No. 5 Men's Gymnastics Opens 2009 Season with 344.250-309.550 Victory Over Army
Jan. 10, 2009
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Spurred by standout performances from senior Casey Sandy (Brampton, Ont.) and junior Matt Greenfield (Villanova, Pa.), the No. 5-ranked Penn State men's gymnastics teams began its 2009 campaign in successful fashion, handily defeating Army, 344.250-309.550, on Saturday evening at Rec Hall. The Nittany Lions dominated the competition, winning every event, individually and as a team.
Sandy, the 2008 NCAA all-around champion and Big Ten Gymnast of the Year, treated the 1,303 Nittany Lions fans in attendance to the kind of stellar performances they are accustomed to, as he won at least a share of four titles and captured the all-around (87.700). The seven-time All-American placed first in the pommel horse (14.750), vault (15.950), parallel bars (14.700), and tied teammate freshman Miguel Pineda (Galloway, Ohio) (14.800) for the top spot in the still rings.
Greenfield claimed his first high bar crown of his Penn State career, scoring a 14.500. For his effort, he was named the Gene Wettstone Award winner, an honor bestowed upon the most outstanding gymnast for each home meet.
Junior Nick Virbitsky (Harrisburg, Pa.) (14.950) edged out classmate Allen Harris (Lancaster, Pa.) (14.900) for the floor exercise title. Penn State showed why it will be one of the nation's top floor exercise teams in 2009, claiming the top six spots in the event.
Freshman Matt Albrecht (Guelph, Ont.) was impressive in his collegiate debut, placing second in the vault (15.800) and parallel bars (14.350) and third in the floor exercise (14.800).
Competing in the all-around for the first time as a Nittany Lion, junior Noam Shaham (Kfar Saba, Israel) compiled a score of 81.200 to finish in second place. He captured third in the rings (14.100) and vault (15.500) and tied with sophomore Warren Yang for fourth in the parallel bars (13.300).
Penn State will be back in action next weekend when it returns, after a one-year hiatus, to compete at the West Point Open on Fri-Sat., Jan 16-17. The team competition is scheduled for Friday with the individual event finals to be held on Saturday. Both competitions are set to begin at 7 p.m. Prior to missing last year's meet due to a scheduling conflict, the Nittany Lions have dominated the annual competition, winning 10 consecutive team titles.