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Men’s gymnastics: No. 3 Buckeyes end season with road win at No. 4 Illinois

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The OSU men’s gymnastics team poses for a photo after the NCAA championships on April 16 at St. John Arena. Credit: Luke Swartz | Lantern reporter

The No. 3 Ohio State men’s gymnastics team ended their last meet of the season with a victory at No. 4 Illinois on Friday, 417.350-415.250. The Buckeyes now turn to the postseason for Big Ten and NCAA championships.

“I’m very proud of how our team fought (Friday),” coach Rustam Sharipov said. “Now that the regular season is over, it’s time to get ready for a successful postseason run.”

Illinois freshman Sebastian Quiana set the stage for his team on the floor and posted a career-best score of 14.950, his second title this year. Sophomore Alex Diab added a 14.800, leading the Illini to a 70.700 on floor.

The Buckeyes received event titles from redshirt junior Sean Melton (parallel bars and rings), sophomore Alec Yoder (pommel horse) and redshirt senior Jake Martin (all-around). Melton’s title on rings, with a tally of 15.200, was the best of his season and is ranked No. 2 in the NCAA this season. Melton closed out with gold on the parallel bars with a readout of 14.600.

For the second meet in a row and third time this season, Yoder registered a pommel horse routine of greater than 15 points. He received the event title with tally of 15.100 points and now has four pommel horse titles this season.

OSU earned a season-high score of 71.700 on the vault with performances from Seth Delbridge (14.600), Yoder (14.550), Melton (14.500), Martin (14.300) and sophomore Joey Bonanno (13.750). Martin received an event title in the all-around with an overall score of 80.900.

Additionally, on Friday, team captain Martin was named a finalist for the 2017 Nissen-Emery Award — an award presented annually to the nation’s top senior gymnast by the College Gymnastics Association.

“It’s a really big honor to be named one of the finalist,” Martin said. “The list has included some of the all-time NCAA greats, including the ones from Ohio State such as Blaine Wilson, Kip Simons and Jamie Natalie, so to be put on this list is a really big honor.”

Martin has had a successful career in the gym and classroom. He is set to graduate with dual degrees in international studies and political science in May. He is a four-time OSU Scholar-Athlete and Academic All-Big Ten selection and a 2014 CGA All-America Scholar Athlete.

Despite suffering two injuries, Martin has excelled throughout his career. As a sophomore in 2014, Martin was the Big Ten champion on the vault and was selected to the first-team All-Big Ten. He also achieved two All-American performances in the all-around and vault at the NCAA championships.

“It’s been pretty difficult to return from my injuries, but in the long run I feel like it’s made me stronger,” Martin added. “I feel like I’m in a good spot and I’m a lot further along than some people expected, and that makes me excited for the rest of the season.”

The winner will be announced on April 20 in West Point, New York, before the NCAA championships begin.

Up next, Ohio State will travel back to Champaign, Illinois, for the Big Ten championships from April 7 to 8.

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