No. 8 Men's Gymnastics Records Season High Score But Falls at Home to No. 2 Oklahoma
March 20, 2010
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - For the second consecutive year, the Penn State men's gymnastics team posted a season-high score in a dual meet with powerhouse Oklahoma but ultimately came up short in the final standings. On Saturday evening in Rec Hall, the eighth-ranked Nittany Lions scored a 354.450, a total than bested their previous season high by more than four points, but it was not enough to overtake the No. 2 Sooners and their score of 359.250.
A year ago in Norman, Okla., Penn State registered a 356.300 but was overwhelmed by Oklahoma's astronomical score of 366.850.
As a team, Penn State won the still rings and high bar and set season team event highs in the vault (63.200), parallel bars (57.800), and high bar (59.500). Individually, sophomore Miguel Pineda (Galloway, Ohio) captured the still rings crown, recording a winning score of 14.950, and senior Matt Greenfield (Villanova, Pa.), competing for a final time at Rec Hall, claimed the high bar title with a career and team season high score of 15.200.
Freshman Nick Grant (Butler, Pa.) added to his string of impressive efforts in his rookie season, registering the highest vault score by a Penn State gymnast, a 16.050, since Casey Sandy earned a 16.100 on April 18, 2008 at the National Collegiate Championships.
Junior Matt Albrecht (Guelph, Ont.), who has not competed for two weeks while nursing a thumb injury, returned to the line-up and contributed several standout performances. He set career-highs in three events, the floor exercise (15.100), pommel horse (14.300), and parallel bars (14.550). Albrecht's best finish came in the parallel bars, placing third. Freshman Tony Beck (Catasauqua, Pa.) equaled Albrecht's accomplishments, setting career bests in three events, the still rings (14.550), parallel bars (14.450), and high bar (14.350).
Senior Noam Shaham (Kfar Saba, Israel) performed well in his final home appearance, earning a tie for second place in the still rings with a season-high score of 14.900. He also finished in fourth in the high bar with a season-best 14.700. Fellow senior Nick Virbitsky (Harrisburg, Pa.), who was honored with the Gene Wettstone Award following the meet, had a solid evening, placing third in the high bar by tying a season high score of 15.050, and fourth in the floor exercise (15.200).
The Nittany Lions will return to action in two weeks when they travel to Columbus, Ohio to seek their third conference title at the 2010 Big Ten Men's Gymnastics Championships. The annual competition will take place from April 2-3 at St. John Arena on the host campus of The Ohio State University. On Friday, the team and all-around champions will be crowned while Saturday's action will feature the individual event finals. Both nights of competition are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m and will be broadcast live by the Big Ten Network.