COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Stefanie Merkle, Taylor Harrison, Kaitlyn Hofland and Alexis Mattern have been named captains of the 2018 Ohio State women's gymnastics team, head coach Meredith Paulicivic announced today.
Merkle, a four-year letterwinner from Petersburg, Ontario, has a career-high of 9.875 on balance beam, which she tied during her junior campaign. Her career marks on floor exercise (9.925), vault (9.850) and uneven bars (9.825) were all set as a freshman. Merkle is a three-time OSU Scholar-Athlete, two-time Academic All-Big Ten selection and two-time NACGC/W Scholastic All-American.
The 2014 Junior Olympic national champion after taking the all-around title with a 38.475, Harrison has competed in every meet over the past two seasons. As a junior, she posted a career-high 9.875 on floor exercise and 9.800 on uneven bars. She has received the "O" achievement award as the team MVP twice.
Hofland, a two-time second team All-Big Ten selection, rounds out the leadership committee. She participated in every meet a season ago and set a career mark on vault (9.925). As a freshman, the Georgetown, Ontario native was a 2016 NACGC/W Scholastic All-American and Big Ten Distinguished Scholar. She is also a three-time OSU Scholar-Athlete and two-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree.
Mattern competed in every meet in the all-around as a junior. She had her best showing a season ago as she posted the 26th-best RQS nationally in the all-around and fourth in the Big Ten. She tied for 21st nationally in floor RQS and 25th in vault RQS. The 2017 first team All-Big Ten honoree won or tied for the all-around title five times, won vault five times, picked up four floor exercise titles and won uneven bars twice. Mattern qualified for the 2017 NCAA Championships, and earned a 39.200 to place 15th in the all-around in the early session.
"In my first season as head coach, having captains I can count on is imperative," said Paulicivic. "I really felt like each of these athletes has played a huge role in the success of the program. I feel that they all have good attributes and qualities as well as communicate well. It only made sense to let them lead as a group. I'm already seeing the benefits of this decision by their actions and leadership."
The Buckeyes open the 2018 season on the road against UCLA on Jan. 6.
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