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Jan. 29, 2016
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – The Penn State men’s gymnastics team picked up its eighth victory of the season and second dual victory with a 408.100-384.550 win over Springfield College Sunday, Jan. 29.
The Nittany Lions swept all six events for the first time in the 2017 campaign with senior Dominic DiFulvio (Marietta, N.Y.) and freshman Sam Zakutney (Ottawa, Ontario) earning three titles each for the Blue and White. DiFulvio picked up his first floor exercise win of the season, his third still rings title and his second vault title of his senior campaign, while Zakutney notched his first collegiate titles with wins on the parallel bars, high bar and all-around.
“Sam Zakutney had an excellent day, he won the all-around,” commented head coach Randy Jepson. “I was really happy to see him pull through and it was a great way to start off a meet. He finished strong with a beautiful parallel bars routine for a win on a really solid routine.”
Returning to his home state for the first time in his young collegiate career, freshman Stephen Nedoroscik (Worcester, Mass.) collected his first victory for Penn State, securing the win on the pommel horse.
“There is a lot of room for improvement,” noted Jepson. “We head to Illinois on Friday. It’s a short week. We have to get our act together. Hopefully guys will rebound and have a good showing out there.”
Starting on the pommel horse, Penn State posted a season-best 70.300 behind a career-high 14.500 from Nedoroscik and a 14.300 from junior Colin Coates (Emmaus, Pa.) for a second-place finish. Redshirt-senior Leroy Clarke, Jr. (Maplewood, N.J.) rounded out the top three spots with a 14.100 on the pommel horse for the Nittany Lions, while Zakutney came in fourth overall with a career-high 13.800.
In the second rotation, the Blue and White saw its second individual victory of the afternoon with DiFulvio capturing his first of three titles with a 13.800. DiFulvio was followed up by Zakutney, who placed second on the floor exercise with a career-high 13.500, while sophomore Chris Sands (Lancaster, Pa.) placed third with a 13.000 for the Nittany Lions.
Penn State continued to build on its lead in the third rotation, scoring a season-best 70.950 on the vault behind a victory from DiFulvio, who secured a 14.500 from the judges. Senior Jeremy Munn (York, Maine) and Zakutney rounded out the top three spots on the podium with a 14.300 and 14.250, respectively.
Carrying a 202.750-191.450 lead after three rotations, Penn State used its third victory from DiFulvio on the still rings to extend its lead over Springfield. DiFulvio notched a 13.850 on the rings, while freshman Isaac Hammett (Sacramento, Calif.) earned his second second-place finish in as many weeks with a 13.500.
Despite a small struggle on the high bar, Penn State earned its fifth individual victory of the day as Zakutney collected his first title as a Nittany Lion with a 13.400. Senior Franz Card (Nashua, N.H.) placed second overall with a 12.950 for the Blue and White, while Wyatt Tyndall (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan) tallied the third-place finish for Penn State.
In the final rotation of the day, the Nittany Lions scored a season-high 70.700 on the parallel bars behind a second Zakutney victory. The Ottawa, Ontario native nabbed a 14.900 for the win and was followed by a second-place finish from Clarke with a 14.600. Also scoring a 14.000-or-higher for the Nittany Lions was freshman Favian Valdez (Kearny, N.J.) with a 14.200.
Zakutney rounded out his career day with the all-around title, scoring an 82.650, while Valdez placed third in the all-around with a 78.200 for the Blue and White.
Penn State will be back in action Friday, Feb. 3 when it travels to Champaign, Ill. to open its Big Ten Conference season against the Fighting Illini of Illinois. The Nittany Lions and Illinois will take the floor starting at 7 p.m.