Blue and White weekend is highlighted by the Blue and White Game, where in the end, essentially everybody wins and the points don’t matter. On the west side of campus at Recreation Hall, a very different sort of competition will be held to add to the already eventful weekend. This competition involves a building full of collegiate athletes with very low body fat percentages, back flips, and possibly Mark Emmert.*
If you guessed that the 2013 NCAA Men’s Gymnastics Championships are being held this weekend at Rec Hall, you’re absolutely right!
The Penn State Men’s Gymnastics Team will host 11 other qualifying teams and individual qualifiers on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday with the ultimate goal of reclaiming their first NCAA team title since 2007. Coincidentally, the NCAA Championships were held in Rec Hall that same year. The team is looking to repeat their at-home success this weekend.
Two qualifying sessions will be held on Friday at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m., where the top three teams from each session (six total teams) will make it on to the team final competition on Saturday at 7 p.m. Saturday’s competition will also determine the All-Around Champion. Sunday’s Individual Event Finals Competition at 2 p.m. will crown six champions for each individual event. Even if a team does not make it into Saturday’s team finals competition, an individual still has the opportunity to compete both Saturday and Sunday for a shot at the All-Around or Individual Event Finals.
Junior and 2012 NCAA All-American Adrian Evans describes the upcoming meet as “probably one of the craziest, most intense days in my life, outside of what I imagine my wedding day would be like.” Understandably so, since this meet simply isn’t just another competition. Evans predicts the population within Rec Hall will be a “who’s who of gymnastics royalty.” This means previous and reigning NCAA champions, famed coaches, and Olympians should be in the building. This includes London 2012 Olympic heartthrob Sam Mikulak, who will be competing for the Michigan Wolverines.
In an unexpected but probably destined interview with Mikulak, he said of the Wolverines, “The whole team is prepared, confident, and just wants to have fun.” The Michigan Men’s Gymnastics Team would like everyone to know they place a high importance on fun.
In case you don’t remember who Sam Mikulak is, here’s a little reminder.
DAYUM. Remember, he still goes to Michigan. Michigan. MICHIGAN. Ew, Michigan.
More importantly, the NCAA Championships this weekend marks the last competition for seven seniors on the Nittany Lions’ roster. As senior Scott Rosenthal explains it, “It’s kinda like getting to the end of a really good book series. The final show down. It’s really exciting but it’s also kinda sad because you know it’s gonna end.”
The Nittany Lions have only been defeated once this season at the Big Ten Conference Championships held in Minnesota earlier this month. Coming from that defeat just two weekends ago, the team is preparing with the Chumbawamba I-Get-Knocked-Down-but-I-Get-Up-Again mentality in hopes to take home some hardware this weekend.
*Note: Mark Emmert will probably not be in attendance.