No. 1 Men's Gymnastics Claims Conference Road Win with 352.300- 351.000 Decision Over No. 5 Illinois
Feb. 16, 2008
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Defending national champion and No. 1-ranked Penn State overcame a hostile environment and its lowest team score of the season to notch its first road win in 2008 on Saturday night, escaping Champaign with a hard-fought 352.300-351.000 victory over No. 5 Illinois. As a team, the Nittany Lions won at least a share of five of six events but took just one individual title outright.
Penn State excelled in the vault, nearly matching its team high score for the season, compiling a score of 63.350. It also won the floor exercise, still rings, parallel bars (tie), and high bar.
Junior Casey Sandy (Brampton, Ont.) claimed his fourth all-around crown in 2008 in the victory, posting a score of 88.650. He placed first in the rings (15.250), second in the floor exercise (15.050) and pommel horse (15.000), and fourth in the vault (15.800) and high bar (13.800). Sandy experienced uncharacteristic struggles in the parallel bars, an event in which he is ranked No. 1 in the nation, finishing in 11th place.
Senior captain Santiago Lopez (Cibola del Mar, Mex.) gave another strong performance in the vault, tying for first place (16.050). He now owns two of the team's top three scores in the event this season. He also placed fourth in the floor exercise and sixth in the parallel bars.
Penn State's other all-arounder versus the Illini, redshirt freshman Jason Chu (Los Angeles, Calif.), took third. His top performances came in the floor exercise (15.000), vault (15.950), and parallel bars (14.550), all third-place finishes.
Five-time All American Tommy Ramos (Guaynabo, P.R,), who has been hampered by injuries all-season, competed in three events, placing third in the high bar.
Freshman Warren Yang (Nepean, Ont.) made his collegiate debut versus the Illini, competing in the floor exercise (14.400) and vault (15.500).
The Nittany Lions return to the road next weekend, traveling to Columbus, Ohio for a meet on Sun., Feb. 24 with No. 7 Ohio State. Competition, which will also include the Penn State women's team taking on its Buckeye counterpart, is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m at historic St. John Arena. The conference match-up will be broadcast tape delay by the Big Ten Network on Thurs., Feb. 28 (6 p.m.) and Sun., March 2 (4 p.m).