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Feb. 11, 2017
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – The Penn State men’s gymnastics team suffered its second-straight Big Ten Conference loss as it fell to the Buckeyes of Ohio State University, 419.150-417.750, Saturday, Feb. 11 at Rec Hall.
Despite the loss, the Blue and White posted a season-best 417.750 and notched two season-high scores. The Nittany Lions first posted a season-high 71.300 on the pommel horse and capped off the day with a season-best 68.000 on the high bar.
Freshman Sam Zakutney (Ottawa, Ontario) notched two titles for Penn State with his second parallel bars win of the season and his second all-around victory.
The Nittany Lions notched 69.000 behind a team-high 14.150 from Dominic DiFulvio (Marietta, N.Y.), which earned the senior captain a third-place overall finish. Christian McSwain (Jamestown, N.C.) also had a strong showing on the floor for the Blue and White, scoring a 13.850 and placing fourth overall, while Zakutney placed sixth overall with a career-high 13.800 on the floor.
The Blue and White came up big on the pommel horse, scoring a season-best 71.300, which was an entire point higher than its previous season-high at Springfield. Freshman Stephen Nedoroscik (Worcester, Mass.) continued to impress on the pommel horse for Penn State, tallying a career-best 14.800 and finishing second overall on the apparatus, while Leroy Clarke, Jr. (Maplewood, N.J.) placed third overall with a 14.700 on the horse. Finally, Favian Valdez (Kearny, N.J.) placed fifth overall with a 14.100 and Colin Coates (Emmaus, Pa.) came in sixth with a 14.000.
DiFulvio put up a big 14.500 on the still rings for a second-place finish, while Clarke tied a season-high 14.050 on the rings for the Blue and White for a fourth-place finish. Sophomore Chris Sands (Lancaster, Pa.) rounded out the top three for the Nittany Lions with a 14.000 and Isaac Hammett (Sacramento, Calif.) tied a career-high 13.900 on the rings.
Trailing by one heading into the fourth rotation, Penn State put up a season-high 71.050 on the vault behind a team-best 14.300 from Jeremy Munn (York, Maine), which tied a season-high for the senior gymnast and earned him a third-place finish. DiFulvio tied for fifth overall for the Nittany Lions with a 14.250, while Wyatt Tyndall (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan) placed seventh overall, tying a season-high 14.050. The season-best score on the vault was enough to give Penn State the slight 280.850-280.750 advantage over the Buckeyes.
Zakutney picked up the victory on the parallel bars for the Blue and White with a 14.750, while Franz Card (Nashua, N.H.) came in fifth overall with a 13.750 and Valdez rounded out the top three scorers for Penn State with a 13.600 and a sixth-place finish. The Nittany Lions held on to a slight lead, 349.750-348.900, heading into the sixth and final rotation of the day.
Despite posting a season-high 68.000 on the high bar, Penn State was unable to hold onto its lead in the final rotation of the evening. The Blue and White were again led by Zakutney on the high bar as he placed second with a 14.300, while Michael Burns (Baltimore, Ohio), Card and Tyndall tied for fifth overall with matching 13.600s.
Zakutney won his final title of the night as the lone competitor in the all-around with a career-high 83.150 total score.
Select gymnasts will make their way to Las Vegas, Nev. Thursday, Feb. 16 and Saturday, Feb. 18 for the Winter Cup. The Nittany Lions will compete at 10 p.m. each night.