No. 8 Men's Gymnastics to Clash with West Coast Power No. 3 Cal on Senior Night
March 12, 2009
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The No. 8 Penn State men's gymnastics team will compete in its final home meet of the 2009 season when it hosts west coast powerhouse No. 3 Cal at 7 p.m. on Saturday evening in Rec Hall. For seniors Casey Sandy (Brampton, Ont.), Josh Borromeo (Littlestown, Pa.), and Shaun Antonio (Rio Rancho, N.M.) it will be their final home appearance in a Nittany Lion uniform. The trio will be honored in a special ceremony following the meet.
Penn State is coming off a busy weekend, gaining a decisive dual meet win over Temple on Friday in Philadelphia and commanding tri-meet victories over William & Mary and Navy on Sunday in Williamsburg, Va. Versus Temple, freshman Miguel Pineda (Galloway, Ohio) starred for Penn State, capturing his first career all-around title (85.300). He won the still rings (14.850) and finished in third place in the pommel horse (13.900) and the parallel bars (tie, 14.200). Seeing action in just three events, Casey Sandy finished first in the pommel horse (14.500) and second in the still rings (14.600), and parallel bars (14.600).
Against William & Mary and Navy, Competing without Casey Sandy, the Nittany Lions posted its second highest team score of the season, a 347.850. Junior Allen Harris (Lancaster, Pa.) led Penn State, setting a team season high (15.450) in winning his second consecutive floor exercise title and tied a personal season best in taking first in the vault (15.700). Miguel Pineda added another achievement to his successful rookie campaign, capturing his sixth still rings title of the year with a score of 15.050. He also placed third in the parallel bars (tie, 14.200), fourth in the vault (15.300) and high bar (14.500), and fifth in the pommel horse (14.050) en route to second place showing in the all-around with a personal season high score of 86.750. For his combined efforts over the weekend, Pineda earned his first career Big Ten Gymnast of the Week honor.
With the postseason looming just few weeks away, Penn State will aim to improve and solidify its position in the team and individual national rankings in its final two meets. In the latest rankings, the Nittany Lions continue to maintain a prominent position. As a team, PSU is ranked among the top nine in the nation in each event and hold the No. 4 spot in the vault (62.700) and in the high bar (58.050). Individually, seven different Nittany Lions hold 14 top 20 national rankings, led by Casey Sandy who is ranked in the top seven in four of six events and is the nation's No. 2 all-arounder.
Cal, which boasts a three score average of 355.350, is considered one of the top contenders for the 2009 national title. The Golden Bears, as a team, are nationally ranked no lower than No. 5 in five of six events, particularly excelling in the pommel horse (No. 2, 58.150), parallel bars (No. 2, 58.833), and high bar (No. 2, 58.800). Individually, Cal is led by freshman Glen Ishino, the sibling duo of Kyle and Kyson Bunthuwong, and fifth-year senior Kyle Brady. Ishino is the nation's No. 4-ranked all-arounder and is rated at No. 2 in the pommel horse. Kyson Bunthuwong, a senior and two time All-American in the parallel bars, will be one of the leading candidates for the Nissen-Emery Award, while Kyle, a sophomore, is the Golden Bears' best high bar performer. Brady is nationally ranked in the still rings (No. 10, 15.017) and the parallel bars (No. 15, 14.633).
Remarkably, throughout the program's long and storied history, Penn State has faced Cal on just three occasions during the regular season and never in University Park. The Nittany Lions defeated the Golden Bears in their first meeting in 1999 at the Santa Barbara Invitational, but Cal has taken the last two match-ups in 2006 and 2008, both in Berkeley. The scheduled meeting between the two teams in Happy Valley in 2007 was forced to be cancelled due to a freak snowstorm that hit central Pennsylvania.
Fans can follow all of the action of the Penn State-Cal dual on the Internet with live scoring updates or with a live video webcast from Rec Hall. Find links on the official website of Nittany Lion athletics, www.GoPSUsports.com.
The Nittany Lions will wrap up the 2009 regular season with an opportunity to measure themselves against one of the top teams in the nation when they face defending national champion and No. 2-ranked Oklahoma on Sat., March 21 in Norman, Okla. The dual is scheduled for an 8 p.m. ET start at the Sooners' Howard McCasland Fieldhouse. A year ago, Oklahoma escaped Happy Valley with a narrow 357.850-356.650 win. Casey Sandy led Penn State with wins in the pommel horse, vault, high bar, and all-around. The Lions hold a 2-11 record in all-time meetings with the Sooners.