2007 and No. 18 in 2008. The seniors have watched the final ranking improve from No. 38 in their freshman year into the Top 20 as seniors.  Clevinger also returned the Buckeyes into the national spotlight after making two national championship appearances and earning second-team All-American honors.

LEADING THE WAY By the Numbers (as of April 7)
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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