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January 12, 2018
WEST POINT, N.Y. – The Penn State men’s gymnastics team captured its fifth-straight and 20th overall West Point Open title, scoring a 406.850 in the 27th Annual West Point Open at the Gross Center Friday, January 12.
Navy placed second overall with a 395.050, while Army came in third with a 380.350 and William and Mary notched a fourth-place finish with a 378.300. Springfield and Temple rounded out the meet with 369.250 and 223.050, respectively.
“We had a great night tonight; really, really solid,” said head coach Randy Jepson. “I am really proud of our team. We were about 90 percent in our hit ratio and stuck eight landings during the meet which is bonus points. The guys just looked polished. All that hard work and fine-tuning through the fall and at the beginning of the season here has shown and it was a great start for a West Point Open victory.”
The Nittany Lions earned the team win on five-of-six events, scoring a 69.200 on the floor and a 66.850 on the pommel horse. The Blue and White also captured the event victory on the still rings with a 65.600, while placing second on the vault with a 70.500. Finally, Penn State notched event wins on the parallel bars with a 67.850 and the high bar with a 66.850.
The Blue and White also swept all six event titles with victories from Sam Zakutney (vault & parallel bars), Wyatt Tyndall (floor exercise), Michael Burns (high bar), Stephen Nedoroscik (pommel horse) and Noah Roberson (still rings).
Penn State saw 10 gymnasts qualify for the event finals on Saturday evening, with both Zakutney (Ottawa, Ontario) and freshman Brennan Pantazis (Sparks, Nev.) earning final spots in the all-around. The Nittany Lions had the maximum of three student-athletes qualify on all but one event on the night, while Tyndall (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan) notched three event final nods and Burns (Baltimore, Ohio) earned two.
Three freshmen made their debut donning the Blue and White, competing on all six events. Pantazis completed the all-around, placing second overall in his first collegiate competition, while Alex Frack (Nazareth, Pa.) competed on three events and Jack Baldwin (Mexico, N.Y.) competed on one.
Nedoroscik led Penn State in its first rotation of the 2018 season, scoring a 14.800 on the pommel horse to earn the win and advance to the event finals. Coates also earned himself a place in the event finals with a 13.800 to place second in the team event. Frack was the final event final qualifier for the Blue and White on the pommel horse, scoring a 13.250 in his first collegiate appearance.
Roberson paced the Blue and White in the second rotation with a 14.200 on the still rings to secure the victory, while Burns tied for second overall with a 13.150 and Zakutney secured himself a spot in the event finals with a 13.000.
The Nittany Lions maintained their lead with a 132.450 moving into the third rotation of the night as they were set to compete on the vault. The Blue and White saw two individuals qualify for the event finals with Zakutney taking the event win and notching a team-best 14.450. Sophomore Brayden Borromeo (Littlestown, Pa.) followed Zakutney, breaking the 14.000 barrier with a 14.150 to earn himself a spot in the event finals.
Zakutney qualified for his third event final of the night and picked up his second event title with a 14.400 on the parallel bars. Tyndall placed third overall on the parallel bars with a 13.550, while Pantazis picked up a 13.300, earning each a spot in the event finals.
Heading into the fifth rotation, Penn State built upon its lead carrying a 270.800 team score. Burns notched the win on the high bar with a 13.700, while Tyndall and Zakutney also qualified for the event finals with a 13.650 and a 13.600, respectively.
In the final rotation of the night, Tyndall earned the event win for the Blue and White with a 14.300 on the floor exercise. Pantazis picked up his second event finals qualification with a 14.050, while Quest Hayden (Harrisburg, Pa.) also earned a nod to the event finals on the floor exercise with a 13.950.
Zakutney and Pantazis finished off the event earning first and second-place honors in the all-around with Zakutney notching an 81.350 and Pantazis scoring a 78.800.
Penn State will see 10 gymnasts compete Saturday, January 13 for event titles on all six events. The Nittany Lions kick off the event at 7 p.m.