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Jan. 5, 2011
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Penn State men's gymnastics team will open the 2011 campaign on Saturday evening when it hosts No. 15 Army at Rec Hall. The dual meet is scheduled for a 7 p.m. start.
Entering his 20th season at the helm of the Penn State, head coach Randy Jepson will again guide a squad dominated by youth, as 13 of the 18 members of the roster have one year or less of collegiate competitive experience, including five freshmen. Returning to lend veteran leadership are seniors Matt Albrecht (Guelph, Ont.), the team captain for this season, Warren Yang (Nepean, Ont.), who did not compete in 2010 while recovering from a shoulder injury, and junior Miguel Pineda (Galloway, Ohio), one of the nation's top still rings performers. Felix Aronovich (Kiryat Bialik, Israel), the 2010 Big Ten Co-Freshman of the year, headlines a talented sophomore class that also includes Tony Beck (Catasauqua, Pa.), Mackenzie Dow (Cranford, N.J.), Parker Raque (Louisville, Ky.), and Scott Rosenthal (Clearfield, Pa.), all of whom were regulars in the Penn State line-up a year ago.
The Nittany Lions are ranked No. 7 in the national GymInfo Preseason Coaches' Poll and have been selected to place fourth in the Big Ten in 2011 by a vote of the conference coaches.
Army returns 13 veterans from a 2010 team that placed sixth at the ECAC/EIGL Championships and welcomes four newcomers to West Point for the 2011 season. Youth will also be a prominent theme for 20-year head coach Doug Van Everen with just two seniors in contrast to 10 underclassmen comprising this season's roster. Junior Jonathan Hoey (high bar) and sophomores Garrek Hojan-Clark (pommel horse) and Kip Webber (floor exercise), who each qualified for last year's National Collegiate Championships, join senior captain Tim Tieng in forming the Black Knight's nucleus.
Penn State has compiled a 48-18-1 record in its all-time regular season series with Army. The Nittany Lions have faced the Black Knights in either dual meet or open competition to begin the season in each of the past nine years, posting an unblemished 9-0 record, including last season's 341.000-314.350 victory in Rec Hall.
Fans can follow all of the action of the Penn State-Army dual on the Internet with live scoring updates or with a live video webcast from Rec Hall. Find links on the official website of Nittany Lion athletics, www.GoPSUsports.com.
Penn State will be back in action next weekend when it competes at the West Point Open on Jan. 14-15. Hosted by the United States Military Academy on its southern New York campus, the Nittany Lions have dominated the annual competition, winning 12 consecutive team titles. In 2010, Penn State posted a score of 349.850 to top the West Point Open field and five Nittany Lions captured individual event titles.
The team competition is scheduled for Friday with the individual event finals to be held on Saturday. Both competitions are set for 7 p.m. at the home of the Army Black Knights, Christl Arena.