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Women’s Gymnastics: Ohio State captures first win of the season in home-opener against Minnesota and Illinois State

OSU gymnastics team celebrates senior Kaitlyn Hofland, who earned a career high of 9.925 on uneven parallel bars during 2018 season premiere after recovery from shoulder surgery. She competed against Minnesota and Illinois State Saturday, Jan. 27, 2018 at St. John Arena. Credit: Megan Russell | Senior Lantern Reporter

The Ohio State women’s gymnastics team (1-3) seized its first win of the season during its home-opener at St. John Arena against Minnesota and Illinois State Saturday after losing its first three meets of the season on the road.

The Buckeyes posted a season-high point total of 196.775, while garnering seven other podium appearances, nine new personal record scores, and three season-best event finishes. Minnesota finished in second with a 195.775 score and Illinois State finishing in third with a 190.875 mark.

“This is the meet I’ve been waiting for,” head coach Meredith Paulicivic said. “It’s great to be in St John, it helps that we have already been in here, and [the team] just did their gymnastics tonight. So it was amazing. I’m super happy for them, because that’s what they’re capable of.”

In their first event of the night, the Buckeyes posted a season-high 49.075 mark to take the gold on vault. Sophomore Olivia Aepli finished in the top slot with a career-best score of 9.900 while Mattern finished in second with a 9.875 tally. Freshman Morgan Lowe recorded a personal-best 9.850 mark to finish tied at No. 3 with Minnesota’s Lexy Ramler.

Also during the first rotation, Illinois State posted a 46.850 score on balance beam while Minnesota scored 48.375 on uneven parallel bars.

On its second rotation, Ohio State earned a 98.400 tally on uneven parallel bars to seal another first-place finish.

After receiving clearance for competition before the meet, senior Kaitlyn Hofland made her 2018 season premiere on bars. Hofland delivered for her team, garnering a 9.925 score, to take second for the event.

“It felt like it was a long wait, but it was worth it waiting to be home first,” Hofland said. “That was my career high, and it was so fun to have that at home.”

Freshman Jenna Swartzentruber also set a career high with a 9.900 mark on bars, tying for third place with Ramler.

The Buckeyes held first place with a running total of 98.400 midway through the meet, while Minnesota trailed at 97.125 after its second rotation on balance beam. Illinois State sat in third with a 95.575 running score after its performance on floor exercise.

Ohio State continued on balance beam with a score of 48.800. Lowe scored a team-high 9.800 to take fifth in the event.

Illinois State, dealing with an injury to Kylie Meyer, scored only 47.550 on its third rotation on vault. Minnesota received a 49.550 on floor exercise in its third performance.

The Buckeyes closed the meet on the floor with their best collective performance of the night. Almost finishing with a complete 9.900 score-range slate, Ohio State had five athletes earn career-high scores.

“I have seen a ton of improvement in their gymnastics,” Paulicivic said. “I said that at the beginning of the year, we hadn’t seen it out on the floor. I finally feel like all the lines and the things they’ve been working on are coming together.”

Junior Jamie Stone earned a 9.950 tally to tie for first place with Ramler, while Mattern tied for third alongside Minnesota’s Ona Loper with a 9.925 finish.

Mattern scored a season-high 39.375, earning her second place in the all-around competition, while Swartzentruber trailed with a career-best 39.225 score to take bronze. Ramler finished took home the gold at 39.600.

“Tonight was one of the most incredible things I have been a part of here at Ohio State,” Mattern said. “There was so much energy, so much positivity, just good vibes all throughout.”

Ohio State will be on the road again to compete against Rutgers in Piscataway, New Jersey, at 7 p.m. Feb 3.

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