No. 5 Men's Gymnastics to Host Army in 2009 Season Opener
Jan. 8, 2009
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The defending Big Ten Champion Penn State men's gymnastics team will open the 2009 season on Sat., Jan. 10 when it hosts Army at Rec Hall. The meet, which will also feature the No. 13 Nittany Lion women's gymnastics squad facing Pittsburgh, is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.
Entering his 18th season at the helm of the Penn State program, Randy Jepson, the 2008 Big Ten and CGA Central Region Coach of the Year, lost four All-Americans to graduation but returns 2008 NCAA All-Around Champion and Big Ten Gymnast of the Year Casey Sandy (Brampton, Ont.) to lead the 2009 Nittany Lions. Other key contributors will be juniors Noam Shaham (Kfar Saba, Israel), Nick Virbitsky (Harrisburg, Pa.), Allen Harris (Lancaster, Pa.), and Matt Greenfield (Villanova, Pa.), sophomore Warren Yang (Nepean, Ont.), and freshmen Matt Albrecht (Guelph, Ont.) and Miguel Pineda (Galloway, Ohio). Senior Josh Borromeo (Littlestown, Pa.), one of the team's top rings competitors, will serve as team captain for the season.
The Nittany Lions are ranked No. 5 in the national GymInfo Preseason Coaches Poll, after a fourth-place showing at the 2008 National Collegiate Championships. Stanford enters the season as the No. 1-ranked team in the nation for the second consecutive year followed by defending national champion Oklahoma and Big Ten rivals Ohio State and Illinois.
Army heads into the 2009 season long on inexperience and short on depth as the roster features just one senior and only 10 total gymnasts. Nineteen-year head coach Doug Van Everen returns six letterwinners from last season's 2-7 squad, including senior captain Kelson Lumpkin. A trio of sophomores in Ty Smith, the team's top all-arounder and still rings performer, Justin Sappington, and Jonathan Grey will also provide experienced leadership. Freshman Chase Brown will look to make an impact on the vault and high bar.
Penn State owns a 44-18-1 record all-time against 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 seven years, compiling a perfect 7-0 record, including last season's 358.500-333.600 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 returns, after a one-year hiatus, to compete at the West Point Open. Prior to missing last year's meet due to a scheduling conflict, the Nittany Lions have dominated the annual competition, winning 10 consecutive team titles.