No. 5 Men's Gymnastics Finishes Regular Season with Loss to No. 6 California
BERKELEY, Calif.; March 12, 2006 - The fifth-ranked Penn State men's gymnastics team posted one of its top team scores of the 2006 season Saturday evening but it was not enough as a peak performance by No. 6 California sent the Nittany Lions to defeat by a score of 219.100-216.575. The dual meet, held at Cal's Haas Pavilion in Berkeley, Calif., was Penn State's final tune-up before postseason competition begins in two weeks, starting with the 2006 Big Ten Championships.
Senior captain Chad Buczek (Bridgewater, Mass.) led Penn State, garnering the Lions' lone two first place individual finishes for the meet. Buczek scored a career-high 9.600 in the floor exercise and a season-best 9.450 on the vault to earn the titles.
As a team, Penn State topped Cal in two events, the still rings and the vault. Its score of 36.950 in the vault represents its best effort of the 2006 season through seven meets.
Sophomore Santiago Lopez (Cibola del Mar, Mex.) contributed significantly to the vault win, capturing a tie for second place with Cal's Tim McNeill with a score of 9.300. Lopez also earned a third place finish on the floor exercise (9.350).
Derek Helsby (Orlando, Fla.) lent a strong showing to the Penn State effort, placing in the top three in three events en route to a second place finish in the all-around competition. The sophomore took second on the pommel horse (9.250) tied teammate Matt Cohen (Agoura Hills, Calif.) for second on the rings (9.550), and secured third on the high bar (9.050). Helsby's all-around score of 54.250 tied a career high established last year in a dual meet with William & Mary.
On the parallel bars, sophomore Tommy Ramos (Guaynabo, P.R.) and freshman Shaun Antonio (Rio Rancho, N.M.) finished second and third, respectively. Antonio's score of 9.075 was the best mark of his rookie campaign.
After posting scores of 9.200 in three consecutive meets on the rings, sophomore Vladi Klurman (North Miami Beach, Fla.) stepped up his performance, scoring a career-high 9.350, good enough for third place.
Penn State will spend next week training before heading to Iowa City, Iowa for the Big Ten Championships on March 24 and 25. Two weeks later, the Nittany Lions will travel to Norman, Okla. to participate in the 2006 NCAA Men's Gymnastics Championships (April 6-8).