No. 5 Men's Gymnastics Suffers First Setback of 2009 Season; Falls to No. 7 Minnesota, 345.850-344.500
Jan. 31, 2009
MINNEAPOLIS - Despite winning at least a share of all six events individually, the No. 5 Penn State men's gymnastics team suffered its first loss of the season, falling to No. 7 Minnesota, 345.850-344.500, on Saturday night at the Sports Pavilion in Minneapolis. Season-low scores in the pommel horse (53.650), vault (62.500), and parallel bars (54.800) derailed the Nittany Lions' efforts to gain a road conference victory.
Senior Casey Sandy (Brampton, Ont.), however, left no doubt as to whom the best individual competitor was in the arena, winning at least a share of a career-high five events plus the all-around (89.050). The seven-time All-American was dominant, placing first in the floor exercise (15.300), pommel horse (14.650), vault (15.850), parallel bars (tie, 14.350), and high bar (15.000). Sandy, the No. 1-ranked all-arounder in the nation, has won the all-around in each of three meets he has completed the full rotation this season.
Freshman Miguel Pineda (Galloway, Ohio) continued his impressive start to his collegiate career, claiming his third still rings title of the season with a score of 14.800. Team captain Josh Borromeo (Littlestown, Pa.) saw his first action of the 2009 campaign versus the Gophers, posting a 14.200 in the rings to place fifth. The senior missed the first four weeks of the season while recovering from a biceps injury.
Noam Shaham (Kfar Saba, Israel) contributed solid performances, claiming second in the all-around (84.850) while establishing personal season-highs in the vault (15.700) and high bar (14.800). The junior placed third in the high bar for the second consecutive week and was one of just three Nittany Lions to earn top three finishes against Minnesota. In addition to Sandy, junior Matt Greenfield was the other, finishing second in the floor exercise with score of 14.900.
Two other Nittany Lions had notable performances. Freshman Greg Bruns (Tatamy, Pa.) recorded a season-high score in the pommel horse (13.650), finishing fourth, while redshirt freshman Logan Wyman (Phoenix, Md.) set a personal best standard in the still rings for the second consecutive week, scoring a 13.850.
Next weekend, a Penn State contingent made-up of freshman Miguel Pineda and volunteer assistant coach Vladi Klurman will travel to Las Vegas, Nev. to compete individually in the prestigious Winter Cup Challenge from Feb. 5-7. Pineda placed 19th in the still rings, scoring a 14.400, while Klurman finished in 17th in the pommel horse with a 13.550 showing at the 2008 event.
The remaining Nittany Lions will begin preparations for an upcoming dual meet with conference rival Illinois, scheduled for 7 p.m. on Sat., Feb. 14 in Champaign. Penn State topped the Illini during the regular season a year ago, overcoming a season-low score of 352.300 to claim victory. The Lions won with depth, capturing at least a share of five of six events as a team but just one individual title outright.