Men's Gymnastics to Host Stanford in Dual Meet at Bryce Jordan Center
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.; February 17, 2006 - National men's gymnastics powers will square off on Sun., Feb. 19 at 5:00 p.m. when No. 8 Penn State welcomes No. 4 Stanford to the Bryce Jordan Center for a critical midseason dual meet. For the Nittany Lions, it will be their second of three home meets this season and represents their only appearance at the Bryce Jordan Center in 2006.
The Lions should be well rested and well prepared for their meet with the Cardinal, as they have not seen competitive action since late January, a span of three weeks. On the contrary, not only does Stanford have to make the lengthy coast-to-coast journey, but it will face Penn State just one day after competing against Temple, James Madison, and Springfield College at the Temple Open in Philadelphia.
While the team has been idle, assistant coach Kevin Tan has been competitively active. The former six-time All-American captured the still rings title at the prestigious 2006 Winter Cup, held in Las Vegas, Nev. on Feb. 2 and Feb. 4. Competing as a member of Team Chevron, the two-time NCAA rings champion compiled a two-day total score of 31.350 to win the event. The lone current or former Penn State gymnast to compete at the 2006 Winter Cup, Tan also placed fifth on the pommel horse and seventh on the parallel bars. Based on his outstanding performance at the Winter Cup, Kevin Tan was selected to the 2006 Men's Senior Team by USA Gymnastics. For the Fremont, Calif. native, it will mark the third year that he will compete as a member of the national squad.
In its last outing, Penn State won four of six events en route to clinching its ninth consecutive West Point Open team championship on Jan. 27 in West Point, N.Y. The Nittany Lions amassed a winning team score of 206.800, significantly outdistancing second place Army (199.500). Penn State compiled the highest team score on the pommel horse (33.950), the rings (37.100), the parallel bars (32.050), and high bar (33.950). Sophomore Tommy Ramos (Guaynabo, P.R.) led the Lions by winning titles on the rings and the parallel bars while freshman Casey Sandy (Brampton, Ont.) defended his No. 1 national ranking on the pommel horse with a first place finish.
Penn State experienced equal success one day later in the West Point Open's individual event finals. Ramos was the headliner again, winning the rings, parallel bars, and high bar titles. Sophomore Derek Helsby (Orlando Fla.) was victorious on the pommel horse, posting a season-high score of 9.150. Casey Sandy had another solid showing, earning second place finishes on the pommel horse and the high bar.
Stanford enters Sunday's dual as the No. 4 team in the country, with an average team score of 208.325. As a team, the Cardinal's top events are the vault, floor exercise, and the still rings. Individually, sophomore David Sender, who is ranked No. 2 in the nation in the floor exercise and the vault, leads Stanford. Sender recently finished fourth in the all-around at the Winter Cup, automatic qualifying for inclusion on the 2006 United States Men's Senior team. Stanford has defeated California twice in dual meets twice and topped California, Nebraska, and Washington at the Stanford Open this season.
Penn State has met Stanford on just five occasions in its history, compiling a 4-1 record. The teams last met in 15 years ago, in 1991, Stanford's lone victory over the Nittany Lions.
At the approximate midpoint of the 2006 season, Penn State maintains a prominent place in the national rankings, both as a team and individually. The Nittany Lions are ranked No. 1 in the nation on the pommel horse with a team average of 34.362, No. 5 on the rings (34.475), and No. 6 on the floor exercise (34.987) and the vault (36.125). As individuals, Casey Sandy ranks first in the pommel horse (9.170) and third in the all-around (53.100), Tommy Ramos is slotted at No. 2 on the rings with a 9.412 average, and Justin Miklos (Flemington, N.J.) is No. 6 on the pommel horse (8.530).
Fans planning to attend the Penn State-Stanford meet should enter through Gates A and B of the Bryce Jordan Center, as not all gates will be open. Also, a host of promotions are scheduled for Sunday, including:
o Fans presenting their ticket stub from Wednesday's (Feb. 15) Penn State men's basketball game versus Indiana will receive $2 off a regularly priced $5 ticket.
o Free 2006 Penn State Men's Gymnastics posters and schedule magnets will be available to fans.
o The Penn State cheerleaders will be on hand to face paint Nittany Lion paw prints.
o A jar of M&Ms will be a set up at the marketing table for fans to guess how many it contains. Whoever is closest without going over the total, wins the M&Ms! The winner will be announced near the end of the meet.
o The first 300 kids 12 and under will receive a gift pack including stickers, a paw print magnet, and a Penn State pencil.
o Lucky and JJ the Clowns will be in attendance to create balloon animals for children.
Penn State will return to the road next weekend, traveling to Columbus, Ohio to challenge No. 2 Ohio State in a dual meet. Competition between the Nittany Lions and the Buckeyes will begin at 7:00 p.m. on Sat., Feb. 25 at historic St. John Arena. One week later, Penn State will compete in its final home dual meet of the season, as the Lions will host William & Mary on Sat., March 4 at 7:00 p.m. at Rec Hall.