Feb. 18, 2004

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COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State women’s gymnastics team (7-3, 0-1 Big Ten) will host its final home meet of 2004 in a coed meet against Big Ten rival No. 22 Penn at 7 p.m., Saturday, in St. John Arena.

LAST WEEK: OSU FALLS TO No. 9 NEBRASKA 197.100-193.825
Ohio State fell to the No. 9 Nebraska Cornhuskers Sunday by the score of 197.100-193.825. The Buckeyes were led by senior Tiffanie Janke who placed second on floor exercise with a score of 9.900 and finished third in the all-around with a score of 39.325.

On beam, the Buckeyes were led by Elizabeth Meaney who registered a score of 9.875 to tie for first place. Janke placed fourth on vault with a 9.800 and senior Bethany Groskopf placed fifth on bars posting a score of 9.850.

Penn State enters this Saturday’s contest with a 6-3 record and ranked No. 22 in the GymInfo national rankings. This past Saturday Penn State defeated the Minnesota Golden Gophers 195.100-195.075.

The Nittany Lions are led by sophomore Meredith Hoover. Hoover averages a 38.850 in the all-around and also averages a team high 9.850 on bars. Against Minnesota Hoover helped lead the team to victory by placing second in the all-around with a score of 38.850.

Steve Shepard is in his 12th season as head coach of the Nittany Lions. Shepard has tallied a career record of 146-102, which includes seven NCAA championship appearances and the 1999 Big Ten Coach of the Year award.

Ohio State trails Penn State in the overall series 21-15. Since 1979 the Buckeyes are 3-4 at home and 4-5 at Penn State. In last season’s meeting Penn State defeated Ohio State 195.875-195.325, Feb. 22, 2003. The last Ohio State win came Feb. 27, 2001 with the Buckeyes prevailing 195.350-194.700 in State College, Penn. Ohio State’s last win at Penn State came Feb. 14, 1998, with a 193.075-192.160 victory.

Ohio State fell to Penn State 195.875-195.325 Feb. 22, 2003, in State College, Pa. The Buckeyes won bars with a team season-high score of 49.125 and floor with a 49.150.

Jill Weber recorded a career-best 9.875 on bars as the Buckeyes outscored Penn State 49.125-49.100. Shelby Warner contributed a 9.850 while Megan Porter, sophomore Shelley Harris and Kaylin Schlecht each earned a 9.800.

Ohio State defeated the Nittany Lions by .100 on floor exercise, 49.150-49.050. Sophomore Elizabeth Meaney and Warner both posted a 9.850. Weber and then-senior Rickee Wirtzberger both added scores of 9.825.

The Buckeyes have enjoyed success in meets held at St. John Arena. Since the 1994 season, Ohio State is 42-13 at home. The Buckeyes also have won five of their last six home meets dating back to last season at the All-Ohio Championships, March 8, 2003.

Ohio State head coach Larry Cox is one win shy of his 250th career victory. Since his arrival in 1979, Cox has tallied a career record of 249-135-2. Over the past 24 seasons Cox’s teams have claimed five consecutive Big Ten championships (1983-87), qualified for eight NCAA championships and has never missed the NCAA regional championships. Cox is also a two-time Big Ten Coach of the Year recipient.

The Buckeyes are 80-74-1 against teams from the Big Ten. This season Ohio State is 0-1 against conference foes, falling to Illinois Jan. 31, 194.550-194.850.

Senior Tiffanie Janke was awarded Big Ten Conference Gymnast of the Week honors Feb. 11. The award came after a spectacular all-around performance in leading the Buckeyes to their second consecutive All-Ohio Championship against Bowling Green and No. 19 Kent State, Feb. 8.

With gymnasts Jill Weber and Kaylin Schlecht sitting out with injuries, Janke was moved in as an all-around competitor for the first time since her freshman year. In doing so, she posted a career-high 39.575 to win the competition.

Janke posted scores of 9.900 or higher in three of the four events. She tied for the top spot, with teammate Elizabeth Meaney (So., Ashtabula, Ohio) on vault (9.900) and balance beam (9.925). Janke also tied for fourth on uneven bars (9.825) and floor exercise (9.925).

Janke has enjoyed a stellar senior season thus far. She has posted team highs on balance beam with 9.925 at the All-Ohio Championship, and on vault, with a 9.925 against Maryland and Pittsburgh.

This is Janke’s second Gymnast of the Week award. She won the honor for posting a perfect 10.000 on vault at the 2003 All-Ohio Championships, March 8, 2003.

The Buckeye freshman class has had no problem of making an immediate impact on the 2004 season. Both Elizabeth Ahlberg and Brittany Livingston have seen their share of action this season and have produced strong numbers for the Buckeyes.

