No. 6 Men's Gymnastics Travels for Big Ten Showdown with No. 3 Michigan
Jan. 22, 2010
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The No. 6 Penn State men's gymnastics team will open Big Ten action for the 2010 season when it visits Ann Arbor, Mich. for a 1 p.m. dual meet with defending conference co-champion and third-ranked Michigan on Sun., Jan. 24. The Big Ten Network will broadcast the clash of league heavyweights on a tape delay basis, with the airing scheduled for Sat., Jan. 30 at 12 p.m.
Penn State, which was selected to place fourth in the Big Ten in the coaches' preseason poll, is coming off a first place finish at the 2010 West Point Open. The Nittany Lions won four events as a team and five events individually in capturing their 12th consecutive title at the annual competition hosted by Army. Thirteen PSU competitors advanced to the individual event finals where five different Lions won events, including freshman Nick Grant (Butler, Pa.) (floor exercise), freshman Felix Aronovich (Kiryat Bialik, Israel) (pommel horse), sophomore Miguel Pineda (Galloway, Ohio) (still rings), senior Noam Shaham (Kfar Saba, Israel) (vault), and junior Matt Albrecht (Guelph, Ont.) (parallel bars). For his standout performance at the West Point Point, which included two wins in the floor exercise and a second place finish in the vault, Grant was named Big Ten Co-Freshman of the Week.
Michigan, voted as the favorite to claim the Big Ten championship in the preseason coaches' poll, began the 2010 season last weekend in Chicago by placing second in the prestigious Windy Cindy Invitational with a score of 351.350. Junior Chris Cameron led the Wolverines with four top-five finishes, including a fifth place showing in the all-around with score of 85.100.
Runners-up at the 2009 National Collegiate Championships, Michigan is primed to once again be a top challenger for the NCAA title in 2010. The Wolverines' roster is loaded with talent, depth, and experience. It features 2009 Big Ten Gymnast of the Year and three-time All-American Thomas Kelley, 2009 Big Ten still rings champion Philip Goldberg, two-time All-American David Chan, and U.S. Senior Men's National Team member Chris Cameron.
Penn State owns a 17-15 record in all-time meetings with Big Ten rival Michigan. A year ago, the Nittany Lions defeated the Wolverines, 348.900-348.350, in Rec Hall in a down-to-the-wire, come-from-behind thriller. Facing a seemingly insurmountable deficit heading into the final rotation, with PSU on the high bar, a program-record score from Casey Sandy (15.450) and a solid effort from Noam Shaham (14.750), lifted the Lions to the unlikely victory. In its last trip to Ann Arbor, in 2008, Penn State suffered a 356.950-354.300 setback.
Fans can follow all of the action of the Penn State-Michigan dual on the Internet with live scoring updates. Find a link on the official website of Nittany Lion athletics, www.GoPSUsports.com.
The Nittany Lions return home next weekend, hosting William & Mary in a dual meet set for 2 p.m. on Sun., Jan. 31 in Rec Hall. Penn State possesses a perfect 15-0 record in its all-time series with the Tribe, including a 347.850-340.050 victory last season in Williamsburg, Va. Competing without eventual Nissen-Emery Award winner Casey Sandy, who was given the week off, Allen Harris (Lancaster, Pa.) led the Lions by placing first in the floor exercise and the vault while Noam Shaham and Miguel Pineda (Galloway, Ohio) captured titles in the high bar and still rings, respectively.