No. 2 Men's Gymnastics Faces First Road Challenge at No. 6 Michigan
Jan. 18, 2008
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Conference and national powers will collide on Saturday evening (Jan. 19) when the No. 2 Penn State men's gymnastics faces Big Ten rival No. 6 Michigan on the road in a 7 p.m. dual meet at Cliff Keen Arena in Ann Arbor, Mich. The conference match-up, which will pit the preseason Big Ten favorite Nittany Lions against the predicted No. 2 Wolverines, will be broadcast tape delay by the Big Ten Network on Sat., Jan. 26 at 3 p.m.
Penn State began defense of its 2007 national championship in successful fashion on January 12, defeating No. 12 Army, 358.500-333.600, at Rec Hall. Despite competing without the services of five-time All-American Tommy Ramos (Guaynabo, P.R.), the Nittany Lions were able to post the nation's top team score for the weekend.
Junior Casey Sandy (Brampton, Ont.) took center stage in the season-opening victory, capturing titles in the floor exercise (15.850), parallel bars (15.600), and high bar (14.900) en route to a win in the all-around (90.750). His scores in the floor exercise, parallel bars, and all-around were the highest in the nation for the opening weekend. For his standout efforts, Sandy was honored as the season's first Big Ten Men's Gymnast of the Week.
Senior Derek Helsby (Orlando, Fla.) also starred for Penn State, claiming victories in the pommel horse (15.000) and still rings (15.200). Team captain Santiago Lopez (Cibola del Mar, Mex.) was the Nittany Lions' other title-winner, placing first in the vault (16.150). He also took third in the parallel bars (14.800).
Michigan is coming off a third-place finish at last weekend's prestigious Windy City Invitational. The Wolverines scored a 344.450, placing behind top-ranked Stanford and conference foe Illinois. Michigan is led by 2007 All-Big Ten nominees Thomas Kelley and Chris Cameron, All-American David Chan, and team captains Paul Woodward and Arren Yoshimura.
Penn State possesses a 16-14 record in its all-time series with Michigan. The Nittany Lions will be looking to avenge last year's 216.750-215.800 home loss to the Wolverines; just one of two setbacks suffered by PSU in its 2007 national championship season. The last time the Lions competed in Ann Arbor, they came home winners, claiming a 209.400-206.450 victory on Jan. 21, 2006.
Penn State returns home next weekend for a dual meet with No. 11 Temple on Sat., Jan. 26 at 7 p.m. at Rec Hall. The Nittany Lions own a 71-11 record in its all-time series with the Owls, including wins at the Temple Invitational and West Point Open in 2007. Penn State has not lost to Temple since 1995.