After a two-week hiatus, the Buckeyes faced Minnesota and the Ukraine National Team on Saturday at the Arnold Sport Festival inside the Ohio Expo Center. The fourth-ranked Buckeyes scored 415.250 points overall and won five event titles, securing a victory over No. 5 Minnesota (413.300) and the Ukraine National Team (398.400).
“You know, I’m proud of the guys that kept battling even though it didn’t go as smooth as we planned,” said OSU coach Rustam Sharipov. “It was our first five up, count five meet and I think we made a few uncharacteristic mistakes, but in the end, we came away with a win.”
The Buckeyes entered competition with an average of 414.238 points, the fourth highest in the nation, and a pommel horse average of 69.575, which is ranked No. 1 in the NCAA. Minnesota entered with a three-score average of 412.883, ranked sixth in the nation, and the second-best three-score average in the nation of 72.417. Gymnast Yaroslav Pochinka of Minnesota has the No. 1 vault average in the nation (15.000).
Ukraine had seven athletes attend the meet. Sharipov is originally from Ukraine and won a gold medal at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta on the parallel bars for Ukraine.
The Buckeyes began the competition on the floor achieving an overall score of 70.450, the best in the competition. OSU redshirt junior Sean Melton won an event title on floor with a score of 14.800 over Alex Wittenberg of Minnesota. Redshirt junior Jake Dastrup (14.150), sophomore Joey Bonanno (14.050), sophomore Alec Yoder (13.950) and sophomore Tristan Burke (13.500) all registered the best performance of their 2017 season.
The Buckeyes then progressed onto the pommel horse, where Yoder scored a readout of 14.600 to take second place in the event behind Ukraine’s Andrii Sienichkin (15.250).
Season-best performances by redshirt junior Ryan Lemezis (14.550) and sophomore Chris Coombs (14.400) on the rings helped the team score its highest point total of the season with a tally of 69.450. Lemezis’ score of 14.550 was the second event title OSU received at the Arnold Festival.
Additional event titles were won by junior Seth Delbridge (vault – 14.800), Dastrup (parallel bars – 14.800) and redshirt senior Jake Martin (high bar – 14.800), who all registered the same readouts for gold. It was Dastrup’s and Martin’s third event titles of the season on their respective events.
Delbridge’s vault was his first win of the season, and was the highest score on vault by a Buckeye this season by .300 points.
“Overall, we got the win. It was alright. There’s still a lot of stuff to go back to the gym for and focus on,” Delbridge said. “Vault was a contrast to our earlier performances this season, but personally I did really well on vault which I was happy about because this season has definitely been a learning process on vault. Minnesota really gave us a run for our money, but we were able to really pull it out at the last two events.”
Up next, the Buckeyes will head to Norman, Oklahoma, on March 11 to take on the No. 1 Oklahoma Sooners at 8 p.m.