Vault will be a bit different for the Buckeyes, as one of their two 10.0 vaults has now been downgraded to a 9.95. Jamie Stone’s Yurchenko arabian is still clean and could potentially make a lineup, but it will likely no longer be given preference over a full. Michelle Burns, Taylor Harrison, Kaitlyn Hofland, Stefanie Merkle and Jaine VanPutten will all return fulls, and returning as the anchor should be Alexis Mattern. Barring any upgrades, her handspring front pike half will be the only 10.0 vault of the bunch. Transfer Huang as well as freshmen Nevin Adamski and Olivia Aepli should also bring solid fulls to the table and may contend for lineup spots depending on their execution. Also not to be counted out should be Casey Carvalho, a former Canadian national team member, who did not contribute in her freshman season. Her Yurchenko full scored fairly well in execution when she competed elite, so with some work, she could make a push to be in the lineup.
lineup-worthy routines from Harrison, Hofland, Mattern and Tenille Funches and gain a few new ones as well. At J.O. nationals in 2015, before she went to college, Huang competed a very clean bar set featuring a high Jaeger and a full-in dismount. Adamski will bring a high risk, high reward sort of routine with a Maloney and a full-twisting double layout dismount. Aepli and Brittany Munn will also hope to contribute
Dunn and Kent were both regular contributors to the beam lineup last season, but OSU should retain solid routines from its four all arounders: Harrison, Hofland, Mattern and Merkle. Harrison and Hofland in particular have high difficulty routines, with Harrison competing a triple series and Hofland performing a full-twisting back handspring (also known as a Kochetkova) and a double turn. As far as newcomers go, Huang, Adamski, Aepli, Peyton Hinterberger and Jessica Stich could all hope to contribute, though some have more of a chance than others. Huang competes a front aerial to Korbut combination and a very clean sheep jump, making hers one of the more difficult routines. Stich did not have a recent full competition video, but in both her older competition videos and her more recent training videos, she performs her full turn facing the side of the beam rather than end to end. That would definitely be a unique addition to the Buckeye lineup. Hinterberger may need some adjustments made to her routine to meet NCAA requirements, as she only performed two back handsprings as her acro series at Metroplex earlier this year, but her execution is pretty clean, so she could crack the lineup if she’s able to make that upgrade.
On floor, the Buckeyes keep most of their routines, losing only Abrams from the senior class. Funches, Harrison, Hofland, Mattern, Merkle, Stone, Erin Malone and Janelle McClelland will all return routines, with Harrison and Mattern bringing the only two E passes of the team. Harrison’s triple twist and Mattern’s double layout bring some solid difficulty to the lineup, and the rest of the veterans all scored 9.75 or better last season. A recurring theme you’ll see in Buckeye floor routines is a back two and a half — there are four of them between the eight returners. OSU could form a solid lineup just from these veterans, but some of its newcomers could give the vets a run for their money. Aepli, Stich and Huang all have clean routines with solid tumbling, though some of their landings are a little unsteady or overpowered. Stich and Huang also have two and a half twists as their closing pass, keeping with the theme of the veteran floor squad. So much talent on floor this year could definitely make it a strong event for the Buckeyes.
In the all around, last year’s candidates are the most likely. Harrison, Hofland and Mattern all scored well in the all around last year, and the team will continue to rely on them in the coming season. Huang could also be a strong contender if she can nudge her way into the deep vault and floor lineups. And as the most well-rounded of the freshmen, Aepli could be given the opportunity a handful of times to prepare her for the coming years when they’ll need her more. It should again be a strategy of all arounders for the Buckeyes, but with more talent to choose from, there may be more difficult decisions for coach Carey Fagan to make.
Tune in tomorrow for our analysis of the Penn State Nittany Lions! For more on potential lineups, visit our page here, read our previous series here, or check out our previous Big 10 posts here:
Editor’s Note: After publishing time, it was made known that Carvalho has medically retired and will not be in the running to contribute this season.