OLUMBUS, Ohio – The third-ranked Ohio State men’s gymnastics team advance to the 2016 NCAA Championships with a second-place finish at the NCAA Qualifier Saturday evening at historic St. John Arena. The Buckeyes will compete for their first national title since 2001 tomorrow at 7 p.m. on their home floor.
No. 2 Stanford won the evening qualifying session with team score of 434,350, followed by the Buckeyes, who totaled 433.400. No. 6 Illinois also qualified for tomorrow’s team finals with a score of 432.050. Those three teams – along with No. 1 Oklahoma, No. 5 Minnesota and No. 8 Penn State, the top three teams from the first session of the day – will vie for the national title.
“I saw a lot of good things tonight, but I also saw some things that were very uncharacteristic, and it’s not going to fly tomorrow,” head coach Rustam Sharipov said after the meet. “We have to bring our ‘A’ game tomorrow. We only had two sticks, which against teams like Stanford and Oklahoma is not going to get it done.
“I’m very proud of all we’ve done this year, but in order for us to compete and contend for the national championship, we have to be better.”
Ohio State finished second as a team on all six events, with its top score coming on vault, a 74.500 total that ranks fourth in the Ohio State record book.
Sean Melton, a redshirt sophomore, posted the top score of the evening for the Buckeyes on three events: parallel bars (15.350), rings (15.200) and floor exercise (14.650. He was first overall in the evening session on both p bars and rings and finished fifth on floor. He will compete in the all-around tomorrow night for the Scarlet and Gray.
Freshman Alec Yoder tied for first on pommel horse with a score of 15.400, joining 2015 NCAA all-around champion Akash Modi of Stanford at the top of the leaderboard. Yoder also turned in a Top-10 finish on high bar for the Buckeyes, placing ninth overall with a score of 14.400. He will join Melton in the all-around competition Saturday.
Senior captain Alex Johnson used a season-best score of 15.100 to finish first overall on high bar. Sophomore Seth Delbridge continued his rise on vault, scoring a 15.300 to lead the Buckeyes and finish tied for third overall.