Melton Bests Field At B1G Gymnastics Meet

By Jeff Rapp, April 8th, 2018

Competing in Ann Arbor, Mich., certainly didn’t appear to faze Ohio State gymnast Sean Melton as the senior racked up his third-straight all-around title Friday night at the Big Ten Championships.

The third-ranked Buckeyes finished fourth in the team competition but Melton was his usual dominant self with a top all-around score of 84.450, just ahead of fellow Buckeye Alec Yoder’s score of 84.300.

Melton won the parallel bars title for the third time in addition to a title on rings.

Illinois won the meet with a 413.900 followed by Michigan at 408.600, Penn State at 406.350 and the Buckeyes at 405.600.

“It was a rough start for us on the first three events,” Ohio State coach Rustam Sharipov said. “We picked it up and felt like ourselves. We’re disappointed in our performance as a team but it’s great for us to have the top two all-arounders.

“I’m proud of the new guys, the freshman stepped up, but we have to improve for the NCAA Championships. We cannot struggle early and try to come back at the end.”

Ohio State opened the meet on high bar before moving to floor in the second rotation, with Melton posting team high scores of 13.750 and 14.100, respectively, on the events. After a bye in the third rotation, the Buckeyes moved to pommel horse in the fourth rotation and were paced by a 14.650 from Yoder, who finished second in the event.

In the fifth rotation, Ohio State notched a 67.250 on rings, led by Melton’s 14.750. In the sixth rotation, Sean Junior Neighbarger paced the Buckeyes with a 14.700 as Ohio State notched a season-best 71.600 on vault. Ohio State then concluded the meet with a 68.950 on parallel bars as Melton again led the Buckeyes with a 14.300.

After the individual finals on Saturday night at the Crisler Center, Melton was named Big Ten Gymnast of the Championships for the second-consecutive year.

Both Melton and Yoder were named first team All-Big Ten while David Szarvas was garnered the Buckeyes’ Big Ten sportsmanship award.

In the individual finals, Yoder placed second on pommel horse at 14.250 and, along with Chris Coombs, tied for fifth on parallel bars with a 13.775. Melton placed seventh on parallel bars with a 13.625 while Neighbarger tied for eighth on vault at 13.625.

Up next, Ohio State travels to Chicago for the NCAA Championships, which will be held April 20-21 on the campus of Illinois-Chicago.