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Jan. 19, 2013
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.; January 19, 2013-- The Penn State men's gymnastics squad took the top National ranking into the Navy Open on Saturday (Jan. 19) and put together another impressive performance to win the meet with a score of 440.90. Trevor Howard (Columbus, Ohio) and Matthew Felleman (Medway, Mass.) took the top two spots in the all-around competition, Craig Hernandez (Libertyville, Ill.) broke his own school record on the pommel horse and head coach Randy Jepson saw his team post 18 personal bests on the afternoon.
"Our guys fought hard today," said head coach Randy Jepson. "The Navy Open was a good chance for us to get some guys a few more reps and enabled our team to compete in a format we won't see again until the Big Ten Championships. This meet will definitely help us down the road and enabled our guys to get a lot of touches."
The Nittany Lions topped the field with a team score of 440.90, finishing well ahead of second place William & Mary's team point total of 409.40. Temple claimed the third spot with 407.05 points, Navy finished fourth with 398.80 points, while Springfield College was fifth with 391.15 points and Brockport rounded out the team scores with 165.75 points to finish sixth.
It was a complete effort for the Nittany Lions on the afternoon, winning five of the six individual events, taking the top team score on all six events and claiming the top two individual all-around scores. The Blue and White swept the top three individual spots on four apparatus to claim their 16th straight in-season invitational team title.
Hernandez topped his own school standard on the pommel horse when he anchored the highest scoring unit in the event with a score of 15.750. The sophomore set the school record last season at the NCAA Championships where he earned All-America honors on the apparatus, but bettered his score by five one-hundredths of a point during his routine on Saturday.
"Craig was really outstanding today," said Jepson. "He anchored our pommel (horse) lineup the way you want someone close out an event."
Howard and Felleman each got their first taste of the all around competition at the Navy Open and Jepson wasn't disappointed with their efforts. Howard, the reigning Big Ten Freshman of the Week, posted the top score of 86.150 and competed in three events for the first time on the collegiate scene. Felleman scored 84.100 in his first career all around venture and the sophomore equaled his school record on the high bar with a mark of 15.500, after setting the record last weekend vs. Army.
"Having Trevor (Howard) and Matthew (Felleman) with all around experience gives us more depth as we proceed," said Jepson "It is great preparation going into Winter Cup for both of them. Trevor has had some injuries the past couple of weeks and really did a good job of hitting his limited routine on the floor. (Trevor) has a couple of upgrades he can add to a few events. Matthew has been really strong for us to start his sophomore season and is starting to build consistency and gain confidence, which is great."
Felleman won the high bar and set a new personal standard on the pommel horse (14.100), while Howard placed second on the parallel bars (14.750), vault (15.150) and still rings (15.150).
Other winners for the Blue and White included Felix Aronovich (Kiryat Bialik, Israel), Matt Chelberg (Athens, Ohio) and Tristan Duverglas (West Orange, N.J.). Aronovich claimed the parallel bars with a score of 15.200, Chelberg was the champion on the floor for the second straight week with a 14.800 routine and Duverglas tied his career-high score on the vault with a 15.300 showing in his first competition of the year.
Mackenzie Dow (Cranford, N.J.) also had a nice afternoon in Annapolis, Md. and claimed a trio of third place finishes, which included two personal bests. The senior hit a career-best 14.800 routine on the pommel horse and a 15.300 on the high bar, while taking third with a score of 14.600 on the parallel bars.
Penn State will return home to host their first double dual meet with the women's program when they welcome Ohio State on Saturday, Feb. 2. The meet will begin at 7 p.m. inside Rec Hall.