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Beck, Dow Embody Team First Approach

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By Matt Allibone, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa- Gymnastics may be considered a sport for individuals, but ask Penn State head coach Randy Jepson what has fueled his team this season and he'll tell you it's their team first attitude.

Beck-Tony.jpegOver of the course of not just the 2013 season, but also the last four years, few have embodied that spirit quite like seniors Tony Beck and Mackenzie Dow have.

"They're all about getting it done for the team and they're not willing to take a backseat to anybody," said Jepson. "You need that kind of hunger on your team and they both have that."

For Beck and Dow, putting the team first has meant doing whatever has been asked of them whether that has meant filling in spots or letting others step in to give the Nittany Lions their best chance to win.

One of the most versatile gymnasts on the squad, Dow's ability to compete on pommel horse, parallel bars, and high bar has turned him into one of Jepson's most reliable performers.

"I've always been more team oriented because I knew that we could accomplish more as a team than I could as an individual," said Dow. "I try to do as many events as I can so that I can lead by example."

The biggest aspect of Dow's leadership is his extremely strong work ethic that often has him being one of the first men in the gym and one of the last to leave.

"Mackenzie is not only a hard worker but a guy with a lot of passion for the team," said Beck. "He's a guy we can always count on to be consistent and get the job done."  

Beck is another gymnast who has been lauded by coaches and teammates alike for his dedication, as well as his willingness to put his teammates above himself.

One of the most consistent performers in the Penn State high bar lineup, Beck has seen less time on his other events, such as the pommel horse, since an NCAA rule change has limited each team to only five performers on each event.

Despite having less mat time, Beck has not let his attitude change and has remained one of the Nittany Lions strongest leaders.

"I would like to do more events but it's all about the team and you just have to do what you can to help," said Beck. "I've been pretty consistent on high bar and that's my major contribution."

With their final season drawing to a close, the pair of seniors stated that any personal goals they could have are the last thing on their minds. At this point, all that matters to them is that the Nittany Lions cap off a year that started with an undefeated regular season by capturing a national title.

Dow-Mackenzie.jpeg"It doesn't matter whether or not I'm an All-American, said Beck. "I just want to do my job to help this team win a title. College gymnastics is about the team race and that is my main focus."

Their shared desire to put the team over themselves is not the only thing that Beck and Dow have in common.

According to Dow, the two share a similar attitude and a desire to push each other to reach their potential.

"Tony and I are a lot alike in the way we grind through stuff," said Dow. "We're both pretty stubborn and we're always pushing each other on high bar and pommel horse."

Not only does Jepson love the work ethic that the two seniors bring to the team, he appreciates the humility that the pair has shown.

"When they say they're about the team they really mean it and they want to do their best for each other," said Jepson. "They're both tough competitors and I can always count on them to gut out a big routine."

With their final chance at a national championship nearly upon them, Beck and Dow have taken the time to reflect on the camaraderie they have established with their fellow seniors, and how much they will miss it once the season is over.

"These guys have been like my brothers," said Beck. "I know I can always count on these guys and it's going to be sad to leave them."

 

--NITTANY LIONS--

By Matt Allibone, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa- The Penn State men's gymnastics team may have finished the regular season with a record of 13-0, but if you ask them, their record is 0-0.

Chelberg-Matt (2).jpegThat's because right now, only one meet matters to head coach Randy Jepson's crew, and that is the Big Ten Championships, which take place this weekend in Minneapolis.

"The way we look at it our season starts now," said senior Matt Chelberg. "Most people don't remember who won which dual meet but they will remember who won a championship."

The Nittany Lions will be extra motivated when they take the mat this weekend, as they don't want their first loss of the season to come with a conference title on the line.

A win would be extremely meaningful for Chelberg and his six senior teammates, who have yet to capture a Big Ten Championship during their time at Penn State.

"The seniors on this team have yet to win a (Big Ten) championship, so this means a lot to us," said Chelberg. "All of us had choices of where we could have gone to school and we chose to come here because we wanted to win for this university."

While the weekend will be the final opportunity for a conference championship for seniors like Chelberg, some of the Nittany Lions, including sophomore Matt Felleman, will be making their Big Ten Championship debut.


"Last year I was injured so I'm really excited to be able to help the team out this year," said Felleman. "There's going to be a lot of energy but I think I'm ready for it."

After a regular season of dual meets, the squad is looking forward to the excitement and the buzz that take place at a conference championship meet.

