Men's Gymnastics Announces 2009 Schedule
Oct. 16, 2008
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The defending Big Ten champion Penn State men's gymnastics team has released its schedule for the 2009 season. It features four home dates, meets against four Big Ten teams, and a much-anticipated head-to-head rematch with the 2008 national champions.
For the fifth consecutive year, Penn State will open the season facing Army in dual meet competition. On Sat., Jan. 10 (7 p.m.) at Rec Hall, the Nittany Lions will face the Black Knights for the 63rd time in program history. A year ago, Penn State soundly defeated Army at home, 358.500-333.600.
After a year respite, Penn State will return to West Point, N.Y. to take part in the West Point Open (Jan. 16-17). The Nittany Lions have won 10 consecutive team titles at the prestigious competition, which annually draws the top teams and performers on the east coast.
The following week, on Sat., Jan. 24 (7 p.m.), Penn State will welcome conference rival Michigan to Rec Hall for a double dual meet with the Wolverine and Nittany Lion women's teams. In 2007, Michigan handed Penn State its lone Big Ten loss, gaining a 356.950-354.300 victory in Ann Arbor.
On Sat., Jan. 31, the Nittany Lions will trek westward to Minneapolis for a rare regular season conference battle with up-and-comer Minnesota. Last season's meeting, won by Penn State by a 354.200-343.450 margin, was the teams' first head-to-head match-up since 2000.
After a select group of gymnasts travel to Las Vegas, Nev. for the annual Winter Cup Challenge (Feb. 5 & 7), the Nittany Lions will return to action in what is sure to be a hotly contested dual meet at Illinois on Sat., Feb. 14. Penn State edged the Illini (352.300-351.000) during the regular season and topped them at the Big Ten Championship, but Illinois placed just ahead of the Lions at the National Collegiate Championships.
Penn State will face its fourth and final Big Ten foe during the regular season on Sat., Feb. 28 when Ohio State invades Rec Hall. Last season, the Nittany Lions posted a season-high team score of 360.550 in a defeat of the Buckeyes in Columbus that was aired on the Big Ten Network.
On Sat., March 14, PSU will host west coast powerhouse Cal in a 7 p.m. in dual meet. Penn State will be looking to avenge a 360.400-351.300 2007 loss to the Bears. Cal's last scheduled appearance at Rec Hall was in 2007, but a freak snowstorm ruined its travel plans and forced the cancellation of the meet.
Penn State will likely face its greatest challenge of the 2009 season on March 21 when it ventures to Norman, Okla. to take on 2008 national champion Oklahoma. In a clash of collegiate gymnastics titans last season at Rec Hall, the Sooners bested the Nittany Lions, 357.850-356.650. Penn State and Oklahoma have combined to win eight of the last nine national titles.
The Nittany Lions will defend their conference crown at the 2009 Big Ten Championships, to be hosted by the University of Michigan from April 3-4 at Cliff Keen Arena in Ann Arbor, Mich. Penn State will seek the program's 13th national title at the 2009 National Collegiate Championships from April 16-18 at the University of Minnesota's Sports Pavilion in Minneapolis, Minn.
Eighteen-year head coach Randy Jepson, the 2008 CGA Central Region Coach of the Year, returns 10 letterwinners from last season's Big Ten Championship squad, including 2008 Big Ten Gymnast of the Year, defending NCAA all-around champion, and seven-time All-America honoree Casey Sandy (Brampton, Ont.).