Livingston has competed on vault, floor exercise, uneven bars and balance beam in every meet this season. She placed third in the all-around with a score of 38.375 in the meet against West Virginia and N.C. State, Jan. 18, and her 9.850 on balance beam against West Virginia and N.C. State is tied with Elizabeth Meaney for the season-high score on balance beam

Ahlberg also has competed in every meet this season. She has posted strong scores on vault, scoring an individual season-high of a 9.725 against Maryland and Pittsburgh.

Tiffanie Janke finds herself ranked No. 6 in the nation and No. 1 in the central region all-around rankings with an average score of 39.575. Janke also is ranked sixth in the GymInfo regional vault rankings with an average score of 9.885.

Joining Janke is junior Elizabeth Meaney. Meaney is ranked ninth in the central region floor exercise rankings with an average score of 9.880.

In the latest GymInfo regional rankings Ohio State is ranked No. 6 in the central region with an average meet score of 194.590. Alabama is ranked No.1 in the region followed by LSU, Auburn, Kent State and Michigan State.

After a 2003 season that featured a 10-4 record and a fifth place finish at both the NCAA Regional Championships and Big Ten Championships, along with the return of 11 letterwinners, the Buckeyes have high expectations for the 2004 campaign.

The Buckeyes return 11 veterans, who will provide Ohio State with valuable depth and experience.

Senior Tiffanie Janke and sophomore Jill Weber, both First Team All-Big Ten selections last season, will anchor the team this season. Both Janke and Weber tied a school record with a perfect 10 on vault last season.

In addition, fellow classmates Bethany Groskopf, Jenni Lymanstall, who did not compete last season, and Megan Porter will be strong contributors to the squad this year.

Ohio State features two strong juniors this season. Elizabeth Meaney, who captured the team’s Most Inspirational, Most Dedicated and Coaches’ awards, scored a 9.8 or better on both beam and floor exercise in 12 of the Buckeye’s 13 meets. Fellow junior Shelley Harris will also be a strong contributor, Harris posted a 9.75 or better in four of Ohio State’s last five meets.

Perhaps the most talented class for the Buckeyes is the sophomore class, which made up half of the competing team last season. The class is led by Jill Weber, who was nominated for the Big Ten Freshman of the year award last year. Weber is joined by Leah Boccaccio, Kaylin Schlecht, Emily Sineway, who was the teams Most Improved Gymnast, and Shelby Warner.

The Buckeyes added three freshmen for the 2004 season.

Elizabeth Ahlberg, a native of San Antonio, Texas, was a three-time regional qualifier and a 2003 Junior Olympic National qualifier.

Lindsay Puhl, of Sylvania, Ohio, is a transfer from Cornell University. Puhl earned First Team All-Ohio honors as a high school sophomore and help lead Northview High School to a state championship.

Brittany Livingston, from Lisle, Ill., is a six-time Junior Olympic Qualifier and captured the state vault title in 2003 along with helping her team to three Illinois state championships.

Ohio State will have many tests to pass this year with meets against some of the nation’s most premier squads. The Buckeyes’ schedule includes meets with Nebraska, Louisiana State and Penn State, all are ranked in the “GymInfo” Preseason Top-25.

Ohio State will begin its 2004 campaign home against Kentucky, Jan. and against Maryland and Pittsburgh, Jan.10. The Buckeyes will then travel to Morgantown W.Va., Jan. 18, for a meet against North Carolina State and West Virginia.

The Buckeyes return to Columbus for a meet against Illinois and Illinois State, Jan. 31, before traveling to Bowling Green for the annual All-Ohio Championships, Feb. 8.

Following the All-Ohio Championships, the Buckeyes travel to Omaha Neb., Feb. 15, and the return for their final home meet, Feb. 21, against Penn State.

Ohio State wraps up its 2004 season with three road meets against Michigan State, Louisiana State and Eastern Michigan.

“After an off week against Nebraska and not having great home performances this season, this team is very hungry to do well. It will be a very close meet as it usually is. Penn State is a good team but so are we.”

Four Buckeyes have set career high scores this season. Sophomore Leah Boccaccio posted a career high 9.700 on vault, at the All-Ohio Championships, Feb. 8 while senior Jenni Lymanstall notched a career high 9.875 on the floor exercise in the meet against Illinois State and Illinois, Jan. 31.

Also against Illinois and Illinois State junior Elizabeth Meaney and sophomore Kaylin Schlecht posted new career highs. Meaney posted a career high 39.450 all-around score as well as a career-high, 9.950 on floor exercise, while Schelcht’s floor exercise score of 9.850 tops her previous high of 9.825 set against Kent State in 2003.

The Buckeyes will return to action at 7 p.m., Feb. 28, in a tri-meet against Michigan State and West Virginia in East Lansing, Mich.