Men's Gymnastics Looks to Capture Eighth-Straight West Point Open Title This Weekend
Who: Men's Gymnastics
West Point: Round Two: The fifth-ranked Nittany Lion men's gymnastics team heads North to Army for the second time this year, this time for the West Point Open. Penn State has captured the last seven West Point Open titles, including last year's with a score of 214.625. Penn State is 3-0 this season after defeating Army in its opener at West Point and then downing Navy and Temple last weekend in Rec Hall. The Lions took a moment to celebrate their 2004 national championship before last weekend's meet, and now focus on the task at hand- defending that championship.
National Top 10 Rankings: The defending national champions, Penn State is an outstanding team once again this year with substantial contributions from many members who rank in the top 10 nationally for individual events. Senior captain Steve Tobin (Cherry Hill, N.J.), is ranked third nationally in the floor exercise and is tied for fourth in the vault. Returning NCAA all-around champion Luis Vargas (Rio Piedros, Puerto Rico) is ranked second nationally in the pommel horse and fifth in the all-around, while freshman Tommy Ramos (Guaynabo, Puerto Rico) is making a splash and ranks fifth on still rings two meets into his career. Sophomore Matt Bowman (Houston, Texas) rounds out the top 10 in the high bar after finishing first in the event at the Lions' opening two meets of the year.
With strong individual contributions in the first two meets, Penn State continues to sit at the top of the rankings for the floor exercise with a score of 37.300. The Nittany Lions are ranked second nationally in the vault with a score of 37.375, while they are ranked fifth in both the pommel horse and the still rings, with scores of 35.575 and 37.012, respectively. These scores put the Nittany Lions in fifth place nationally with a total team score of 216.962.
Big Ten Top 10 Rankings: The Nittany Lions are doing well in the Big Ten with many members of the team ranking in the top 10 in a number of events. Luis Vargas is in first place in the conference in the pommel horse and ranks fourth in the vault and the still rings. Steve Tobin is ranked second on the vault and third on the floor exercise. A 2004 all-Big Ten selection, Chad Buczek (Bridgewater, Mass.) ranks sixth on the vault and seventh on the floor exercise. Two of the Nittany Lions rank in the top 10 in the all-around standings; Luis Vargas ranks fourth and teammate Ludwig Kern (Annapolis, Md.) ranks eighth with total scores of 55.350 and 52.800, respectively.
Penn State continues to top the ranks in the Big Ten in the floor exercise with a score of 37.300. Also, the Nittany Lions have maintained a second-place ranking in the vault with a score of 37.375, while they are ranked third in the still rings with a score of 37.012. In the conference, the Nittany Lions rank fourth overall with a total team score of 216.962.
Next Time Out: Penn State makes its way West to Las Vegas, Nev., for the Winter Cup on Feb. 4-5. The team does not return home until Feb. 19 when it meets Michigan in the Bryce Jordan Center at 7 p.m. The meet will be a double dual with the women's team and will also be televised by WPSX at a time to be announced in the near future.
After that, don't miss senior night on Feb. 26 vs. Ohio State. That meet will also be a double dual where the Lions will honor five departing gymnasts: Steve Tobin, Ludwig "Buc" Kern, Ed Seward, Jerker Taudien and Luis Vargas.
In the home season finale, international gymnastics returns to Penn State when Japan meets the Lions in Rec Hall at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 1. For men's gymnastics ticket information, please call 863-1000 in the State College area or 1-800-833-5533 out of the State College area.
For more information on the men's gymnastics team including bios, recaps and statistics, please log on to the official website of Penn State Athletics, www.GoPSUsports.com.