- Coached from 1938-1976 (38 years. 2008 was JoePa’s 42nd year.)
- His teams won 9 national championships, 13 eastern crowns, 35 individual titles, and 13 Olympic competitors.
- Hosted meets with Russian, Swedish, and other world teams.
- Coached US Olympic teams in 1948, 1956, and judged for the 1952 competition.
- Originally called a sidehorse.
- Named for its apparatus – a padded horse with 2 wooden handles on the top called pommels.
- Gymnasts complete an exercise of a certain set of required move as well as optional elements.
o Did the gymnast support his weight on the pommels while doing a variety of required movements?
o Did the gymnast shift smoothly from one pommel to the other in moving around the horse?
o Did the gymnast keep his legs moving quickly without stopping over and around the horse?
o Did the gymnast make a smooth dismount without taking an extra balancing step on the landing?
- 1st national titles on the event
o Steve Greene in 1948 and Bob Lawrence in 1954
- Mark John
o Won 4 national titles from 1988-1991 on the pommel.
o 2ndperson to win an NCAA event in 4 consecutive years
o Earned a perfect 10 in 1991
o Won 3 All American Awards
- Used to be call flying rings
- 2 rings are suspended by cables about 100” off the ground
- The event requires an incredible amount of upper body strength.
- Penn State has won 8 national championships in this specific event:
o Manuel Procopio was the 1st to win a national championship in this event in 1954
o Armando Vega 1959
o Jay Werner 1959-1960
o Paul Vexler 1969
o Wayne Cowden 1990
o Adam Carton 1991
o Chris Lakeman 2001
o Kevin Tan 2003-2004
- Gymnasts are judged on how well they perform certain compulsory or required movements:
o Did the gymnast keep the rings motionless while performing the movements?
o Did the gymnast perform handstands and complete circular swings?
o Did the gymnast hold strength positions such as the iron cross, motionless for 3 seconds?
o Did the gymnast dismount with multiple somersaults or twists? Did the gymnast take an extra balancing step on the landing?
- Changed from club status behind Della Durant and Lucille Magnusson in 1964.
- Penn State hired a Finnish gymnast Tuovi Sappinen to assist in coaching.
- Coach Wettstone hosted “double dual competitions” for men’s and women’s teams to boost the exposure of the Lady Lions
- Judy Avener began coaching in 1974
o 278-87-1 in 8 seasons
o Ann Carr and Karen Schuckman won all around championships
o Ann Carr won 3 Broderick awards; 76-77, 77-78, 79-80
o Broderick Sports Awards:
- Pam Loree & Diane Drum earned 5 individual titles.
o Loree won All around title
- Penn State women’s gymnastics team won the Atlantic 10 team title in 1983
- Coaches say good vaulters are born, not made. Vaulting requires daring, speed, and strength. Courage to explode in the air and poise to execute and stick the landing.
- From 1980-2005, 13 vaulters have become All Americans
- 2 time honored All Americans are Tom Forester and Adam Carton
- Adam Carton won PSU’s 1st national championship in vault in 1991
o By winning the vault and rings, Carlton became the first PSU gymnast in 26yrs to win 2 national individual titles in a single
o Carton tied for a 2nd title the next year.
- In men’s vault, gymnasts jump from a springboard across the length of the horse.
- Gymnasts may perform a handspring, tsukahara, or roundoff entry vaults (max score 10.0)
o Did the gymnast run, jump off the springboard, and hit the vault cleanly?
o Did the gymnast soar high into the air with his body extended and toes pointed? How High?
o Did the gymnast perform twists or somersaults in mid air? How many?
o Did the gymnast stick the landing by not taking an extra balancing step?
All Around Champs
- In gymnastics, it is possible to win a national all-around championship without winning a single event by having the highest point total throughout all the events. The following lions have done so:
o Ray Sorenson 1948 (1st)
o Karl Schier 1955
o Greg Weiss 1961
o Steve Cohen 1966-1967
o Marshall Avener 1973
- From 1931-2005, 10 lions have won all-around championships.
o Most of these winners have gone on to the Olympic competition.
- Steve Cohen (66-67) tied a record set by Jean Cronstedt (53-54) and Armando Vega (57 & 59).
o Luis Vargas matched Cronstedt with back to back titles in 2004 and 2005
o Cohen won the Nissan Award in 1967 as the nation’s outstanding senior male gymnast. (pictured is Michael “Spider” Maxwell’s
award from 1987)
- Luis Vargas won 11 All American honors
- Steve Cohen
o Won the Nissan award in 1967
o Was captain of the 1968 Olympic team in Mexico City
- He finished 9th in the individual rings, and 7th in team combined exercises.
- Vaulters need speed, explosive power, and certain recklessness
- Women jump from a springboard to vault across the middle of the horse.
- Training includes running, tumbling, and trampoline drills
- Karen Schuckman-alternate on the 1972 Olympic team
o Won national All-Around in 1974
o In 1975 she won the national title in vaulting
- 1986 Pam Loree won the national vault title
- April Polito and Allison Barber – All American national champs (?) in the 1990’s
- Joanna Knox won the school record for vault score @ 9.95 in 1995
o Kate Rowland broke the record scoring a 10.0 twice in 2003
-She was also named Big Ten Gymnast of the Year twice
o Did the gymnast hit the vaulting horse with arms fully extended?
o Did the gymnast soar high into the air? How high?
o Did the gymnast perform twisting or tumbling movements in the air? Did she make any unnecessary movements?
o Did the gymnast stick the landing with no extra balancing steps?
