No. 5 Men's Gymnasts Travels to No. 12 William & Mary Sunday
No. 5 Penn State Finished Regular Season Competition with Meet at No. 12 William & Mary: The No. 4 Nittany Lion men?s gymnastics team travels to Williamsburg, Va., this Sunday, March 13, for a meet vs. the No. 12 William and Mary Tribe. The meet will be the last competition for Penn State before the Big Ten championships will be held at Ann Arbor, Mich., on March 25 and 26.
Nittany Lion Individuals Ranked: Penn State has at least one individual ranked in the top 10 in all six events and the all-around. Rankings are as of March 7. Luis Vargas is ranked first on the pommel horse (9.758), ninth on the rings (9.650), third on the high bar (9.783), second on the parallel bars (9.685) as well as first in the all-around (56.767) to lead the Lions. A 2004 all-Big Ten selection, Chad Buczek (Bridgewater, Mass.) is ranked seventh on both the floor (9.542) and in the vault (9.533). Team captain Steve Tobin (Cherry Hill, N.J.) ranks ninth on the floor (9.483) and ninth on the vault (9.450). Rounding out the Lions in the Top 10, sophomore Tommy Ramos (Guaynabo, P.R.) is ranked ninth on the high bar (9.567).
As a team, the Lions are ranked no lower then sixth in any event. Penn State is ranked highest as a team on the floor (No. 3- 37.042) and vault (No. 3- 37.367).
Lion Individuals in the Nation's Top 10 as of March 7, 2005
Penn State as a Team
Vargas Finishes Second on Parallel Bars at American Cup: While the Lions missed junior all-arounder Luis Vargas (Rio Pedros, P.R.) vs. Ohio State, Vargas didn't miss a beat at the American Cup, finishing second on the parallel bars, sixth on the high bar and seventh on the pommel horse. Last year's men's NCAA all-around champion, Vargas only competed in three events, made the finals in all three and finished no less than seventh in any of them.
Vargas scored a 9.575 on the parallel bars, finishing .012 out of first place to Japan's Kazuya Ueda. On high bar, Vargas took sixth with a 9.087, with first-place finisher Yann Cucherat of France winning with an 9.612.
Representing his native Puerto Rico, Vargas was seventh on the pommel horse with a 7.925. Winner Alexander Artemov of the United States earned a 9.362 on the apparatus.
Only a junior in eligibility, this will be Vargas' final year competing for the Lions.
The men's line-up featured 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.
2005 Matchups with Ranked Teams: Penn State is scheduled to meet 10 ranked opponents this season, including No. 14 William and Mary in its final meet of the season. The Lions have already recorded victories against Michigan, Army, Temple and Navy (currently No. 4, No. 10, No. 14 and No. 15 respectively. Now ranked by three-score average, Penn State is No. 4 his week.
Vargas Picks Up Second Big Ten Honor This Year: Penn State's Luis Vargas was named Feb. 21'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 on Feb. 19. 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' honor was his third all-time weekly laurel, as he was also honored on Feb. 2, 2005 and March 16, 2004.