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Feb. 16, 2013
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.; February 17, 2013-- After a week away from team competition the No. 1 Penn State men's gymnastics team stepped right back into their familiar spot atop the team podium with a first place showing in a tri-meet against No. 11 William & Mary and No. 12 Temple. The Nittany Lions posted a team score of 446.550 to distance the field by over 25 points to claim a pair of victories inside of Pearson-McGonigle Hall on the Temple University campus.
Penn State's total of 446.550 was their second highest team score of the season, while Temple placed second with a score of 421.300 and William & Mary finished third with 417.750.
"We had a solid showing tonight," said Penn State head coach Randy Jepson. "We are still not at our best, but it was a great performance considering we were resting some of our student-athletes. We had some really outstanding individual performances and the depth of our team really got to show tonight, which was nice."
The Blue and White fell right back into team form, complementing one solid pass with another and came away with all six individual titles and senior Felix Aronovich (Kiryat Bialik, Israel) walked away as the all around champion.
"Nestor [Rodriguez] did a terrific parallel bars routine, which was a bright spot for us, and Tristan [Duverglas] did a terrific job to stick his vault. Parker [Raque] came through with a great ring routine, as well as Scott [Rosenthal] competing for the first time on rings this season. Felix [Aronovich] competed in his first all around this year and posted a really fine score."
It was Néstor Rodríguez (Guaynabo, Puerto Rico) and Wasef Burbar (Arlington Heights, Ill.) that headlined the victories for the Nittany Lions in the tri-meet, as they each worked his way to school records in their respective victories.
The high bar has been a highlight reel event for most of the season for Penn State and Burbar turned the short film into a blockbuster production on Saturday evening. Entering the night with a career-best of 15.350 on the event, Burbar flipped and flew around the bar to the tune of a 15.800 score to break the current record that was set three times already in 2013. His score was .300 better than teammates Matthew Felleman (Medway, