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Gymnastics, track and field and others start 2020 campaigns with a bang

Plus, women’s basketball continues its early conference run.

The Ohio State University

Ohio State women’s gymnastics opened its season in dramatic fashion with a 194.925-193.800 win over NC State in Columbus. Senior Olivia Aepli led the way for Ohio State with three first-place finishes, earning team MVP honors along the way. Aepli secured wins in the vault, bars and floor (tied with fellow Buckeye sophomore Claire Gagliardi), while teammates Morgan Lowe and Ella Hodges tied for the top spot on the beam. The Buckeyes are wasting no time ahead of Big Ten competition, as the squad is heading to face Michigan State in East Lansing Saturday.

Track and field also opened its 2020 campaign this weekend in a 17-team field at the Jim Green Invitational hosted by Kentucky. Though no team scores were kept, the Ohio State women scored first-place finishes in women’s shot put from sophomore Adelaide Aquilla and the 3,000-meter run from senior Lainey Studebaker. The men, meanwhile, posted a first-place finish in the triple-jump from freshman Clarence Foote-Talley. Next up, the Buckeyes are scheduled to head to Ann Arbor for the Simmons-Harvey Big Ten Invitational Jan. 18.

Ohio State men’s volleyball is also off to a hot start this season. The Buckeyes rolled to 3-0 Thursday with a win over Saint Francis in straight sets. Through three games, in fact, the Buckeyes have not dropped a single set. Junior Martin Lallemand led the way for Ohio State, posting nine kills on the night. The Buckeyes look to stay perfect Thursday when they face Lincoln Memorial University in Columbus.

Ohio State women’s basketball had a lot to live up to after the Buckeyes posted a win over 24th-ranked Michigan last week. The team certainly did so as the Buckeyes earned an 80-70 victory over Penn State Sunday. Sophomore forward Dorka Juhasz led all scorers with 23 points and 12 rebounds for her 14th career double double. With the win, Ohio State improves to 10-6 on the year, including 3-2 in conference play. Next up, the Buckeyes are scheduled to head to Michigan State Thursday.

No. 5 Ohio State wrestling went 2-0 last week with wins over No. 7 Arizona State Monday and No. 23 Rutgers Friday. In their most recent matchup, the Buckeyes posted a 23-13 win over the previously-unbeaten Scarlet Knights. Leading the way for Ohio State were senior Luke Pletcher (141-pounds), redshirt freshman Sammy Sasso (149-pounds), redshirt sophomore Ethan Smith (165-pounds) and redshirt senior Kollin Moore (197-pounds), all of whom posted major decisions. Redshirt sophomore Kaleb Romero (174-pounds) and redshirt junior Gary Traub (heavyweight) also earned wins for the Buckeyes. Ohio State, which improved to 4-1 on the year, will be back in action Friday against No. 8 Wisconsin.

Ohio State women’s ice hockey certainly brought its offensive firepower out on full display this weekend, sweeping Minnesota State, Mankato in its first series of 2020. The team had nearly a month off, but didn’t seem to have much rust as they scored 14 goals in two games.

In the opening matchup Friday night, the fifth-ranked Buckeyes shutout Minnesota State 6-0 on goals from six different players. After going up two scores in the first, Ohio State never looked back. In the end, the Buckeyes nearly quadrupled the Mavericks’ shot total with 48 to Mankato’s 13.

Saturday’s game was slightly more dramatic, but not much as Ohio State skated to an 8-4 victory. Despite Minnesota State going up early in the first period, the Buckeyes responded with a 3-0 run led by Emma Maltais, Sophie Jaques and Tatum Skaggs that gave Ohio State the lead in the second period. After a Maverick’s goal pulled the opposition within one, Jenn Gardiner helped the Buckeyes pull away. Four third period goals by Ohio State helped secure the win for the Buckeyes. In all, seven different players found the back of the net for Ohio State.

With the series sweep in hand, as well as a 4-0 conference series sweep over Mankato for the season, Ohio State improves to 13-5-4 on the year. The Buckeyes will be back in action Friday and Saturday against No. 2 Minnesota in Minneapolis.

Men’s ice hockey didn’t fare quite as well this weekend, splitting its series with Wisconsin in Madison. In the series opener Friday, the seventh-ranked Buckeyes posted a 4-2 win. Senior forward Carson Meyer scored the game’s first goal in the first period. Though the Badgers would tie things up in the second, the Buckeyes continued to find their offense on the backs of junior defenseman Grant Gabrielle and sophomore forward Gustaf Westlund. Finally, in the third, senior forward Ronnie Hein gave the Buckeyes their fourth goal of the night to secure Ohio State’s win.

Saturday’s matchup did not go as well, as the Buckeyes fell 5-2 to the Badgers. After a deadlocked first period, with the Buckeyes’ goal coming from Hein, Wisconsin pulled away with four unanswered goals in the second. A late second period score from senior forward Sam McCormick was not enough to spark the comeback for Ohio State.

After the series, the Buckeyes move to 14-6-2 overall, including 7-4-1 in conference play. Next up, Ohio State is scheduled to face No. 14 Notre Dame in Columbus Friday and Saturday night.

In other news...

  • After a dominant 2020 opener for Ohio State swimming and diving over Kentucky, junior Freya Rayner was named the Big Ten’s Swimmer of the Week. Rayner earned first-place finishes in both the 50- and 100-yard freestyle events and supplied a total of 18 points for the Buckeyes.
  • Freshman diver Lyle Yost also earned conference honors for his performance against Kentucky. Yost also had two first-place finishes in the one- and three-meter springboards.
  • Ohio State fencing competed in the January North America Cup, with current and former Buckeyes collecting seven top-50 finishes. For the team competition, Ohio State was the top-seed for the senior team men’s epee, with the Buckeyes ultimately taking home a second-place finish.
  • Ohio State synchronized swimming opened its season with the Zero Waste Invitational, hosted by Ohio State. The Buckeyes competed in five solo performances, five duets and three trios, earning first and second place finishes in all three events. The team will be back in action Feb. 1 when they host the Jessica Beck Memorial Competition in Columbus.
  • After finishing the 2018-19 season with a 19-7 overall record, the Ohio State women’s tennis team opened at No. 25 in the newly-released Oracle/ITA Division I preseason tennis rankings. Ohio State is one of just two Big Ten teams in the rankings (Michigan is tied at No. 14).
  • The men’s team, meanwhile, enters the season ranked sixth nationally, despite ending last season at the No. 3 spot. Illinois (No. 13) and Michigan (No. 17) join the Buckeyes in the rankings.
  • Rifle was back in action after the break, facing Alaska in Columbus. The squad fell in a tightly-contested match 4,665-4,619. Rifle will be back in action Saturday on the road against TCU.