Helsby and Ramos Earn All-America Honors at NCAA Men¡¯s Gymnastics Championships
NORMAN, Okla.; April 8, 2006 ¨C Penn State sophomores Derek Helsby (Orlando, Fla.) and Tommy Ramos (Guaynabo, P.R.) captured All-America honors with standout individual performances Saturday evening at the event finals of the NCAA Men¡¯s Gymnastics Championships. Helsby, who gained All-America status for the first time in his career by placing third in the all-around on Friday, added honors with top eight finishes on the pommel horse, rings, and parallel bars. Ramos garnered his first two All-America honors as a Nittany Lion on the rings and parallel bars.
"We had another great effort tonight,¡± said Nittany Lion head coach Randy Jepson. ¡°It's great to have multiple All-Americans. Derek was so close to a pommel horse championship, and he couldn't have done a better routine."
After placing first in the pommel horse in the team finals on Friday evening, Derek Helsby improved upon his score but dropped two spots to finish third at Saturday¡¯s event finals competition. Helsby posted a score of 9.200, both a season and career high. On rings, Helsby bested his score from the team finals, recording a 9.387 to place sixth. He attained his third All-America honor of the night on the parallel bars. It was not his best effort of the season but his score of 8.500 secured him eighth place.
"It feels amazing to earn all-American status, especially going from none last year to four this year,¡± said Helsby. ¡°I'm really proud of my performance and my team."
Consistently one the nation¡¯s top rings competitors throughout the 2006 season, Tommy Ramos maintained that status in the event finals, placing fourth with a score of 9.450. In the parallel bar finals, Ramos performed a good set but a big step after his dismount resulted in a score of 8.825; a mark that claimed him seventh place.
"I feel really good about my performance tonight,¡± said Ramos. ¡°It was great to have my team out there supporting Derek and me. It was a tough competition, but I did what I had to do and feel good about my routine."
With the combined six All-American honors garnered by the sophomore duo of Helsby and Ramos, the Penn State men¡¯s gymnastics program now boasts 38 gymnasts that have earned 83 All-American citations (since 1980).
The 2006 NCAA Men's Gymnastics Championships will also be shown tape-delayed on ESPN2 on April 11 at 2:30 ET.
Penn State University will be the host of the 2007 NCAA Men's Gymnastics Championships, to be held April 12-14 on the University Park campus. The 2007 championships will mark the seventh time in school history that Penn State has hosted the annual competition.