Tommy Ramos and Casey Sandy Win Individual Titles at Big Ten Championships
April 6, 2008
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - After capturing the program's second Big Ten team championship on Friday night, Tommy Ramos (Guaynabo, P.R.) and Casey Sandy (Brampton, Ont.) continued Penn State's dominance by following up with title wins in the individual event finals of the 2008 Big Ten Men's Gymnastics Championships on Saturday evening at Rec Hall. Ramos secured his second career rings crown while Sandy claimed his first individual title, winning the parallel bars.
The honors did not end there for Penn State, though, as at the conclusion of the competition, Sandy was recognized as the Big Ten Gymnast of the Year and Randy Jepson was named the Big Ten Coach of the Year.
For Sandy, the 2008 Big Ten All-Around Champion, the award is the crowning achievement of a brilliant season. Testament to his consistent dominance throughout the year, Sandy claimed at least three titles in five of the eight regular season meets in which he competed. In total, he captured 24 titles, including six all-around crowns, and earned a remarkable 38 top three finishes.
Jepson's honor is the second of his distinguished career, winning the conference coaching award also in 2003. The 2007 National Coach of the Year, Jepson is Penn State's all-time winningest coach with a 268-50 career record.
Competing for just the fifth time on the still rings this season, Tommy Ramos claimed the title with a score of 15.500, giving him two in three years after winning the crown in 2006. The victory was just reward for Ramos after battling through an odyssey of injury and personal tragedy that marred his 2008 competitive season. Ramos led a dominating performance by Penn State in the rings, as the Nittany Lions took four of the top six places in the event. Senior Vladi Klurman (North Miami Beach, Fla.), who was added to the line-up after Casey Sandy was scratched, placed third with a score of 15.050 and was followed by sophomore Noam Shaham (Kfar Saba, Israel) (5th, 14.750) and junior Josh Borromeo (Littlestown, Pa.) (6th, 14.700).
Casey Sandy outdueled Ohio State's DJ Bucher, the 2007 Big Ten parallel bars champion, to capture the 2008 crown with a score of 15.300. Reflective of his Big Ten Gymnast of the Year accolade, the junior also placed second in the floor (15.350), third in the pommel horse (14.750), and sixth in the vault (tie, 15.400).
After somewhat surprising qualifying performances in the team competition on Friday, sophomore Allen Harris (Lancaster, Pa.) and Noam Shaham showed those were no fluke in the individual event finals tonight, giving strong efforts. Harris placed fourth in the floor exercise (15.100) while Shaham finished in a tie for fourth in the vault (15.650). Shaham also earned fourth place in the high bar (14.700).
In two weeks, the Nittany Lions will seek their NCAA-record 13th team title when they compete at the 2008 National Collegiate Men's Gymnastics Championships from April 17-19 at Maples Pavilion in Stanford, Calif. To be hosted by Stanford University, the competition begins on Thurs., April 17 with two qualifying sessions, scheduled for 4 and 10 p.m. ET. The top three teams from each qualifier then advance to vie for the national championship at 10 p.m. ET on Fri., April 18. The nation's top all-around performer will also be crowned that evening. On Sat., April 19, the individual event finals will be held at 10 p.m. ET, with six national titles and All-American honors at stake.