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Jan. 21, 2016
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – The Penn State men’s gymnastics team picked up a 414.200-396.050 victory over Army West Point in its home-opener against Army West Point Saturday, Jan. 21 at Rec Hall.
“We had hoped to do better, said head coach Randy Jepson. “We got into warmups and had several guys who had back spasms and another one had an ankle problem, so we had to shuffle the lineup all the way through warmup. There were some surprises that way. We just weren’t as sharp as I’ve seen in the gym. Our freshmen are talented but they are a little nervous, so we just have to get past that and they will end up being good competitors. We have a lot of improvement we can make and hopefully we will get a little healthier along the way.”
All-arounder and senior captain Dominic DiFulvio (Marietta, N.Y.) notched his first all-around title of the 2017 campaign with an 82.600, while Favian Valdez (Kearny, N.J.) placed third overall in the all-around with a 79.800.
Penn State saw three season-best team scores and one tie as it put up a season-high 69.650 on the floor exercise, a 68.950 on the still rings and a 70.150 on the vault, while tying a season-best 67.300 on the high bar.
The Blue and White won five out of six events with Wyatt Tyndall (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan) taking the floor exercise, Valdez earning the pommel horse title, DiFulvio notching the still rings win and tying on the vault and Franz Card (Nashua, N.H.) taking home the parallel bars title.
The Nittany Lions scored a season-high 69.650 on the floor exercise to take the early lead over Army. The Blue and White saw two career-highs on the floor exercise with Tyndall notching a career and team-best 14.550 and winning the event. DiFulvio placed second overall on the floor exercise with a 14.150 and Christian McSwain (Jamestown, N.C.) placed third overall with a 14.050. Also scoring a career-high for Penn State was Noah Roberson (Williamsport, N.Y.) with a 13.400, while Valdez tallied a 13.500.
Penn State held onto its lead through the second rotation scoring a 68.000 as a team and extending its advantage to 137.650-130.200. Valdez picked up the win on the pommel horse with a 14.050 and Michael Burns (Baltimore, Ohio) and Leroy Clarke, Jr. (Maplewood, N.J.) rounded out the top three with a 14.000 and 13.600, respectively.
Moving into still rings, Penn State notched its second season-high team score with a 68.950, led by DiFulvio with a 14.650 and a first-place finish. In his first career performance, freshman Isaac Hammett (Sacramento, Calif.) came in second for the Nittany Lions and second overall with a 13.900. Burns continued to impress with a 13.700 on the still rings, placing third overall and Chris Sands (Lancaster, Pa.) rounded out the top four for Penn State with a 13.600.
With a six-point lead after three rotations, 206.600-200.500, Penn State earned a season-best 70.150 on the vault. DiFulvio notched his second top-three finish of the day, tying for first overall with a 14.450. Freshman Brayden Borromeo (Littlestown, Pa.), Tyndall and Valdez tied for fourth overall with matching 14.050s.
Penn State saw its greatest success on the parallel bars, taking the top-six spots with Card earning his first title of the season with a 14.400. Clarke and Tyndall tied for second overall with matching 14.100s, while Burns earned the fourth-place spot with a 13.850.
Army had a successful high bar rotation, taking the top three scores, while DiFulvio placed fourth overall after adding a stick bonus for a 13.700. Placing fifth overall with a 13.450 was freshman Sam Zakutney (Ottawa, Ontario) and Burns rounded out the top three for Penn State with a 13.400.
The Nittany Lions will be back in action Saturday, Jan. 29 when it travels to Springfield, Mass. for a 1 p.m. meet against Springfield College.