The key, according to Chelberg, is to not let the excitement lead to pressure, which can become overwhelming.

"There's nothing quite like Big Tens and it can get pretty intense," said Chelberg. "There's cameras in your face and the fans get really into it, you just have to keep your focus and keep plugging away."

With the competition just a day away, the biggest advice Jepson has given his gymnasts is to not change what they've been doing all year.

At this point in the season, all the Nittany Lions can do is go out and give their best effort without trying to do too much.

"There's nothing more they can do to get any better at this point," said Jepson. "Trying to change things will only make us beat ourselves but I'm confident that we're a very good team and we just have to carry that confidence into the weekend."

Although it is undeniable that the Nittany Lions are a very good team, they know that they will be facing a number of capable squads in Minneapolis.

With all seven Big Ten schools ranked in the top-10 nationally, the weekend will be somewhat of a national championship preview for Penn State.

"A win here would certainly give us a lot of confidence going into nationals," said Jepson. "There's a lot of pride at stake [at the Big Ten Championships], but no matter what happens we'll have to face them again at the NCAA Championships."

Having beaten a number of the teams, including Ohio State, Illinois, Michigan, and Minnesota, already this season, the Nittany Lions will have plenty of confidence going into the weekend.

They also will have a sense of familiarity, as their last dual meet took place at Minnesota two weeks ago.

"Staying at the same hotel and having the same drive to the gym will give us some familiarity," said Chelberg. "We'll see how big of a part it plays but every little thing helps."

Ultimately, the Nittany Lions plan on taking the mat on Friday with the goal to once again show the country why they're the top-ranked team in the nation.

For the seniors, there is no other way they'd rather go out than on top at their final Big Ten Championship.

"This is the last year for a lot of us," said Chelberg. "We're really focused and ready to top off a great career."

 

--NITTANY LIONS--

Senior Duo Spur Each Other's Efforts in Gym

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By Matt Allibone, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer


UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - When Parker Raque and Felix Aronovich came to Penn State in the fall of 2009, the two freshmen gymnasts realized that while they came from different backgrounds, they both shared the drive to reach their fullest potential.

Aronovich-Felix.jpegFour years later, Raque, who grew up in Louisville, Ky., and Aronovich, who hails from Kiryat Bialik, Israel, have solidified themselves as the backbone of a strong senior class that has led the Nittany Lions to their first undefeated regular season since 2003.

"When we recruited them we knew they had talent and we hoped that they would develop the way that they have,' said head coach Randy Jepson. "I'm pleased that they've enjoyed their time here and that they did develop just like we hoped."

Raque, who's earned All-American honors on both the floor exercise and vault in his career, was voted team captain by his teammates while Aronovich, who earned All-American nods as a junior in both the all-around and the parallel bars, represented his home country of Israel in the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.

Although neither of them could have predicted the success that they have enjoyed, both felt as though they had the talent and potential to reach the levels that they have.

"When I came here I knew I had to be more refined but I knew I had potential," said Raque. "I made a lot of progress my freshman year and that led to being an All-American as a sophomore."

For Aronovich, success at an American university had been something he thought he could achieve, though he admitted the goal of being an Olympian was not something he ever thought was possible until it actually happened.

"I definitely never thought I'd ever reach [the Olympic] level," said Aronovich. "It kind of surprised me, but it's something that I've accepted and I'm glad to have done it."

His teammates are eager to compete with him as well, as being in the gym with an Olympic athlete gives them constant motivation to improve themselves.

Even after being teammates with him for four years, Raque admitted that he still gets thrilled just watching Aronovich compete.

"He's just an incredible performer," said Raque. "No matter how difficult the routine is you can count on him to go out there and get it done."

The thrill of watching Aronovich perform still exists for not only the Olympian's teammates, but his coaching staff as well.

Raque-Parker (2).jpegAfter watching him grow from a raw, talented gymnast, to one of the team's best all around athletes, Jepson stated that the unique thing about Aronovich is the way he is able to make his routines look effortless while still exhibiting an incredibly strong work ethic.

"He's a very artistic gymnast who moves very fluidly and does beautiful gymnastics," said Jepson. "But more importantly he's an uncompromising hard worker who understands how to maximize his strengths."

Something that has helped Aronovich over the course of his career is having the opportunity to work with a gymnast that exhibits the determination and leadership qualities that Raque does.

