Courtesy of the OSU Athletic Department
In their first home meet of the season, the No. 21-ranked Ohio State women’s gymnastics team defeated the Iowa Hawkeyes, 194.925-194.200 in the home opener of the Big Ten season at St. John Arena Saturday.
On the vault, OSU maintained a slight lead of 49.075-49.050. Freshman Audrey Tolbert set a solid start with a 9.725 on the vault and sophomore Sarah Grady followed suit with a 9.675.
Giving the team a boost, senior Aly Marohn posted a 9.850 along with junior Melanie Shaffer at a 9.825. Junior Sarah Miller rounded off the event with a 9.900 and the Buckeyes took the vault title with 49.075-49.050.
On the bar, OSU led 97.925-97.800 after the second rotation and swung to victory when Shaffer scored a career-best 9.850 to win the event. Marohn came in a close second with a 9.800. The Buckeyes successfully concluded the event, 48.850-48.750.
“Our team has a lot of potential this year and each meet we are getting better and better, so I’m really excited for what is to come,” Shaffer said.
Going into the third rotation, the Buckeyes retained a stable lead, as scores were steadily close when they advanced to the beam. OSU tallied a 48.425 on the beam compared to Iowa’s score of 48.750. Grady led the team on the beam with a 9.675 and freshman Maggie Dunn scored a 9.550. Things got shaky when junior Victoria Aepli lost her balance and tumbled to a 9.150.
“I think competing at home for the first time for some of the freshmen was a little nerve racking,” said OSU coach Carey Fagan. “(There were) a lot of friends and family in the stands, and I think that accounted for a little bit of the bobbles and balance checks here and there.”
Shaffer and Marohn, though, were able to bounce back, also scoring 9.675 a piece on the beam. Miller notched a mark of 9.850 and OSU came out with another event title, 48.425-47.650.
Heading into the final rotation, Iowa had taken the overall lead, 146.550-146.350.
On the floor, the Buckeyes took two more hits as Aepli scored a 9.225 and DeLuca scored a 9.300 on their routines.
“We have some stuff to improve on but we are excited,” Miller said. “The only way to keep progressing is to keep finding things to make changes on.”
Dunn and Tolbert delivered what appeared to be solid routines, coming in with a 9.700 and 9.750, respectively. Miller achieved a season-best mark of a 9.925, which placed her first on the floor exercise. Shaffer finished second and set a season-high with a 9.900 despite losing the event to her teammate. “Sarah Miller obviously came through in clutch routines on both beam and floor to avoid counting the fall on beam,” Fagan said. “Her 9.9 scores pretty much guaranteed us the win with her routine on floor.”
Shaffer took the day’s all-around title with a season-best score of 39.250.
“Overall I think the team is starting getting into a rhythm and I expect to go up and up from here,” said Fagan.
OSU is set to host the Nebraska Cornhuskers Friday at 7 p.m. at St. John Arena.