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Columbus, Ohio – The fourth-ranked Ohio State men’s gymnastics team will host No. 5 Nebraska and No. 11 Air Force at the 2018 Arnold Challenge on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. ET at the Ohio Expo Center (Celeste Center). It will be the first team action for the Buckeyes in two weeks, and the meet is the first five up, five count meet of the year for Ohio State.
The event is a small portion of the annual Arnold Sports Festival that has been hosted in Columbus for nearly the last 30 years. Tickets to the meet will be $15 on Ticketmaster.com or fans can purchase tickets on the day of the meet at the front gate for $20. Children 14 years and younger can gain free admission to the event as long as they are accompanied by an adult.
In the Rankings
The Buckeyes enter the meet with the fourth-best team average in the country (410.000). The Buckeyes tout impressive resumes on the rings and pommel horse; their three-score average of 70.833 on the rings is the best in the nation and a three-score readout of 68.183 on the pommel horse is second nationally.
Individuals Top 10 Nationally
Alec Yoder – No. 1 – Pommel Horse – 15.217
Sean Melton – No. 1 – Rings – 14.867
Alec Yoder – No. 3 – Parallel Bars – 14.417
Alec Yoder – No. 3 – All-Around – 82.767
Chris Coombs – No. 4 – Rings – 14.500
Alec Yoder – No. 5 – Rings – 14.400
Alec Yoder – No. 5 – High Bar – 14.117
Sean Neighbarger – No. 8 – Vault – 14.600
The Buckeyes hold a favorable advantage over the Falcons of Air Force winning nine of the 10 matchups in prior meets. The Buckeyes beat Air Force at the season-opening Rocky Mountain Open. Thanks to two victories over Ohio State earlier this year, Nebraska now is 31-33 against the Buckeyes. Ohio State will look to avenge the two losses from earlier this season; the Cornhuskers and Buckeyes will face off at least once more in 2018 at the Big Ten Championships in April.
Five Up, Five Count
For the rest of the season, Ohio State and the rest of the NCAA will be following the five up, five count format for competitions. To this point of the season, teams have been allowed to compete six athletes and take the top six scores. Starting this weekend, all five gymnasts who compete on each event will factor into the team scores.
Big Ten Awards
The Buckeyes have competed at five meets this year (four team meets and Winter Cup) and following four of those meets, either Sean Melton or Alec Yoder has been named the Big Ten Gymnast of the Week. Melton earned the first B1G award of the season on Jan. 22 and Yoder followed that by winning back-to-back honors on Feb. 5 and Feb. 12. Melton was not only the Big Ten Athlete of the Week, but also the NCAA Gymnast of the Week on Feb. 20 following his excellent performance at the Winter Cup. Both Yoder and Melton each retained their spots on the U.S. national team after their scores at the Winter Cup.