Since Aronovich routinely competes in the all-around competition, having another multi-skilled gymnast who can push him both as a competitor and a leader has really impacted his career.

"Having a guy like Parker who is always one of the last guys in the gym with me is really important," said Aronovich. "He helps me get through all six of my events and it's really helpful."

Raque was named team captain in the offseason after his teammates selected him for the honor, but that does not mean that his coach wasn't fully behind the decision.

"Parker is very steady and very organized," said Jepson. "He's been a great example of how having a great work ethic translates to great results."

At this point in the season, both Raque and Aronovich are having difficulty accepting that the journey they began four years ago will soon be at an end.

Despite the nostalgia, they are not ready to stop working, as they know anything less than a national championship will be a disappointment.

"I told the team at the beginning of the year, all that matters is that we can win at the end of the season," said Raque. "That goal has not changed and we're striving for it every day."

No matter how this season does end for the Nittany Lions, it is obvious they will miss having the pair of Raque and Aronovich around in the future.

"They've really set the bar high both athletically and academically," said Jepson. "They've both done a great job with how they've conducted themselves, but they're not done yet."

 

--NITTANY LIONS--

Undefeated Lions Takes It One Meet at a Time

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By Matt Allibone, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa- At the beginning of the 2013 season, Penn State men's gymnastics head coach Randy Jepson decided on a new method to motivate his team.

Jepson-Randy.jpegWhile Jepson knew that his squad possessed the talent and work ethic to compete for a National Championship, he felt as if they had to learn how to win, so he decided that each week he would focus on a different aspect of what makes someone a champion.

"I wanted to start outlining some things that you see in winners," said Jepson. "One of the biggest ones is to know and respect your opponent and to not take anybody lightly."

The Nittany Lions have kept this mantra in mind all year, and so far have seen it pay off with an unblemished record heading into their dual meet finale at Minnesota this Saturday (March 23).

Although the team is undeniably proud of their perfect 12-0 record, they have continued to maintain that they are taking the season one meet at a time.

"Coach [Jepson] has stressed to us all year that a champion doesn't look past anyone and never takes anything for granted," said freshman Trevor Howard. "Everything we do we break down to one meet at a time and then one event at a time."

Their success thus far, which has resulted in a No. 1 national ranking, has not come as a surprise to the squad.

Coming off a third place finish at last year's NCAA Championships and with seven returning All-Americans, the Nittany Lions knew they had the talent to compete with any team in the nation, according to senior captain Parker Raque.

"I knew going into the preseason that we had a lot of talent on our team," said Raque. "We just had to compete and as we've done that we've gotten better all year."

An undefeated season would be a remarkable accomplishment for this group of gymnasts, as the team has not seen such a feat since 2003.

Though the Nittany Lions admit that they have thought about what a perfect season would mean to the program, they are refusing to keep their focus on it.

"It's pretty far in the back of our minds, to be honest," said senior Scott Rosenthal. "It's been a while since we've had an undefeated season, but at the same time the only meets we're really concerned about are the Big Ten and NCAA Championships."

With the prospect of going into the postseason as the top ranked team in the country without a loss on their record a very real possibility, the Nittany Lions know they will have to be at the top of their game going forward, as the rest of the teams in the country will be extra motivated to knock them off.

Despite the added pressure of having a bulls-eye on their backs, the team has maintained that their mindset has not wavered.

"[Being undefeated] doesn't mean anything because every team is going to treat the NCAA Championships the same," said Raque. "They're all want to contend for the title no matter who qualifies for the championships and we're going to do so, as well."

In order to keep his team from getting ahead of themselves, Jepson has continued to preach the importance of staying hungry while training in the gym.

"Something coach always tells us is to train like you're in second place but compete like you're in first," said Rosenthal. "We know we need to keep working hard in the gym and that we can't let up."

For Jepson, seeing this particular group of men finish the year without a loss and with a national title under their belt would be extra special.

According to the three-time National Coach of the Year, few teams in his 22 years at Penn State have exhibited the dedication and perseverance that his group has shown.

"It means a lot to me because if you look at our lineup, we don't have that many superstars," said Jepson. "This group of guys hasn't gotten that much respect over their tenure but this year they've demonstrated that they can be a driving force."

 

--NITTANY LIONS--

By: Matt Allibone, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa- Entering the sixth and final rotation of the Penn State men's gymnastics team's dual meet against Michigan, head coach Randy Jepson refused to allow his team to relax.

