Sandy and Ramos Earn All-American Honors at National Collegiate Men's Gymnastics Championships
April 20, 2008
STANFORD, Calif. - Penn State junior Casey Sandy (Brampton, Ont.) and senior Tommy Ramos (Guaynabo, P.R.) captured All-American honors with standout performances in the individual event finals of the 2008 National Collegiate Championships on Saturday evening in Stanford's Maples Pavilion.
Sandy, who earned All-American status by winning the 2008 NCAA All-Around championship on Friday, added five more honors with top eight finishes on the floor exercise, pommel horse, still rings, vault, and parallel bars. His six All-American honors are the most by any Penn State gymnast at one national championship in the program's storied history. Sandy now has seven for his career, after placing second on the pommel horse in the individual event finals of the 2007 national championships.
Facing the daunting task of competing in at least five events for the third consecutive night, the 2008 Big Ten Gymnast of the Year showed he was more up than up to the challenge, placing second in the floor exercise (tie, 15.600), pommel horse (14.975), and parallel bars (14.950). Sandy also had a sixth-place showing in the vault (15.875) and finished in eighth place in the rings (15.050).
"He was amazing," said Penn State head coach Randy Jepson. "He competed in three events in under an hour and was an All-American on all three and then finished it out with two more All-American honors in back-to-back events. It is rare to find an athlete who can rise to occasion like that but maybe once or twice in a coaching career. He is reminiscent of Luis Vargas in that he can just focus and hit. He was uncanny tonight."
Ramos placed third in the still rings with a score of 15.725, gaining All-America status for the sixth time in his career.
For Ramos, his impressive performances over the three days of the championships complete the final chapter of a season that has been beset by injury and personal tragedy. Overcoming an assortment of ailments and losses to friends and in the family, Ramos was a key figure on Penn State's 2008 Big Ten Championship team, winning the second conference rings title of his career. At the national championships, he set and then reset personal best scores in the rings, helping the Nittany Lions establish new team season highs in consecutive nights.
"Tommy did a great job, just getting edged out for second place," said Jepson. "Considering what Tommy has been through this year, he really came through at the end for the team yesterday and for him to be able to cap off his career with an All-American certificate is outstanding."
With the combined seven All-American honors garnered by Sandy and Ramos, the Penn State men's gymnastics program now boasts 41 competitors that have earned 96 All-American citations since 1980.
Senior Santiago Lopez (Cibola del Mar, Mex.) competed in the floor exercise, but stepped out of bounds twice, scoring a season low 14.200. He finished in 10th place. It was an unfitting end to what has been an outstanding season for the Nittany Lions' team captain. One of Penn State's most consistent performers throughout the year, he finished the regular season nationally ranked in the top 15 in the floor exercise, vault, and parallel bars. In recognition of his positive representation of the team and university in the competitive arena, Lopez was named Penn State's recipient of the 2008 Big Ten Sportsmanship Award.
The individual event finals of the 2008 National Collegiate Men's Gymnastics Championships will air on CN8 on Sat., May 3 at 9:30 p.m. ET and on Sat., May 10 at 5 p.m. ET.