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Women’s gymnastics: No. 18 Buckeyes spring into competition against Iowa

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The Buckeyes placed first in their home quad-meet last Saturday against No. 11 Michigan, Kent State and Washington, topping the Wolverines for the first time since the 2012 Big Ten Championship.

After earning their first Big Ten win and their second consecutive win of the season, the Ohio State women’s gymnastics team plan are carrying that momentum into their second conference meet against Iowa this Saturday.

“We’re happy about the win over Michigan, but we’re really focused on this weekend,” coach Carey Fagan said. “They’re a good team, so we’ll have to be on our A-game if we’re going to remain undefeated in the conference.”

With a mindset of continuing to make improvements, OSU focusing on small, but crucial details in practice that the team missed in its last meet.

Two OSU competitors stepped out of bounds on floor last week, which has prompted Fagan to contemplate a lineup change in the event.

OSU has 12 athletes on the team with only six competition spots per meet based on NCAA guidelines.

Even with the small mistakes made on floor, the OSU team performed very strong on vault, scoring 49.125, with bars and beam as a close second and third.

The team saw three competitors score career-highs, including junior Alexis Mattern who scored a 9.9 on vault. Senior Jaine VanPutten and freshman Olivia Aepli each posted 9.825 on bars.

“What’s so great about this team this year is that we have so many people fighting for lineups,” VanPutten said. “The depth of the team, it’s incredible, and we’re pushing each other, day-in and day-out. And by us pushing each other, it’s making the people that are in lineup have to push and go harder.”

The Buckeyes are ranked No. 18 in the country, which puts them on the track to be a contender in the Big Ten and reach NCAA qualifiers at the end of the season.

“It’s been a couple of years since we qualified for NCAAs, and we’re on track to do it [again],” said Matter. “It’s just going to be a lot of continued hard work and dedication in and outside of the gym. I think that everyone has started to put in that work, and only good habits can form from here.”

Riding on their collection of wins, and with their focus on the common goal of improving each week, the Ohio State women’s gymnastics team is heading into what they deem as a very successful season.

“This is our year, and we know it,” said VanPutten. “We went into (the last meet) knowing that this was our meet to beat Michigan, and we did it. So with that mindset, we can conquer anything.”

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