The daily collegian. (University Park, Pa.) 1940-current, December 10, 2010, Image 11

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    The Daily Collegian
Women gymnasts preparing
Members of the Penn State women's gymnastics team look on during
a meet last season. The Lions will open vain No. 2 Alabama on jan. 7.
Men looking to establish identity in Army openci
By Dan Norton
With three weeks ol winter
break separating No. 7 Penn State
from its first meet against No. 15
Army, head coach Randy Jepson
is concerned.
"You take a
week off in gym '• i
nasties, it's like GYYtN
season in other
sports." he said. "All the work they
do can go down the drain if they
don’t stay at it."
The Nittany Lions are expected
to check into their home gyms to
stay physically fit during their
brief time off. Practice resumes
Dec. 27, leaving them some time
to shake off any rust picked up
over break.
But the rust may span further
back than that.
The last time many of the gym
nasts competed was at the NCAA
championships last year. Senior
Warren Yang and sophomore
Felix Arnovich are exceptions,
competing over the summer at the
Canadian National
Championships and the World
from The Daily Collegian Staff
“The roots of education are bitter, but the fruit is sweet."
"I'm not going to jeopardize our season
because someone didn't do their job.”
('hamnionshio' 'vsneetiveiv
Ar:.iv Sii
'ir annual
matchups b< an hi 21m. the Lions
hav;• never ima t> me Black
"Wo usum:; dm; have a lot of
irouble agmnM them" junior
Mistid Hned:. •-aid ' I i s more just
getting into uv minci.'el of going
!ueri r it am and getting
tile lea in pride yima.'
The openii
>i*ft of any team's
season doe-siri hold much infiir
ence over its standing in the con
ference. The biggest meets for
Penn Slate will be against Big Ten
rivals. However, gymnastics is a
sport iought on two fronts for
the gymnast and for the team
and {his is the biggest opportunity
for freshmen to prove themselves.
“I know Ranch looks at putting
in a lot ot new people into the early
meets to try' and get them expert-
Ben Gasbarre
Daniel Bott
Steph Witt
Jenna Ekdahl
Penn State women’s gymnas
tics coach Jeff Thompson is
preparing to lead his team against
some familiar
foes when the
team opens its WOMEN’S
season Jan. 7at GYMNASTICS
No. 2-ranked
Thompson, in his first year as
coach of the No. 14-ranked Nittany
Lions, spent 11 seasons coaching
Auburn, Alabama’s in state and
SEC rival, and is very familiar with
the Crimson Tide program.
Thompson’s Auburn squad
started its season each of the last
two years against Alabama, just as
the Nittany Lions will do in 2011.
For the gymnasts, on the other
hand, the atmosphere and intensi
ty of the Alabama crowd will be
something new.
Thompson expects a crowd of
14,000 at Alabama, and for the sev
eral freshmen on the squad
expected to contribute, it will be
ence,” sophomore Matt Chelberg
i Vim Mate seems
For aspiring underclassmen,
the window of opportunity couldn't
be more open.
into its meet
This Saturday marks Penn
State's last intrasquad meet, and
its lineup for Army is anything but
set. After graduating several key
contributors from last season,
there are holes to fill in the floor
routine and in the vault.
Furthermore, most of the gym
nasts have been badgered by poor
dismounts of late.
Before the Lions take on anoth
er school, they'll have to take on
"They’re going to split us up
into two groups this year," Pineda
said. "It’s kind of a little more
competition in between the team."
Jepson hopes this competition
will bring out the best in his gym
nasts. By pinning them against
each other, he seeks to light a fire
By Matt Howland
Randy Jepson
men's gymnastics coach
for Alabama meet
an entirely new challenge.
“The first meet is just gonna be
a matter of handling the jitters,
handling the crowd,” Thompson
'And we’ll do our best to limit
our mistakes."
Thompson is looking to use this
first meet as a way to see who on
the team will be able to excel
under the pressure of a big meet,
as he hasn't coached any of the
gymnasts through a season yet.
"This year we have 14 kids and
they're all freshmen (to me I,"
Thompson said.
Training is intensifying with the
first meet less than a month away-,
and Thompson is happy with the
team's progress.
"We re right where we need to
be, maybe a little ahead."
Thompson said.
In practice Thursday, the team
had to hit six attempts in a row on
each of their three passes on floor
routine in order to advance, and it
was the first day that they landed
without padding on their third
underneath his team and see what
its capable of under the spotlight
He has been the team s greatest
critic throughout the offseason,
and hopes it proves him wrong.
But if the Lions' results don't
reach his expectations, he is pre
pared to act accordingly.
"The thing I worn- about is guys
coming back and really not being
in good shape and hying to go in a
meet. And w-e’re just not going to
do that." Jepson said. "Were
going to put guys in there ready.
I'm not going to jeopardize our
season because someone didn't do
their job. If they're not ready, tiny
won't compete, and we'll go with
fewer guys in the lineup."
Jepson said one ,gymnast has
mononucleosis, but declined to
specify- which one of his gymnasts
is sick. Penn State's quest to prove
that last season's losing record
was a fluke begins in less than a
Jepson may be worried about
winter break, but he can only train
them so hard. The off-time may be
"Physically, we re prepared.
Pineda said. "Mentally, we re get
ting there."
Friday, Dec. 10,2010 : 11
Partially as a result of the inten
sified training, some minor
injuries have begun to mount.
Freshman Cassidy Bogar land
ed badly on a floor routine past
last week and sustained a concus
sion, and is still out of training.
Sophomore Madison Merriam
injured her foot on balance beam
and is only able to do some work
on uneven bars as she recovers.
Thompson said he has at; idea
of which gymnasts he plans to
start on each event in the meet,
but it will depend on who is
Thompson is hoping ins tea
will be able to go in and porfot
w-ell, but most importantly, re;
to adversitv
"It's possible we cored
there and have a meet v.h
don't fall, but what's nor ~,
taut is if we do bas e a fob -
do in the next rounrw
rebound from the
Thompson said.
"Thai's what's
best indicator oi a.
gonna be this yea
Felix Aronovich pa; wo
pommel noise lost seas-