March 4, 2009


By Amy Farnum Novin

LEGENDARY PERFORMANCE:  Oklahoma sophomore Steven Legendre continued his stellar season with a school-record score of 16.5 on the vault as he sparked the Sooners to a dual meet win over ninth-ranked Nebraska on Feb. 28.  It was their fourth victory versus a top 10 opponent this season and third win against Nebraska this year.

The native of Port Jefferson, N.Y., claimed titles in all but one event against the Huskers, including the all-around with a score of 90.75, which was the highest among NCAA competition this season.  Legendre also won the floor exercise, rings, vault, parallel bars and high bar, and placed third on the pommel horse.  His scores on the rings (15.150) and the floor (15.800) were season-highs.

Legendre’s performance pushed Oklahoma the second-highest score in the NCAA this season, and earned him Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Gymnast of the Week honors for the second time this year.

WHAT A WEEK: Penn State’s Casey Sandy notched his fourth Big Ten Gymnast of the Week award after qualifying for the Canadian National Team, flying across the continent and returning to Pennsylvania for the Nittany Lions’ win over Ohio State last weekend.

The senior from Brampton, Ontario, won the all-around at the Elite Canada 2009 in British Columbia during the week, and then competed in only three events against Buckeyes on Feb. 28 following the long flight.  Sandy placed first on all three events, winning the pommel horse (14.800), parallel bars (15.050) and high bar (14.500).  His score on the parallel bars was a season-high and team-high for 2009.

Sandy, a seven-time All-American and the top-ranked gymnast in the all-around, now has 25 event victories on season.
SETTING THE STAGE:  All eyes will be on Minneapolis this weekend in men’s collegiate gymnastics as four of the nation’s top 10 teams come together at the University of Minnesota on March 7.

The No. 7 Gophers will host top-ranked Stanford, No. 2 Oklahoma and No. 9 Nebraska, giving gymnastics fans a small preview of the 2009 NCAA Championships that will be held on campus at the Sports Pavilion on April 16-18.

“We are looking for a full, six-event, great effort this week against the top two teams in college gymnastics,” said Minnesota head coach Mike Burns. “Our guys are ready to take on these giants of the gymnastics world and I believe we have a shot at being David to their Goliath. I’m looking forward to a super meet out of our guys and I know our visitors will be ready for action as well. I know one thing for sure – this is going to be a real treat for our spectators.”

Stanford is coming off its best score of the season in a loss to the Japanese All-Stars, while Oklahoma boasts the top-ranked vault and parallel bars teams in the nation.

NOTABLE:  Iowa senior Geoff Reins notched two first-place finishes in a loss to Illinois last weekend, winning the vault and floor exercise in the meet.  The native of Buffalo Grove, Ill., scored a season-high on the vault with a 16.05, garnering Big Ten Co-Gymnast of the Week honors … William & Mary’s Andy Hunter scored the second-highest all-around score in school history with an 82.65 as he won the still rings, and registered personal-bests on the floor and vault against James Madison.  It was the first time the sophomore from Tallahassee, Fla., had competed in the all-around at the collegiate level.