Members of No. 2 MenĄŻs Gymnastics Team to Compete at Winter Cup Challenge
Seven gymnasts will be added to the U.S. MenĄŻs Senior National Team following the Winter Cup Challenge. Three athletes will be added to the team based on the national team points system rank order, while the final four gymnasts will be selected from the Winter Cup Challenge participants and petitioned athletes by the MenĄŻs Program Committee. These seven, along with the seven members of the 2006 World Championships Team who already qualified for the team, will comprise the Senior MenĄŻs National Team until the 2007 Visa Championships in August.
The Winter Cup Challenge format 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 Thurs., Feb. 8 consists of two sessions, each with approximately 42 athletes, beginning at 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. ET. All six Nittany Lions are scheduled to participate in session two.
The top 36 gymnasts, based on the points ranking system approved by the MenĄŻs Program Committee, then will advance to the finals, which begin at 10:15 p.m. ET on Sat., Feb. 10. Fans can follow the action from the final day of the Winter Cup Challenge via a free, live Web cast at usa-gymnastics.org.
Nittany Lion team captain Matt Cohen and Derek Helsby will compete in the all-around at the Winter Cup Challenge. In the young 2007 season, Cohen has already collected three all-around titles, earning wins versus Army and at the Temple Invitational and West Point Open. Helsby has yet to compete in the all-around this year, but placed third at the National Collegiate Championships in 2006 to earn All-American honors in his sophomore season.
Vladi Klurman will test his skills on the pommel horse, rings, vault, and parallel bars. The junior has progressed into one of Penn StateĄŻs most reliable performers, particularly in the vault. Klurman won the event in last weekendĄŻs dual meet versus Michigan with a career-high score of 9.250 and placed first in the individual event finals at the West Point Open.
The freshmen duo of Nick Virbitsky and Cody Carnahan will perform at the Winter Cup in the floor exercise and the vault. Virbitsky has been a pleasant surprise through the first month of the 2007 season, winning two floor exercise titles and one vault crown. Carnahan has cracked the deep Penn State line-up just once, competing at the West Point Open.
Six-time All-American Kevin Tan returns to the Winter Cup Challenge as its defending champion on the still rings. A year ago, Tan used his standout performance at the event as a springboard to not just a spot on the U.S. MenĄŻs Senior National Team but also its captaincy. He lead the American team at the 2006 World Championships in Denmark in the fall and then went on to win a bronze medal in the still rings competition at the DTB Pokal World Cup in Stuttgart, Germany in November. Tan will compete on the pommel horse, rings, parallel bars, and high bar at the 2007 Winter Cup.
The remainder of the Nittany Lions will remain in University Park to train and prepare for their next match-up, a Sat., Feb. 17 dual meet at Rec Hall against Big Ten rival No. 5 Illinois.