No. 1 Men's Gymnastics to Host No. 9 Temple on Saturday Night
Jan. 25, 2008
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The top-ranked Penn State men's gymnastics team will look to remain undefeated at home when it welcomes in-state opponent No. 9 Temple to Rec Hall for a 7 p.m. dual meet on Sat., Jan. 26. The Nittany Lions opened their 2008 home schedule on Jan. 12 with a resounding 358.500-333.600 win over Army.
Last weekend, Penn State suffered its first defeat of the year, a 356.950-354.300 narrow loss to Michigan in Ann Arbor. Despite coming up short against the Wolverines as a team, junior Casey Sandy (Brampton, Ont.) stole the show with his second straight standout performance. He captured titles outright in the pommel horse (15.150) and parallel bars (15.350) while sharing the still rings crown (15.300), giving him six individual event wins through the season's first two weeks. Though competing uncontested, Sandy took the all-around with the highest score in the nation thus far this season, a 91.550. He also placed second in the floor exercise and vault against Michigan. For his efforts, he was honored as Big Ten Men's Gymnast of the Week for the second consecutive time to start the 2008 season.
Senior captain Santiago Lopez (Cibola del Mar, Mex.) continued his impressive beginning to the year versus the Wolverines, winning the vault (15.900) for the second consecutive week. He also placed third in the floor exercise.
In spite of the setback versus Michigan, Penn State moved up from No. 2 to No. 1 in the national rankings when they were released for the first time this season this week. In the event team rankings, the Nittany Lions are No. 1 in the floor exercise (60.900), pommel horse (57.200), still rings (59.775), and vault (62.975), No. 2 in the parallel bars (58.750), and No. 4 in the high bar (56.800). Individually, Casey Sandy is nationally top-ranked in three events (floor exercise, parallel bars, and the all-around) and is Penn State's highest ranked competitor in every event with the exception of the vault. Santiago Lopez is the No. 4 vaulter in the nation, averaging a score of 16.025. The senior is also ranked fourth in the nation in the floor exercise (15.200).
With Penn State not in attendance at last weekend's West Point Open, Temple placed first among collegiate participants at the annual invitational, marking the first time a team other than the Nittany Lions claimed the title in 10 years. Senior Luke Vexler gave the Owls' top performance, earning a second place tie in the parallel bars and a fourth place finish in the all-around. Tyler Croteau won EIGL Rookie of the Week honors for placing fifth in the vault at the open.
Penn State has had considerable success against Temple throughout the program's storied history, amassing a 71-11 all-time series record. A year ago, the Nittany Lions downed Temple twice, claiming wins over the Owls at the Temple Invitational (210.225-198.600) and the West Point Open (214.700-205.500). Penn State last met Temple in head-to-head dual meet competition in 2006, a 202.450-190.050 Nittany Lion victory at Rec Hall. The Nittany Lions have not lost to Owls since 1995, a stretch of 21 consecutive wins.
Fans can follow all of the action of the Penn State-Temple dual on the Internet with live scoring updates or with live video through a webcast from Rec Hall. Click on the "gametrack PSU" link on the official website of Nittany Lion athletics, www.GoPSUsports.com, to gain access.
The Nittany Lions remain at home next weekend and return to conference competition, as No. 7 Minnesota will travel to University Park for a dual on Sat., Feb. 2 at Rec Hall. The meet, which will also feature the No. 12 Nittany Lion women's gymnastics squad facing West Virginia, is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. at Rec Hall.