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Women’s gymnastics: No. 18 Ohio State prepares for even matchup at Penn State

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Senior Jaine VanPutten preforms on vault in St John Arena on Feb. 4. Credit: Megan Russell | Lantern reporter

With both OSU and Penn State sitting 2-2 in the in the Big Ten, the Ohio State women’s gymnastics team is preparing this week for a tough meet on the road against Penn State this coming Saturday.
The Buckeyes had a record-breaking meet two weekends ago at Minnesota, earning the 10th-best score in program history of 196.600, and although the team saw a win against Rutgers in this most recent meet, the Buckeyes posted a comparably lower final score of 195.775. The team is looking to change their practice routine to cater to their coming meet against Penn State.  
“As coaches, we look back at some of our weeks’ training plans and then look ahead at the meets, and the meets we performed really well, we obviously go back and try to replicate some of those workouts,” said OSU coach Carey Fagan. “Obviously, Minnesota was a great meet, so we’re molding this week’s practice kind of off of the week leading into Minnesota.”
Similar to the week leading up to the Minnesota meet, the OSU team added a third floor-focused practice on Monday, in addition to the two regularly scheduled practices on Tuesdays and Fridays.
The extra time dedicated to floor serves the dual purpose of helping the coaches determine who is performance-ready for the coming meet and helping the athletes build confidence in their routines.
The team is also practicing in small group assignments for the week as another method to help the girls mentally prepare. Sophomore Jamie Stone is one of the athletes on the team who finds this practice method useful.
“I kind of like the group assignments,” Stone said. “It’s a lot more challenging. I feel like it makes us more competition ready, because if I hit one, they have to or vice versa.”
Although the Buckeyes placed first in every event against Rutgers this past Saturday, they also saw many minor injuries during the meet that will potentially change the floor lineup this coming Saturday.
“Olivia’s (Aepli) ankle is pretty sore, so we’re probably going to rest her on floor,” Fagan said. “And then Taylor Harrison is still coming back from her hip. You know, she’s progressing, but she’s not quite at 100 percent in training, so we’ll have to make some last minute lineup changes again as we get closer to Saturday.”
With Penn State posting a 195.925 in their last meet against Michigan State, the Buckeyes and the Nittany Lions will potentially have a very close meet in their weekend matchup.
How the OSU athletes perform in practice this week will affect the overall lineups, especially the lineup for floor, according to Fagan, and will play a contributing role in determining which team will come out with the victory.

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