Columbus, Ohio – Ohio State men’s gymnastics head coach Rustam Sharipov announced that Sean Melton, Alec Yoder and David Szarvas will serve as captains over the Scarlet and Gray for the 2017-18 season.
The Buckeyes have been on a steady rise over the past couple of years, winning back-to-back Big Ten titles (2016 and 2017) while finishing third (2016) and second (2017) at the past two NCAA Championships.
“I think all three guys bring a different perspective to the team,“ head coach Rustam Sharipov said. “Sean (Melton) has experience and is a senior, Alec (Yoder) has a resilient drive and wants to be very successful, and David (Szarvas) works each and every day to get the most out of himself and the team.
“Sean (Melton) has been through a lot and seen a lot of things. He’s helped us win back-to-back conference titles while winning the all-around competition, so he means a lot to this program.”
Melton will be serving in his third stint as a team captain for the Scarlet and Gray. The nine-time All-American and U.S. senior national team member cherishes the opportunity to help lead his team to greatness.
“It means the world to me and it is a honor to be a team captain for this team,” Melton said. “We’re a team on the rise. People come to Ohio State to win championships. We’re obviously not satisfied with second or third (referring to the NCAA team finishes the last two years).
“It was a great stepping stone for our program, but we come here to win. I want to help lead this team to great things and we know we’ve got a lot of work ahead of us.”
Melton, the two-time reigning Big Ten all-around champion, just recently earned back his spot on the U.S. senior national team this summer at the P&G Championships. Melton’s performance at the 2017 NCAA Championships helped Ohio State earn a second-place finish at the national meet, its highest since 2005.
The fifth-year senior earned All-America honors on the rings (second place/14.900), high bar (third place/14.500) and in the all-around (fourth place/86.400) to pace the way for Ohio State.
Yoder, a member of the U.S. senior national team member alongside Melton, will be serving as a captain for the first time as a Buckeye.
“I’m really excited and honored that I got voted to be team captain for the team this year,” Yoder mentioned. “I’m honored to have this privilege and I’m not going to take it for granted.
“We’re going to do everything we can to be the best team in the nation. That’s why we came to Ohio State, because there is a rich tradition of success and winning…we want to continue that. We’ve come very close and we’ve worked way too hard not to win. Everything we do this fall, will be working towards winning a national championship.”
Yoder, the 2016 Big Ten Freshman of the Year and pommel horse champion, slowly worked his way up to full strength during the 2017 season. At the final meet of the year, the junior completed the all-around competition for the first time that season and scored a 84.950 to place sixth in the competition. The Indianapolis native also cashed in on his bread and butter event, the pommel horse, to a tune of 14.800, which earned him a tie for fourth. Those scores helped Ohio State place second at the 2017 NCAA Championships.
“Alec is very well immersed in the tradition here at Ohio State,” Sharipov said. “He wants to see the Buckeyes on top in everything we do, and that is what makes him a great leader.”
The third and final captain of the 2017-18 season is David Szarvas. The Shreveport, La., native earned his first career All-America honor on the pommel horse in 2017 at the NCAA Championships. He used a career-best readout of 14.500 to take eight place helping Ohio State finish second as a team.
“It’s an absolute honor (to be named team captain) and I’m completely humbled,” Szarvas noted. “Looking forward to this year, I have big goals. I want to do the best I can do to push this team to reach our potential.
“I know we have big goals for this season. Finishing up the season as we did last year, we want to keep that ball rolling. I’m very optimistic and looking forward to this season, I think we have big things in store.”
The redshirt junior specializes on the pommel horse. At the 2017 Big Ten Championships, Szarvas registered a score of 13.450 to help Ohio State win its second straight Big Ten title. In addition to excelling in the gym, Szarvas was one of three Buckeye men’s gymnasts to earn the honor of being a Big Ten Distinguished Scholar for the 2016-17 academic year (must maintain a 3.7 GPA for the whole academic year).
“David has gone from getting cut, to being a walk-on, to earning an All-America honor,” Sharipov mentioned. “He is great in the gym and even better in the classroom. He encompasses everything that a student-athlete should aspire to be.”
One thing is for sure, the Buckeyes are in good hands with these three captains.