Raque-Parker.jpegWhile his top ranked Nittany Lions had led the second ranked Wolverines for the duration of the meet, they began the high bar clinging to just a 364.850-359.100 lead, with the prospect of their first loss of the season just a few mistakes away.

Jepson's team responded by claiming three of the top five spots in the event to not only pull away with a 437.300-430.400 victory, but to also prove they can close out a meet in a pressure filled situation.

"Every week I give the team a principle to focus on and tonight the principle was to shut the door on their opponent," said Jepson. "Going forward we've got to be able to finish and we did that tonight."

Not only did the Nittany Lions prove they can hold a lead, they showed they can do it against a team that could ultimately be their biggest competition for both the Big Ten and NCAA titles.

Although the meet was a matchup of the two highest ranked teams in the country, the squad maintained that the pressure they felt wasn't any higher than usual.

"Even though it was against a team like Michigan it was still just a regular season meet that's ultimately not going to change where we stand heading into the postseason," said senior captain Parker Raque. "We just went out there and performed the same way we have been every weekend."

The Nittany Lions got first place finishes from junior Adrian Evans on pommel horse (14.700), freshman Alexis Torres on rings (15.350), freshman Trevor Howard on vault (15.400), senior Felix Aronovich on the parallel bars (15.200), and junior Wasef Burbar on high bar (15.300).

Torres's performance was the highlight of the night, as his rings routine resulted in the first individual title of his career while his 15.000 score on floor exercise also represented a career best for him in that event.

"I went into tonight with a lot of confidence," said Torres. "I knew that I could do the routines and that I had it as long as I hit [the routine] solid and that's what I did."

Along with validating their national ranking by defeating the highest ranked team they have faced all season, Penn State showed how well they are adapting to the new NCAA scoring change that has only been in place since their dual meet against Illinois on March 2.

Despite their initial reservations about how they would adjust to having only five gymnasts compete in each event with each score counting, the Nittany Lions have yet to let the change effect their performance.

"We're definitely getting better at [the five-up, five-count format]," said sophomore Craig Hernandez. "At first we were definitely nervous but now that we have a couple [meets] under our belt we've adjusted mentally and we know we can do it now."

While both Jepson and team are proud of the performance that they gave against the Wolverines, they know they need to keep their focus, as it certainly will not be the last time they will see Michigan this season.

"This win definitely gives us confidence but we know that Michigan is going to come back fighting at both the Big Ten Championships and the NCAA Championships," said Raque. "We can't get ahead of ourselves just because we beat them tonight."

The win was extra special for not only Raque, but also his six senior teammates, Aronovich, Tony Beck, Matt Chelberg, Mackenzie Dow, Nihir Kothar and Scott Rosenthal, as it was their last dual meet at home inside Rec Hall.

For Jepson, seeing his senior class finish their final regular season undefeated is a testament to the dedication and leadership they have shown over the course of their careers.

"They have been an incredible group," said Jepson. "The heart, attitude, and work ethic from every single guy has been outstanding, and they were rewarded with an undefeated dual meet season, which is why this group stands out."

 

--NITTANY LIONS--

VIDEO: No. 1 Men's Gymnastics Readies for No. 2 Michigan

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Prior to the Nittany Lions No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup with Big Ten rival Michigan on Saturday, March 16, head coach Randy Jepson and senior Matt Chelberg talked about the senior weekend festivities, their trip to Puerto Rico and facing the Wolverines.

Below are videos from head coach Randy Jepson and senior Matt Chelberg.






Follow GoPSUsports.com's Greg Campbell on Twitter @SID_Greg

-- NITTANY LIONS --

Confidence Keys to Burbar's Success

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By Matt Allibone, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa- Going into the 2013 gymnastics season, Penn State junior Wasef Burbar knew he had to adjust something about his approach to competition.


Burbar-Wasef.jpegAfter earning All-American honors as a freshman, Burbar had struggled to find consistency during his sophomore season and he felt his mindset was the biggest thing holding him back.

"Last year I worried too much about what could go wrong and what I might mess up," said Burbar. "It started affecting not only my performance but also my confidence."

Not wanting to hinder his development as a gymnast, the Illinois native entered training camp of his junior year with a new outlook.  His attitude was simple; relax and have fun.

So far Burbar has not only been enjoying himself, but he has also emerged as one of the Nittany Lions key performers. His presence has been felt namely on the high bar, floor exercise, and parallel bars.

