After recovering from a loss against the No. 1 Oklahoma Sooners, the Buckeyes are ready to take on the floor once again at their last meet of the season on Friday against No. 4 Illinois. The Buckeyes will enter the competition ranked No. 3 in the nation with a score average of 417.333 and a No. 2 ranking on pommel horse with an average score of 70.350.
The Buckeyes took last meet’s loss against Oklahoma, their toughest competitor yet, as a way to build up their confidence and prepare for the challenges to come with the rest of the season.
“Oklahoma is the No. 1 team, so even comparing ourselves to who was number one gave us a bit of confidence going into this week. Oklahoma was our biggest competition in the Big Ten, so we’re looking to take a lot of confidence from this meet (against Illinois) going into Big Ten,” said sophomore Joey Bonnano. “We’re looking for a successful performance that will drive us for the rest of the season.”
Illinois is ranked No. 4 in the nation with a score average of 415.233 and No. 3 on the high bar (70.517) and floor (70.817).
Illinois is the only Big Ten opponent to register a win against Ohio State this season. The Fighting Illini and the Buckeyes met at the Windy City Invitational on Jan. 14, their first meet of the season. Illinois won with a score of 412.150 and OSU placed second with a tally of 403.450.
The Buckeyes take on their last meet of the season with four athletes ranked in the top 10 nationally. Sophomore Alec Yoder has the best pommel horse individual routine in the nation, scoring a personal best of 15.400 at the meet against No.1 Oklahoma. Redshirt senior Jake Martin is ranked No. 4 in the all-around and high bar and redshirt junior Jake Dastrup is ranked No. 4 on the parallel bars.
Redshirt junior Sean Melton has a season-best score of 15.050 on floor from the Winter Cup
on Feb. 18, ranked as the second-best in the NCAA. Melton was also named a member of the 2017 U.S. National Team after his performance at the Winter Cup, placing in the top six spots of each of the four events he competed in.
The Buckeyes are prepared to take on their final meet of the season and are striving for the win.
“The past couple weeks have been really good for us as a team in terms of practice, getting our minds ready and recovering a bit from Oklahoma … but I think we are ready, I think we’re hungry, I think we’re motivated, and we’re energetic,” said junior David Szarvas.
The meet will be televised on the Big Ten Network at 8 p.m.