If you’re anything like me, the past few weeks have been consumed with Ohio State women’s basketball as the team went on their incredible run to the Elite Eight. Now, after their season ended in a heartbreaker against Virginia Tech last night, many of us are looking for ways to fill our time.
For those folks who are feeling the void, I have great news: Another Ohio State team is making its way through postseason competition right now.
Let us please turn our attention to the Ohio State women’s gymnastics team, which is headed to the 2023 NCAA women’s gymnastics championships.
After finishing the season 22-8 and earning their best overall finish at the Big Ten conference championship meet (fourth place) since the 2012 season, the Buckeyes secured the No. 16 seed for a spot at regionals.
For those unfamiliar with gymnastics postseason meets, the competition is comprised of four regionals, each consisting of nine teams and three individual all-around gymnasts whose teams did not qualify for regional competition. Each regional consists of three rounds: Round 1 consists of two teams, Round 2 consists of eight teams, divided into two quads, and the regional final consists of four teams (the top two teams from each Round 2 quad).
The top two teams at the regional final (along with the top all-around competitor and top event specialist from each event whose teams did not qualify) will then advance to the 2023 NCAA Women’s Gymnastics Championships.
The Buckeyes will compete in the Norman Regional this Thursday, March 30 at 8 p.m. ET which is the second session of the second round. The first session quad is No. 8 Alabama, No. 9 Kentucky, Illinois, and Iowa, while the Buckeyes’ quad is rounded out by No. 1 Oklahoma, Arkansas, and whoever wins the first-round meet between NC State and Ball State.
Presumably, Oklahoma will advance to the regional finals, leaving one remaining spot for Ohio State, Arkansas, and either NC State or Ball State to fight for. And only the smallest margin separates OSU and Arkansas, so this is set to be an exciting meet where the Buckeyes will need to bring their A-game, especially given that Arkansas is not new to this position. Last year, the then-18 seed defeated No. 16 Arizona State.
Luckily, this is not a Buckeye team that cracks under pressure. In fact, this is a team that has broken program records all season, including twice breaking the program-season home score (which now stands at 197.575), a program record on beam (49.500), and most impressively, the highest conference championship meet score in program history (196.975).
Additionally, the team has four gymnasts who earned All-Big Ten recognition this year, including freshman Payton Harris who was named to the First Team All-Big Ten after a breakout season that included five event titles—two on beam, two on vault, and one on floor — and four Big Ten Freshman of the Week honors.
One thing to note, however, is this Ohio State team has scored significantly higher at home than on the road, which could play in Arkansas’ favor in a close meet. Ohio State’s high score this season is higher than Arkansas’s, but Arkansas has a higher top road score than OSU. The Buckeyes will need to be in top form in order to advance to the regional finals, as this could truly come down to something as small as a wobble.
Whether the Buckeyes can maintain their composure at a meet of this scale for a spot in the regional finals remains to be seen, but one thing is for certain — the excitement and athleticism of this team are exactly what we need to fill the basketball void and see us through to the end of March.