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2007 National Championship Team Visit Allows Chance to Reflect

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By Tom Shively, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa - Saturday will be a special day at Rec Hall, as members of Penn State's 2007 National Championship team will be on hand to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of their achievement. That year was the most recent of 12 NCAA Championships brought home by the Nittany Lions, the highest mark in the nation.

The championship meet was held at Rec Hall that year, meaning the Nittany Lions were able to win a title on their home floor, something they accomplished only one other time. 

Head coach Randy Jepson held the same position in 2007, winning one of his three national championships in his time at the helm of Penn State. To him, the 2007 team holds a special place among his best squads. 

"I think back right before the meet in Rec Hall, sitting back in the women's volleyball locker room having confidence in my guys and knowing in about three hours we were going to be national champions," Jepson said. 

A brunch will be held before the meet, allowing all the team members to get together and catch up on how far each has come in the decade since they hoisted the trophy. The coaching staff will share some stories as well. 

One impact the 2007 team has also done since their championship run is help bolster the Penn State program, paving the way for younger athletes to come to Happy Valley. They, along with the 2000 and 2004 championship teams, returned the glory to Penn State gymnastics, allowing for some more big time talent to come here.

Four Nittany Lions earned All-American awards that season, headlined by Tommy Ramos, the Puerto Rican who was an All-American in every year at Penn State. He was joined by Vladi Klurman, Casey Sandy, and Nick Virbitsky. Sandy was the anchor of the pommel horse team, which was ranked No. 1 throughout the season. 

A notable name who has come through the program since then is Trevor Howard, who won an NCAA title in 2013 on the floor exercise in his freshman season. Howard would go on to have a very successful career as a Nittany Lion, and is currently training to hopefully compete in the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan. 

 As far as the current team is concerned, seeing the 2007 team and understanding the victories that they had could go a long way in helping this team make a run at a national championship. Seeing that success can play out in the way that it did that year and seeing those guys in person right in front of them could certainly help these young Nittany Lions understand he magnitude of what they are competing for. 

For the freshmen especially, who haven't yet had a chance to be around the program for an entire season and have not had any NCAA postseason experience, this could give them an opportunity to talk to some of the guys that made the run and understand what it takes to win in the postseason. 

Nonetheless, a stellar weekend lineup is in store for the team, capped off with the meet against Michigan. The meet is set to start at 3 p.m. at Rec Hall and is one of the two remaining Penn State home meets.

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