The highlight of both Burbar's season and his career, thus far, came at home on Feb. 23 against Springfield College when his 16.000 score on the high bar earned him not only a school record but also the fourth highest score in NCAA history on the event.

"Once I started to relax I began to feel much more comfortable and confident," said Burbar. "I knew I had the ability to perform that well."

In order for Burbar to build up his confidence, he first had to simplify how he approached performing a routine. Instead of focusing on every aspect and worrying about what could throw him off, Burbar began to concentrate on simply hitting each exercise solid.

"I was spending too much time worrying about every little thing that I could do wrong," said Burbar. "Now I make sure I stay positive and focus on sticking the routine."

One person who never lost faith in Burbar's ability to be an elite gymnast was head coach Randy Jepson.

According to Jepson, the key to Burbar's success has been his growing belief that he can be just as good as everyone else believes he can be.

"When he came to Penn State we knew he had great potential but it took him awhile to get into a groove," said Jepson. "Now that he knows what's expected of him he's been a lot more confident and he seems more content with his performances."

Without Jepson, Burbar stated that he never would have been able to come as far as he has.

It took the reassuring words of his coach and his teammates to help the junior realize that he had the skills to accomplish his goals.

"Coach (Jepson) has been such a big help to me," said Burbar. "He's the one who has always been there for me and has continued to pick me up when I was down."

Along with becoming one of the nation's top performers on the high bar, Burbar has continued to make great strides in his other events as well.

The former All-American on the high bar displayed how far he has come as an all around gymnast in the Nittany Lions last dual meet against Illinois, when he posted career bests on floor exercise (14.700) and parallel bars (15.100).

In order to make these improvements, Burbar made an increased effort to put himself in a competition mindset while in practice and to focus more on his landings.

"We made some adjustments as a team in terms of how we practice and how we land and he caught on immediately," said Jepson. "Since then his floor scores have gone up dramatically and we really need that from him."

Moving forward, the biggest key for Burbar is to maintain the level he has reached and to keep his scores consistent.

If he can continue to perform the way he has this season then the goals he has set for both himself and his team will be much easier to attain.

"Being the top performer in the country on the high bar would be amazing but the main focus is to continue to win as a team," said Burbar. "Our goal is to be national champions."

As the Nittany Lions compete for the national title, Burbar plans to continue having fun the whole way.

"I'm a lot happier when I compete now," said Burbar. "It's a lot easier to be happy when you're doing well."

 

--NITTANY LIONS--

Consistency Key in New Gymnastics Scoring System

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By Matt Allibone, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer


UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa-   So far this season, the top ranked Penn State men's gymnastics team has met every challenge that has come their way. Starting now though, they will face a new test, one that will force not just them, but every team in the NCAA to adjust how they compete.


Raque-Parker.jpegFor the remainder of the season, the NCAA will be implementing a new scoring system  that will allow teams to have five gymnasts compete in each event instead of six, with all five scores counting.

Without being able to have their lowest score in each event dropped, the Nittany Lions know they will have to be as sharp as ever from here on out.

"We going to have to rely more on consistency now," said senior captain Parker Raque. "It definitely puts a lot more pressure on each routine."

In order to prepare themselves for the rule change, the team plans on tailoring their practices even more to the style of the meets. This means keeping the atmosphere in practice as competitive as possible and that even casual slip ups in the gym will not be accepted.

"It all starts in the gym and we like to assimilate our practices to our meets when we train," said senior Felix Aronovich. "We like to have the entire team surround a guy before they practice each routine to create a meet-like environment."

Something that both Raque and Aronovich acknowledged is the fact that each gymnast will have to rely on themselves more and not count on a teammate to make up for their mistakes.

With such a small margin for error, the Nittany Lions know that they can't allow their focus and mindset to be affected too much by the scoring change.

"We've had really good consistency all year so it's going to be really important for all the guys to just keep the same mindset," said Raque. "We just need to go out and compete and not add extra pressure to ourselves."

The other key for Penn State, according to Aronovich, is still being able to move forward if they do make a mistake, since it will be virtually impossible for any team to stay perfect for an entire meet.

"You can't go through 30 routines without someone messing up once, that's just a fact," said Aronovich. "You just have to make sure that if you do make a mistake that it doesn't happen again and stay focused on each event."

