Penn State's Tan Captures Two Big Ten Men's Gymnastics Championships, Including Three-Peat on Rings
Champaign, Ill.; March 20, 2004- Penn State senior Kevin Tan (Fremont, Calif.) had two reasons to smile Saturday night, Big Ten championships on both the still rings and the parallel bars. Tan's rings title was his third-straight, while his parallel bars title was his first. Three Lion gymnasts left the meet with conference honors, as well. In addition to Tan, sophomores Chad Buczek (Bridgewater, Mass.) and Luis Vargas (Rio Pedros, P.R.) were both named all-conference.
Tan captured the rings title with a 9.850, with the next competitor finishing with a 9.575, 0.275 points behind Tan. The senior also won the parallel bars title with an 8.950. Senior captain Duke Van Vleet (Safety Harbor, Fla.) took third on the parallel bars with an 8.900. The third-place finish was the second of his career after earning third on the high bar in 2002.
Vargas, who's all-Big Ten selection was the second of his two-year career, finished third on the high bar with a score of 9.475. Junior Steve Tobin (Cherry Hill, N.J.) rounded-out Penn State's top three event finishers, picking-up second place on the vault with a score of 9.425.
The Lions notched their most impressive showing of the night as a team on the parallel bars, capturing four of the top six spots. In addition to Tan's victory and Van Vleet's third-place showing, Buzcek finished in fifth and Vargas ended the night in sixth place in the event.
No. 4 Penn State will return to Illinois in two weeks for the NCAA championships. The Lions are looking for their first championship since 2000 and are coming off a runner-up performance at the Big Ten championships. Tan, an NCAA champion on the rings last year, is looking to defend his title in Champaign. Returning All-Americans include Tan, Vargas, Ludwig Kern (Annapolis, Md.) and Zach Roeder (Montrose, Pa.)