The Ohio State women’s gymnastics team celebrates after then-freshman Morgan Lowe’s performance on balance beam March 11. The Buckeyes placed second in the meet. Credit: Megan Russell | Former senior Lantern reporter

The Ohio State women’s gymnastics team opened the 2020 season on the right foot, edging out NC State at home Saturday afternoon.

Ohio State (1-0) captured a 194.025-193.800 win against the Wolfpack (0-1) in its first ever meet at the Covelli Center.

Starting off the meet on vault, juniors Morgan Lowe and Jenna Swartzentruber, freshmen Sarah Rowland and Raina Malas, senior Olivia Aepli and sophomore Sydney Jennings combined for 48.675, besting NC State’s 48.250 on the apparatus.

Aepli ended the meet with the highest vault score of 9.850.

“With half of our routines coming from freshmen and sophomores, we just needed to get started,” head coach Meredith Paulicivic said. “We needed to have a place to start from and work our way up.”

Moving to bars, Aepli — the 2018 Big Ten Champion — led her team with a 9.850, adding to the total score of 48.825. The Wolfpack finished bars with a 48.075. 

Both teams suffered falls on the apparatus, as NC State senior Drew Grantham and freshman Alexis Ortega slipped, while Ohio State’s single fall came from senior Nevin Adamski. 

Aepli was named Ohio State’s MVP of the meet. She totaled a score of 29.575 after competing in three events. She came in third for the all-around competition. 

“I was just feeling so much joy,” Aepli said. “I love the new arena, I love my team and I know how hard we all worked for this; how hard I worked in the preseason. I just felt all the hard work pay off.” 

On beam, Ohio State suffered two falls from Swartzentruber and freshman Alexis Hankins. They finished with a combined score of 47.600, the Buckeyes’ lowest team score of the meet, and were topped by the Wolfpack’s 48.600. This event was the only apparatus Aepli did not compete in.

“We need to go back into the gym and hard on some of the mistakes that we made, and hopefully we will correct those in the weeks to come,” Aepli said. 

Finishing with floor exercise, the Buckeyes totaled 48.925 points against North Carolina State’s 48.875, solidifying their win. Ohio State scored the highest on floor out of all their events. 

“It was really nice to see them have a good comeback on floor after a little disappointing beam set,” Paulicivic said. “Floor was something we struggled with a lot last year, so that was a big step forward for us.”

The meet’s all-around champion was NC State junior Lauren Kent, who competed in all four events and earned a total score of 38.850. 

The Buckeyes hope to continue this momentum as they travel to Michigan State Jan. 18.