COLUMBUS, Ohio – Senior captain Alex Johnson won a national title on high bar, six athletes earned All-America honors and Ohio State finished third as a team at the 2016 NCAA Men’s Gymnastics Championships Saturday night at St. John Arena, the best finish for the Buckeyes at the NCAA finals since 2005.
A crowd of 3,592 witnessed Johnson, a native of Marysville, Ohio, win his first career national title on the final routine of his college career, a season-best performance and score of 15.200 that tied him at the top of the podium with Akash Modi of Stanford. Johnson is the first individual national champion for the Buckeyes since Michael Newburger (pommel horse) in 2013 and the first on high bar since Ron Ferris in 2005. Johnson leaves OSU a three-time All-American.
“It’s honestly a dream come true,” Johnson said of his national title. “I’m from the Columbus area so growing up this is what I dreamed of – my senior year, to finish at home at St. John Arena and to be able to finish the way I did, it’s a dream come true and I’m at a total loss for words.”
Led by Johnson, six different Buckeyes were named All-Americans, the most at an NCAA championship in school history. No. 3 Ohio State (27-6 overall) closed the national championship with a team score of 433.150, finishing a point behind runner-up and second-ranked Stanford. No. 1 Oklahoma won its second-consecutive national title with a team score of 443.400.
The Buckeyes came out of the gate strong with scores of 73.450 on rings and 73.900 on vault, surging to second place overall. A 69.850 on parallel bars dropped OSU to fourth, but the team rebounded with scores of 72.550 on high bar, 71.850 on floor exercise and 71.450 on pommel horse to capture the third-place trophy.
“Before the competition started, I told our guys I didn’t care where we finished – all I cared [about] was that we do our best,” Ohio State head coach Rustam Sharipov said. “It was a rough meet. We had an injury to Sean [Melton] on the vault, but we picked up on the p-bars, high bar was even better and the guys never gave up, so that is what it’s all about.”
Freshman Alec Yoder from Indianapolis won three All-America awards at his first NCAA championship meet, highlighted by a runner-up finish on pommel horse with a score of 15.300. He added a seventh-place finish on rings (15.050) on his way to a fifth-place performance in the all-around with a score of 88.050, finishing a single point behind all-around champion Yul Moldauer of Oklahoma.
Redshirt sophomore Sean Melton collected two All-America honors at his second NCAA championship, bringing his career total at Ohio State to six. The Orlando, Fla., native was fourth on high bar (14.950) and fifth on rings (15.150). Initially entered in the all-around, Melton was a scratch on floor exercise following an injury on vault in the third rotation.
Two Buckeyes earned their first career All-America awards with Top-8 finishes on vault. Sophomore Seth Delbridge from Floyds Knob, Ind., used a career-best score of 15.350 to earn runner-up honors, while sophomore Alex Wilson of Sugar Land, Texas, tied for seventh with a 15.100.
Senior captain Emeric Quade from Tucson, Ariz., also collected his first career All-America accolade in his final career meet, finishing fourth on floor exercise with a score of 14.800.
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