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Feb. 2, 2013
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.; February 2, 2013-- It was the Big Ten opener for the No. 1 men's gymnastics team and when the dust settled the Nittany Lions claimed a 444.300-432.300 decision over No. 5 Ohio State. The Blue and White posted the top team score on five of the six events, won five of the six individual events and Trevor Howard won the all around title vs. the Buckeyes.
"I wanted to see us stay healthy and have less than four misses tonight," said Jepson, "and we were able to do that. Overall I am very pleased, but we have a lot of points that we can get back on landings. We only stuck three landings tonight and that is something we are going to have to get better at. The good news is there is a lot of room for fine tuning."
The Nittany Lions posted a season-best score right out of the game vs. the Buckeyes when they compiled a score of 74.550, behind strong efforts from freshman Trevor Howard and seniors Matt Chelberg and Parker Raque. Howard was competing on the floor for just the second time this season and boasted the top score in the event with a mark of 15.400. His mark is the highest on the team this season, while Chelberg boasted a 15.000 score for the second time in 2013. A 14.900 tally for Raque gave Penn State the top three scores in the event.
After taking the early lead on the team score, Penn State added to their lead throughout the meet, winning every team event and tying the Buckeyes on the high bar. It was the second highest team total of the season for Penn State and makes them 7-0 on the season with an average score of 444.305 through three competitions.
Craig Hernandez won his second straight pommel horse title when he tied with Ohio State's Michael Newburger atop the charts with a 15.400 score. It is the second highest score of the season for the Nittany Lions, while senior Felix Aronovich and junior Adrian Evans added 14.900 scores on the pommel.
"I was really pleased with Trevor," Jepson said. "He had only done high bar and floor one other time this season. The biggest thing I saw with Trevor tonight was that he competed on pommel horse. He didn't just participate, he competed in that routine. He has had some trouble before on the pommel horse and even though it is not a big score it is a key development for him as a gymnast."
Howard opened the meet with a win and after posting his lowest score of the afternoon on the pommel horse, shined on the still rings to win the second of his third individual titles. He boasted the top score of 15.100 and was followed by junior Nestor Rodriguez (15.000) and Aronovich (14.950) to sweep the top three spots in the event. The rookie then finished fifth on the vault (14.900), won the parallel bars (15.350) and finished eighth on the high bar (14.200). He trailed in the all around entering the parallel bars, but outscored his lone opponent, Ohio State's Jake Martin, on the final two events to earn his second all around title of the season.
The all around competition finished with Howard posting a total score of 88.250 and Martin ending the night with a total of 88.000.
Sophomore Tristan Duverglas won the fifth of the Nittany Lions' individual titles when he topped the field on the vault with a score of 15.150. It was the second vault title that Duverglas has won this season, claiming the top spot on the podium two weekends ago at the Navy Open.
A selected group of Nittany Lion competitors will head to Las Vegas, Nev. to compete in the Winter Cup on Thurs., Feb. 7 and Sat., Feb. 9.