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Women’s Gymnastics: No. 21 Ohio State preparing for meet against No. 9 Kentucky

Junior Janelle McClelland performs on floor exercise during a meet on Saturday, Feb 17. Credit: Megan Russell | Senior Lantern reporter

Victories Sunday against Bowling Green State and Central Michigan returned the No. 21 Ohio State women’s gymnastics team to the NCAA rankings with a regional qualifying score (RQS) of 195.840. Now it heads on the road to face No. 9 Kentucky Friday.

Ohio State claimed its fifth consecutive win against Bowling Green State with a 196.125-point total, its third-highest score of the season and a score that improved its overall RQS. Going into its meet against Kentucky, the Buckeyes are less concerned about a sixth consecutive win, and are focusing more on reaching their full potential for each routine during the competition.

“We need to hit 24/24 and see where that takes us,” head coach Meredith Paulicivic said. “It’s not so much about the win and loss, and obviously I wouldn’t do this if I didn’t care about the wins, but if we can put up a good fight against a school like UK, that can really help us in the rankings.”

With just a five-day span between its last meet and next meet, Ohio State had a light week of practice. The focus was on recovery.

“We’re going to go really light, light on the legs,” Paulicivic said. “[The coaches] feel like we need to do that, because at this point in the season, [the team] can do their stuff. If they feel good on Friday, they are going to do good gymnastics.”

Ohio State has seen an evolution in its practice and performance as the season has progressed. Changing the mindset when approaching a meet or individual skill in a competition, the Buckeyes are now looking to control anything in their power during the next meet.

“We can’t control the judges, we can’t control the scores,” Paulicivic said. “We have to control what we can do, our attitude, our energy, being good team members, doing our gymnastics the best that we can, and really focusing on that. I told them that if we do that, we will be happy with the result.”

As a way to mentally prepare for Friday, the team is looking past the high ranking of Kentucky and approaching the competition as it would any other meet.

“No matter what the situation is, it’s still another meet, another opportunity for us to get ready for postseason,” junior Janelle McClelland said. “I feel like, taking steps towards that and treating it like another meet, and not worrying about the stuff we can’t control, and worrying about the stuff we can, that will play a big part in the meet on Friday and leading up to the rest of postseason.”

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