With another road meet under its belt after competing last weekend against No. 3 Michigan, the Ohio State women’s gymnastics team (0-2, 0-1 Big Ten) is gearing up for its third away meet in a row to begin the season at Iowa (1-3, 1-0 Big Ten) at 8 p.m. Saturday.
Despite Michigan winning last weekend 197.550-194.925, Ohio State saw a 1.725 final score improvement, up from 193.200 in its season opener against UCLA.
“I felt like the first meet, we hit 12 out of 24 routines, half. This week, I felt like we hit 15, still not even close to what we’re capable of doing, and we were a point and a half higher, almost two points higher,” head coach Meredith Paulicivic said. “Certainly a step in the right direction. We still need to kind of get the kinks out and work on a few things.”
The Buckeyes had trouble during their last event on balance beam, finishing with a 47.900 score, when both freshman Jenna Swartzentruber and senior Alexis Mattern took falls during their routines as the first and second slots in the lineup.
For the meet against Iowa, Ohio State will make adjustments to its lineup order. Senior Stefanie Merkle will take the first spot in lineup on beam, moving up from spot No. 6. Junior Jamie Stone will anchor the event.
Ohio State had just three days of practice before hitting the road.
“I felt like the focus this week, it was more on landings, and again, getting out the kinks,” Paulicivic said. “It’s a definite process, and especially with a young team like this. I feel like, a couple more meets under our belt, and I feel like things will get rolling a little bit smoother.”
Iowa has posted similar results to the Buckeyes in its first two meets. The Hawkeyes posted a 193.000 to place fourth in their first competition and quad meet against Arizona State, Iowa State and Auburn. They then posted a 193.375 to beat Michigan State Saturday.
“Iowa is kind of in the same boat as we are,” Paulicivic said. “They’re kind of having a slow starting season, but you never want to count them out. They almost made nationals last year, and I know they’re going to come out gang-busters.”
The performance of the Buckeyes’ competitor is something to keep in mind, but it is not the main focus for them as they approach this weekend’s meet.
“Our goal is to just keep building on what we have,” sophomore Olivia Aepli said. “We’re not really focusing on anyone else, we’re just focusing on ourselves and doing what we do in practice.”
Ohio State’s meet against Iowa will be in Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City, Iowa, at 8 p.m. Saturday.