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Women’s gymnastics: Ohio State comes up short at home against Iowa

Ohio State junior Alexis Mattern performs on floor against Iowa in St. John Arena on Jan. 21. Credit: Megan Russell | Lantern reporter

The Ohio State women’s gymnastics team saw its undefeated record disappear against No. 22 Iowa after a close meet on Saturday, falling to the Hawkeyes 196.175 to 195.525.

The Buckeyes began the home meet with a tie score of 48.7 after their first rotation on vault, but the lower scores ranging in the 9.7s were a letdown compared to the 9.8-range they saw in their last meet against Michigan.

“In gymnastics, it’s so subjective,” OSU coach Carey Fagan said. “What may have been a 9.8 last week could be a 9.75 this week with different sets of judges, so you have to take a little bit of that into consideration. We really just try to focus on our performance and not so much the scores.”

Although the OSU team was trailing after the first rotation, they managed to pull higher event totals in the second and third rotation, with a bar score of 48.9 and a beam score of 49.05. Sophomore Kaitlyn Hofland posted the highest score for an individual event of 9.9 on beam for the Buckeyes.

By the fourth and final event on floor, the OSU team was head-to-head with Iowa at 147.125-146.65, with Iowa leading. After senior Erin Malone tripped on her floor routine, the team found themselves in a corner.

“The pressure is real, and you have to acknowledge it,” Fagan said. “But we need to do a better job of just trusting our training, and going out there, and not, not overthinking and trying to be too perfect.”

Junior Alexis Mattern was the sixth and final athlete to perform on the floor for OSU.

“The nerves were going,” Mattern said. “I took a deep breath. I talked to Coach Carey right before I went, and all the nerves just went away. And I was just like, ‘OK. I can do it.’ So I think I put my best foot forward to do what I needed to do.”

Mattern closed the meet with a final individual and highest OSU floor score of 9.825. Mattern also managed to gain the second place in the individual over-all with a score of 39.05.

“It’s early,” Mattern said. “We’re three weeks into a very long season, and we can only go up. We’re only three-tenths behind what we did last week, and we didn’t have as good of a performance. To be close to where we were last week and have a lot to gain, that’s a fantastic spot to go into.”

The team plans to take this first defeat as an opportunity to improve for its third conference and first away meet at Minnesota next Saturday.

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