Around the Oval is Eleven Warriors' weekly love letter to Ohio State sports that don't get the coverage they should.
The dominating spring continues for Ohio State's non-revenue sports. While the spring game stole most of the headlines this weekend, several Buckeye teams have quietly emerged as the best in the nation.
This week we'll be taking a look at the men's tennis team's ever-increasing winning streak, the continued dominance of the women's rowing team and the best finish in nearly a decade by the men's gymnastics team. We'll also introduce you to a freshman who is already one of the most decorated athletes in school history after taking home four All-America awards this weekend.
The men's tennis team went 2-1 on the week, but was still able to clinch at least a share of the Big Ten regular season championship. The Buckeyes fell at No. 12 Kentucky (4-1) before bouncing back with wins over No. 42 Tulsa (4-1) and No. 28 Purdue (4-3).
Hunter Callahan had a strong week, as he was the only Buckeye to go undefeated in singles play. In fact, he didn't even lose a single set. Peter Kobelt went 2-1 on the week, including a win over No. 67 Japie De Klerk of Tulsa. His lone defeat came at the hands of Kentucky's No. 13 Tom Jomby. Herkko Pollanen and Ralf Steinbach each went 1-2 on the week, while Chris Diaz and Kevin Metka went 0-3 in singles play.
Ohio State, now 25-3 on the season, maintained its No. 1 spot in this week's rankings. The win over Tulsa extended their NCAA-record home winning streak to 187 and the win over Purdue was their 91st consecutive regular season Big Ten win.
The Buckeyes have two remaining matches, both at home. They can claim the outright Big Ten regular season title with a win over Iowa this Friday at 6.
The No. 2 women's rowing team had another phenomenal week. They traveled to Iowa City to compete in this past weekend's Big Ten Challenge and swept the competition.
In the event, Ohio State picked up seven wins over Indiana, Iowa and No. 19 Louisville. The Buckeyes' first varsity eight team of Aina Cid Centelles, Elodie Ravera-Scarramozzino, Eelkje Miedema Ashley Bauer, Meghan Birkbeck, Catherine Shields, Holly Norton, Claire-Louise Bode and Victoria Lazur remains undefeated this season after three competitions against some of the top teams in the nation.
Also staying undefeated this week was the second varsity four team of Sarah Kessler, Audrianna Penza, Anna Gackowski, Kelsey Albrinck and Sarah Asad.
This weekend, Ohio State travels to Ann Arbor to take on No. 3 Virginia, No. 9 Notre Dame and No. 10 Michigan. The Buckeyes will look to pick up more signature wins and improve on their 10-1 record against Michigan this season.
It was a great week all-around for Buckeye gymnastics. Last Thursday, the men's gymnastics team qualified for the NCAA Team finals for the first time since 2010. Ohio State followed that up the next day with a fifth place finish in the team competition, their best finish since the 2005 NCAA Championships.
The Buckeyes posted a score of 433.50, narrowly falling to Michigan (445.05), Oklahoma (441.65), Stanford (436.30) and Illinois (435.35). Penn State finished sixth (429.80) to round out the standings. Sean Melton and Jake Martin finished 3rd and 5th respectively to capture All-America honors.
Following the team competition, seven Buckeyes qualified for the NCAA Individual Finals and brought home six more All-America awards. Sean Melton captured three All-America awards on Saturday in the vault (6th place), parallel bars (6th) and high bar (3rd). Jeff Treleaven (4th place on vault), Jake Martin (2nd place, high bar) and Alex Johnson (6th place, high bar) also finished the event as All-Americans, giving Ohio State a total of eight All-America awards.
The eight All-Americans are the most for Ohio State since 2005, and Sean Melton became the first freshman in Ohio State history to earn four All-America awards at one championship.
The women's NCAA Championships begin this weekend in Birmingham, Alabama.