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Men’s gymnastics: Ohio State to compete against Michigan at Saturday home meet

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OSU senior Logan Melander takes his turn on the pummel horse against Penn State on Feb. 13, 2016. OSU won, 444.500-433.250. Credit: Courtesy of OSU

The Ohio State men’s gymnastics team will face Michigan in a co-ed dual meet on Saturday at 4 p.m. in St. John Arena. The Buckeyes will enter the competition with the third-best pommel horse score average in the country (68.000) and a 107-97 all-time lead against Michigan.

OSU knocked off the Wolverines at a 2016 dual meet, the first time they had beaten Michigan in a head-to-head matchup since 2007.

Ohio State men’s gymnastics is currently ranked sixth in the Collegiate Gymnastics Association Coaches Poll, while Michigan is ranked No. 10.

With an outstanding record going for them, Buckeyes coach Rustam Sharipov said his team will undertake the competition with full confidence.

“We’re not worried about the Team Up North coming to us,” he said. “It’s our home court and advantage, it’s in our walls and we’re going to have a good crowd … I’m looking forward to having a good fan base. We’re hoping to have close to 3,000 people.”

While the rivalry between OSU and Michigan might be evident as the competition approaches, Saturday’s meet will be focusing on the team’s senior athletes.

“It’s senior night, so most of the focus will be on five guys,” Sharipov said. “[This is] going to be the last weekend for them to compete at St. John arena. We’re talking about (redshirt senior) Jake Martin, (redshirt junior) Jake Dastrup, (senior) Logan Melander, (redshirt junior) Ryan Lemezis and (senior) Andrew Rickly.”

To the seniors, Saturday’s meet will be more than a competition as they focus on doing their best while overlooking the rivalry against Michigan.

“It will mean a lot. This is my fourth year here now and this is my last meet in St. john’s. The energy is always great in there, it’s always a good time,” Melander said. “There is a rivalry with the schools, but since gymnastics is such a small community we know a lot of the guys on the team and we’re pretty good friends with all the guys. Obviously that school rivalry is there, so we want to win and we want to beat Michigan, but we all know each other and it’s always a good time to go out and see some friends.”

Saturday’s meet will be the last meet of the season held in St. John Arena. However, the team will participate in the Arnold Challenge in downtown Columbus on March 4.

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