Jan. 21, 2009


By Amy Farnum Novin

WINDY WINNER:  The University of Michigan opened the 2009 season by blowing past five other squads to capture the 39th Windy City Invitational hosted by UIC on Jan. 17.  The Wolverines won four of six events, led by sophomore Chris Cameron, who claimed his first all-around competition.

The native of Winter Haven, Fla., won individual titles with career-high scores on the pommel horse (15.100) and still rings (14.800) as he compiled an 88.100 in his first career all-around appearance.  Cameron also made his collegiate debuts on the vault and high bar at the meet.

The preseason All-Big Ten pick, who finished ninth on pommel horse at last year’s conference championships, was selected the league’s first Gymnast of the Week for the season.

Second-ranked Michigan gets back to business with the squad’s first dual meet of the season as the Wolverines travel to No. 3 Penn State for an important Big Ten match-up on Jan. 24.

NICE START:  University of California freshman Glen Ishino started his career with a bang as he captured the all-around title in his first collegiate meet for the Bears – an upset of then-No. 1 Stanford on Jan. 16.

The native of Santa Ana, Calif., posted a score of 86.200 to win the all-around competition, and took first place on the pommel horse with a score of 15.400.  Ishino also placed second on the parallel bars.  His score on the pommel horse was the best in the nation so far this season.

Ishino, who was a second-place finisher in the all-around at the 2007 Junior Olympic Nationals, was named Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Gymnast of the Week for his performance against the Cardinal. 

LIONS ROAR:  Penn State cruised to its 11th straight West Point Open championship last weekend as the Nittany Lions won all six event titles against the East Region competition of Temple, Navy, Springfield College, Army and M.I.T.

Defending NCAA all-around champion Casey Sandy won the parallel bars with a score of 14.950 in the team competition, along with second place on the pommel horse, third on the rings and fourth on the high bar.

Sandy, the 2008 Big Ten Gymnast of the Year, followed it up by claiming the pommel horse title with a 15.000 the next night.  The native of Brampton, Ontario, finally took the individual pommel horse title after earning second-place finishes in 2006 and 2007.

Penn State will try to win its first dual meet in three tries against the Wolverines after dropping the last two regular season duals.

INAUGUARAL PERFORMANCE:  Former Temple University gymnast Luke Vexler performed as a member of the acrobatic company AntiGravity at the first-ever Neighborhood Ball honoring newly inaugurated President Barack Obama on Jan. 20.
Vexler, who was a gymnast for the Owls from 2005-08, helped the squad win ECAC championships in 2007 and 2008, earning ECAC Senior of the Year in 2008. 

At the Neighborhood Ball, Vexler performance with AntiGravity Jumping Books, which are spring-loaded stilt-type books that allowed him to bounce and flip at great heights.  The event was televised live on ABC.