Four Nittany Lions to Compete at the 2009 VISA Championships
Aug. 12, 2009
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State senior Matt Greenfield (Villanova, Pa.), incoming freshmen Parker Raque (Louisville, Ky.) and MacKenzie Dow (Cranford, N.J.), and former Nittany Lion Derek Helsby will compete at the 2009 VISA Championships from Aug. 12-15 at the America Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. They will vie with an impressive field consisting of the nation's top gymnasts for individual titles and for spots on the U.S. Men's Team roster for the 2009 World Championships in London.
Greenfield will perform in the floor exercise, still rings, vault, and high bar while Raque, Dow, and Helsby will compete in the all-around.
The men's senior division qualifier is scheduled for 8 p.m. ET on Wed., Aug. 12. Those gymnasts who advance will compete for the all-around and event titles at 8 p.m. ET on Fri., Aug.14. Day two of competition at the 2009 VISA Championships will be webcast live on universalsports.com and a recap of the action will be broadcast on NBC at 3 p.m. ET on Sat., Aug. 15.
In 2009, Matt Greenfield's season was slowed by an ankle injury, however, he still was able to contribute on the high bar in 12 meets, attaining three top three finishes, including his first ever title in a season-opening win over Army. Before suffering the injury, he used career-high scores to placed second in the floor exercise versus Minnesota (14.900) and second in the vault against Michigan (15.650).
Parker Raque, who attended English Station Christian Academy, trained at the junior level with Champion Gymnastics in his hometown of Louisville, Ky. He gained valuable competitive experience performing at the U.S. Men's National Qualifier in Colorado Springs, Colo. in April and at the 2008 VISA Championships in Houston.
A four-time All-American, Derek Helsby (2005-08) was instrumental in helping Penn State capture its NCAA-record 11th national championship in 2007 and a Big Ten title in 2008. The Orlando, Fla. native has also had a successful national and international gymnastics career, winning a bronze medal in the pommel horse at the 2007 World University Games and advancing to the finals of the 2007 VISA Championships. In 2008, Helsby qualified for the all-around finals at the 2008 Winter Cup Challenge.
Penn State assistant coach and 2008 U.S. Olympic bronze medalist Kevin Tan is recovering from shoulder surgery and will not compete at this year's event. He is a three-time VISA Championships title winner in the still rings.