One aspect of the scoring change that has caused disappointment for the Nittany Lions is the fact that having fewer attempts will allow fewer gymnasts to compete in meets.

For head coach Randy Jepson, having to sit some very capable gymnasts is something he is not looking forward too, though he has accepted it.

"The biggest thing is that you've just taken out competitive opportunities for guys," said Jepson. "That's what these guys live and breathe for and it's tough to see that taken away."

With his team ready to accept the new challenge that the scoring change presents, Jepson stated that it's a whole new season for the Nittany Lions at this point.

"Every day is a new day and every turn counts starting now," said Jepson. "That's not news to us and we're prepared to look at it that way from here on out."

Jepson has instilled the same mindset in his student-athletes, who have done their best to look at the rule change positively.

The way they see it, this is just another opportunity to continue to improve themselves as gymnasts going forward.

"This is a new environment for us but it is the same for all the other teams as well," said Raque. "I liked the way it was in the past but this change is exciting and it should be fun."

--NITTANY LIONS--

Burbar's School Record Highlights Nittany Lions Victory

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By Matt Allibone, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa- Going into Saturday night's dual meet against Springfield, Penn State junior Wasef Burbar could feel a breakout performance from himself looming.

Burbar-Wasef.jpegHaving registered a 15.800 on the high bar in the team's previous dual meet, and having recovered from some early struggles vs. the Pride, Burbar knew his best routine of the season had yet to occur.

"Coming off of last meet I had been a little surprised at registering a 15.800," said Burbar. "That helped me realize how high I can score and how good I can be on the high bar."

Burbar emphatically proved how good on the high bar he could be with a dazzling routine that earned a school record score of 16.000 and ended up as the most memorable moment in the Nittany Lions 446.850-403.300 victory.

The announcement of the score, which now stands as the fourth highest score in NCAA history, sent the fans in Rec Hall into a frenzy and earned Burbar the adulation of his coaches and teammates.

"The feeling is indescribable to be perfectly honest," said Burbar. "I never thought I'd get a score that high and to hear it over the loudspeaker means the world for me."

The person most pleased with Burbar's performance was head coach Randy Jepson, who has been waiting for Burbar to show his potential on the high bar.

After watching him struggle to hit his routines consistently early in the season, Jepson knew it was only a matter of time before Burbar started displaying what he can truly do in a meet.

"Wasef hadn't met his own expectations and it's nice to see him confident and having fun while doing gymnastics," said Jepson. "It almost seemed he had a piano on his back his first couple of years but he's comfortable with his routines now and it's really showing."

Another Nittany Lion who continued to thrill the fans with his talent and versatility was freshmen Trevor Howard, who took the top spot in the rings, vault, and parallel bars, with his highest score coming on the rings with a 15.800.

Howard, who typically has competed in the all-around competition this season, was limited to just those three events after returning from a minor injury, yet still appeared to be on the top of his game.

"Having just come back I was kind of added to the lineup last minute," said Howard. "Being able to rock those events was definitely a confidence booster that I'm still in pretty good shape."

Senior captain Parker Raque, who competed in four of the night's six events, also had an excellent overall night.

The highlight for Raque came at the start of the meet, when he earned a season best score on the floor exercise with a 15.050 to finish first in the event.

"I feel like I've been trying to get in my zone on floor exercise all season," said Raque. "I wasn't as clean tonight as I was hoping but I had a pretty good routine to come away with the title and I'm not upset about it."

Competing against an unranked Springfield program, the Nittany Lions used Saturday night as a chance to not only see how high they could get their individuals scores, but also to show off the depth they have as a team.

A number of the team's less experienced gymnasts, including sophomore Ismael Sanabria and junior Ingvar Jochumsson, were given the chance to compete, something that Jepson believes will help the team moving forward.

"Having depth is huge for us because now we're not pounding all of our guys every weekend," said Jepson. "It gives us the chance to build confidence in all of our guys and get them developed to have success later on." 

 

--NITTANY LIONS--

VIDEO: Felix Aronovich Preview Springfield College Dul

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Senior Felix Aronovich talked with GoPSUsports.com about the No. 1 men's gymnastic team's upcoming meet with Springfield College on Feb. 23 at 7 p.m. inside Rec Hall. A native of Kiryat Bialik, Israel, Aronovich was named the College Gymnastics Association's Gymnast of the Week and talks about that honor, the team's progression and the fans inside of Rec Hall.




--NITTANY LIONS--

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