Miguel Pineda and Vladi Klurman to Compete at 2009 Winter Cup Challenge
Feb. 4, 2009
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State freshman Miguel Pineda (Galloway, Ohio) and volunteer assistant coach Vladi Klurman will travel to Las Vegas, Nev. to compete as individuals at the prestigious 2009 Winter Cup Challenge on Thurs., Feb. 5 and Sat., Feb. 7. The Nittany Lion duo will perform against the nation's top American gymnasts with roster spots on the U.S. Men's Senior National Team at stake.
Three-time defending Winter Cup rings champion and Penn State assistant coach Kevin Tan will not compete at the event this year. The 2008 Olympic bronze medalist is recovering from shoulder surgery.
Pineda returns to the Winter Cup for a second consecutive year after placing 19th in the still rings a year ago with a score of 14.400. He has gotten off to an impressive start to his collegiate career, placing first in the rings in four of five competitions and earning two third place finishes in the pommel horse. Pineda owns two of the team's top three scores in the rings, recording a season-high 15.100 in a win over Michigan on Jan. 24 and a 14.800 versus Army (Jan. 10) and Minnesota (Jan. 24). At the 2009 Winter Cup, Pineda will compete in the all-around.
The Winter Cup Challenge consists of two days of competition. Scores from both days of competition count toward the final rankings for the all-around and individual events. The qualification round on Feb. 5 consists of two sessions, each with approximately 43 athletes, beginning at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. (ET). The top 42 gymnasts, based on the points ranking system approved by the Men's Program Committee, will advance to the finals, which begin at 8:30 p.m. ET on Feb. 7.
Seven gymnasts will be named to the U.S. Men's Senior National Team based on the national team points ranking system from the Winter Cup Challenge, and one each will be selected by the Men's Program Committee and men's national team coordinator. The six members of the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team for men's gymnastics can petition for spots, and the Men's Program Committee will name additional members to the senior national team if any Olympic positions are unused. The 15 gymnasts named to the team will comprise the U.S. Men's Senior National Team until the 2009 Visa Championships in August.
The remainder of the Nittany Lions will remain in University Park to train and prepare for their next match-up, a Sat., Feb. 14 dual meet in Champaign, Ill. against Big Ten opponent No. 4 Illinois. The key conference match-up will be broadcast by the Big Ten Network on a tape-delayed basis, airing one week later on Sat., Feb. 21 at 6 p.m.