Courtesy of the OSU Athletic Department
The Ohio State women’s gymnastics team will advance to its first NCAA Championship in 22 years after securing second place at the NCAA Raleigh Regional April 7.
The No. 12 Buckeyes posted a score of 196.225 to earn their spot in the National Championships.
Coach Carey Fagan, who was named the Central Region Head Coach of the Year for the second time in her career, said securing the team’s first appearance in the NCAA Championships since 1990 accomplished the year’s goal.
“It’s exciting; the plan all year has been to make it to nationals. The team really came through on our last event at regionals,” Fagan said. “It’s just a great feeling to watch their expressions and just see their hard work pay off.”
The Buckeyes started on floor and posted a score of 48.95. The top three performers for OSU were sophomore Sarah Miller, whose score of 9.85 tied her for third overall, senior Casey Williamson with a score of 9.825 finished in a tie for seventh and sophomore Melanie Shaffer, who posted a 9.8 to tie for 12th overall.
OSU senior co-captain Nicole Krauter set a career-high in vault with a 9.90 and tied for fourth overall. Miller followed with a 9.875 to tie for seventh. Senior Alyssa Marohn and senior co-captain Colleen Dean collected a pair of 9.825s to tie for 16th, and brought the team a score of 49.225 and a two-event total of 98.175.
In the third rotation, uneven bars, the Buckeyes tallied a score of 49.125, including a pair of 9.85s from Dean and Williamson, which led the Buckeyes to a tie for fourth overall. Marohn tied for tenth with a 9.825, and sophomore Victoria Aepli and senior Taylor Jones added to the team score with a pair of 9.8s to tie for 16th overall.
The Buckeyes’ performance on beam earned them a 48.925 and cemented their spot in the NCAA Championships. Freshman Sarah Grady, Dean and Miller finished with a trio of 9.8s, which was a tie for Grady’s previous career high.
Dean was the only Buckeye in the all-around and finished seventh overall with a 39.175.
Fagan said the newness of the experience competing in the National Championships is a challenge the team will face.
“Obviously, it’s an experience that no one on the team has had,” Fagan said. “It will be important for us to really stay focused on why we’re there and not get wrapped up in all the hype of the championships.”
The team has set several goals for the competition, with the primary one being to remain consistent with the regular season and hit 24 routines. The team also aims to make the Super Six.
“The point of going to the championship is to try and move on, and that’s certainly what our goal is going to be,” Fagan said. “If in fact we don’t qualify for the Super Six, we will want our team score to be a top 10 overall score.”
Fagan said her team will draw on previous experience to remain focused on meeting their goals for the competition.
“We faced the No. 2 team in the country, Oklahoma, a few weeks ago, and lost by a real small margin. That’s something that we’ll refer back to and remind the team,” Fagan said. “We’d like to think we can upset some of those teams that are ranked ahead of us.”
The Buckeyes will head to Gwinnett, Ga., for the NCAA Championships April 20-22.