- The bar is elevated 8ft 6in. off the ground
- The gymnasts competing in this event must perform a variety of swings, often regrasping the bar
- Modern gymnasts wear leather grips which include a special dowel (?) to help them hold on.
- Gymnasts often experience forces up to 8 times the force of gravity
- In 1954 Jean Cronstedt won PSU’s 1stnational horizontal bar title.
o In 1954 PSU dominated nationals and set NCAA records by winning 3 events and capturing 2nd straight all-around crowns
- In 1965 Mike Jacobson won the national horizontal bar title as well as all around and team championship.
- 9 Lions who competed in the horizontal bar have won All-American awards since 1980
o Kevin Tan and Louis Vargas won All-American awards 2003
- Used to be called P-Bars
- This event borrows attributes from each apparatus; strength of rings, finesse of pommel horse, & daring of high bar.
- The gymnasts are required to move smoothly above and around the bars and hold several strength positions.
- Jean Cronstedt won 2 national titles in 1953-54
o He went on to win 6 titles total and participated in the 1960 Olympics
- Gene Whelan won the national title in 1976, the same year he won the Nissan Award
- Between 1995-2005, PSU gymnasts competing in the parallel bars won 5 All American awards
- Armando Vega won 3 straight national championship crowns from 1956-1959 (?)
o During his collegiate career he won 6 total individual championships plus 2 team titles.
o He competed in the 1956 and 1964 Olympics (missed the 1960 Olympics due to injury).
o Did the gymnast support himself with his hands while doing hand stands, swings, twists, and other required movements?
o Did the gymnast hold several positions for 1 or 2 seconds to demonstrate strength?
o Did the gymnast move from one hand to the other, release evenly, and regrasp the bars during the routine?
o Did the gymnast dismount with a twist or somersault?
- Newest event in women’s gymnastics; it evolved from men’s high bar
- Routines involve swinging and suspension skills using both bars with many changes and release moves
- Ann Carr was the 1st woman ever to receive a full athletic scholarship
o She won a national all-around championship in 1977 and 1978, as well as 3 national championships in event specific areas
o She won 3 Broderick awards as the nations outstanding female gymnast
- 11 gymnasts won regional championships and 6 gymnasts won All-American honors by 2000
- PSU broke a school record of 49.325/50.000 in a 1999 meet against Florida
- In 2005 Nikki Smith, Ellen Casey, Katie McAvey, Katie Rowland, and Marie Taylor, all tied for top posting mark, 9.95
o Did the gymnast connect the movements to present a continuous performance flow?
o Did the gymnast keep her legs together, arms straight, and toes pointed during swings?
o Did the gymnast dismount with a twisting somersault movement? More than 1 revolution?
o Did the gymnast stick the landing without the need for an extra balancing step?
- The balance beam is 16ft long and 4in. wide
- This is the simplest event, making it very popular
- Gymnasts are expected to do splits, pirouettes, jumps, somersaults, and turns all on a thin wood beam within 70-90 seconds.
- Karen Schuckman was the 1st PSU All American on beam in 1974 and 1976
- Ann Carr, Joanne Beck, Lisa Ingebretsen, & Tracy Kerner all had All-American honors on the beam
- Missy Leopoldus scored a 10.0 twice in the same season in 1999.
o Following suit scoring 10.0’s were Nikki Smith in 2000 (@ the Big Ten Championships) and Katie Rowland in 2003
- Lisa Ingebretsen was a 6 time All-American, and was part of 2 national championship teams in 1978 and 1980
o She won All American twice on the balance beam in 1978 and 1979
o She shared the regional title in 1980
- The floor exercise is a combination of dance, tumbling, and acrobatics performed to music.
- Gymnasts perform compulsatory and optional movements on a mat measuring about 40sq ft.
- Gymnasts choreography required movements into a fluid routine
- In the 20th century, 4 women from Penn State have gained national titles on floor
o Karen Schuckman ’75, Ann Carr ’78, Marcy Levine ’79, & Heidi Anderson ‘81
- Marcy Levine won the national floor title in 1979 as a freshman
o She also won 2 All American honors
- In 1999 Ellen Casey scored a perfect 10.0, which is still an unbroken record as of 2005
o Did the gymnast demonstrate balance, flexibility, and strength in sitting, standing and lying positions?
o Did the gymnast stick her landings at the end of tumbling runs without having to take an extra balancing step?
o Did the gymnast remain within the marked out area and finish within the 70 to 90 second time limit?
o Did the gymnast successfully blend movement changes in harmony with the music?
o Did the gymnast demonstrate balance, flexibility, strength, and artistic flair?
o Did the gymnast perform handstands, front somersaults, and tumbling movements?
o Did the gymnast stick the landings at the end of tumbling runs without having to take an extra balancing step?
o Did the gymnast remain within the marked out area and finish within the 50-70 second time limit?