No. 4 Lions Host No. 2 Buckeyes Saturday on Senior Night
THIS WEEK: Men's Gymnastics
No.4 Penn State vs. No. 2 Ohio State
Date: Feb. 26, 2005, 7 p.m.
Double Dual with the Women¡¯s Team
Place: University Park, Pa.
Ohio State Match Notes
Saturday's Meet: Penn State remains in Happy Valley this weekend for senior night with a double dual Saturday, Feb. 26th, vs. Ohio State in Rec Hall. The meet is the Lions¡¯ second home meeting with a Big Ten team this season. Action begins at 7 p.m. and will also feature the women's team against Ohio State. The first 250 fans will receive gymnastics trading cards.
Senior Goodbyes: The NIttany Lions will honor seven seniors at Saturday¡¯s meet, including several All-Americans and academic All-Americans. Below is a short profile of each gymnast PSU will say goodbye to despite one remaining home meet vs. Japan on Tuesday, March 1.
Vargas To Compete in American Cup: Penn State¡¯s Luis Vargas will miss this weekend¡¯s meet vs. Ohio State to compete in the 2005 American Cup at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on Long Island in New York. The American Cup preliminary competition will be held on Feb. 25, with the finals beginning at 2:30 p.m. ET on Feb. 26.
Vargas, last year¡¯s NCAA all-around champion, will compete in three events at the American Cup: pommel horse, horizontal bar and parallel bars. He currently leads the collegiate ranks in the all-around and on the pommel horse in this year his last year of collegiate competition. This week¡¯s Big Ten Gymnast of the Week, he will represent his native Puerto Rico this weekend at the American Cup.
The men's line-up will feature athletes from numerous countries including the United States, Japan, Slovenia, Finland, Spain and Hungary. The new American Cup format, which features individual event finals only, allows athletes placing among the top eight on each apparatus to earn World Cup points toward qualification to the bi-annual World Cup Final.
From 1976 through 2004, the American Cup served as the most prestigious international all-around competition on the gymnastics calendar. The event launched the international careers of many world-class competitors, such as Bart Conner, Kurt Thomas, Mary Lou Retton, Peter Vidmar, Shannon Miller, Blaine Wilson, Kerri Strug and Carly Patterson.
The 2005 American Cup will be televised live on NBC Sports from 4-6 p.m. on Feb. 26.
Nittany Lion Individuals Ranked: Penn State has at least one individual ranked in the top 10 on three-out-of-six events heading into Saturday¡¯s meet. Luis Vargas is ranked first on the pommel horse (9.546), seventh on the rings (9.580), eighth on the parallel bars (9.187) as well as first in the all-around (56.412) to lead the Lions. A 2004 all-Big Ten selection, Chad Buczek (Bridgewater, Mass.) is ranked fourth on both the floor (9.444) and on the vault (9.387). Rounding out the Lions in the Top 10, team captain Steve Tobin (Cherry Hill, N.J.) ranks seventh on the floor (9.283).
Lion Individuals in the Nation¡¯s
2005 Matchups with Ranked Teams: Penn State is scheduled to meet 11 ranked opponents this season, including No. 2 Ohio State on Saturday. Having already recorded victories against Illinois, Army, Navy and Temple (currently No. 1, No. 11, No. 12 and No. 13 respectively), the Lions have proved their ranking. This past week, the Lions¡¯ upset No. 5 Michigan. This week¡¯s match has Penn State facing No. 2 Ohio State on Feb. 26 in Rec Hall. Before finishing up the regular season against No. 14 William & Mary away on March 12, the Lions will host Japan Tues., March 1, in the first international meet in 21 years.
Vargas Picks Up Second Big Ten Honor This Year: Penn State¡¯s Luis Vargas has been named this week¡¯s Big Ten Men¡¯s Gymnast of the Week, marking the second time the junior all-arounder has received the honor this season. The Puerto Rico native is the defending NCAA champion in the all-around and has continued to dominate this season as evidenced by his first-place ranking nationally on the pommel horse and in the all-around.
Vargas won the Gene Wettstone award after leading then-No. 5 Penn State to an upset victory over then-No. 4 Michigan last weekend. He took home the all-around crown as well as claiming first-place finishes in four events against the Wolverines. Vargas set a career high with a score of 9.900 on the high bar, the second-highest mark in school history. He also established personal bests on the pommel horse (9.800), rings (9.500) and vault (9.500). The defending NCAA Champion won the all-around with a 56.975, currently the highest score in the nation and his own personal best. Vargas claims his third all-time weekly laurel, as he was also honored on Feb. 2, 2005 and March 16, 2004.
NCAA All-Around Champ Looks for Repeat after Olympic Appearance: Junior Luis Vargas earned All-American honors four times last year for his performances on the pommel horse, parallel bars and high bar and in the all-around. His appearance at last year¡¯s NCAA Championships produced a career highs in each of four categories (floor, pommel horse, vault, parallel bars) as well as winning the all-around title, the first Lion to do so since Marshall Avener in 1973. Vargas, the Lions¡¯ 18th Olympian, placed 15th in the overall this past summer in Athens competing for his native Puerto Rico. As the 2005 season goes forth, Vargas has maintained his position as a strong competitor. Currently, Vargas is ranked first nationally in two events: the all-around and the pommel horse.
Next Up: In its final apperance at home this season, Penn State hosts Japan on Tues., March 1, in the Lions¡¯ first international meet in 21 years. The event is set for 7 p.m. in Rec Hall.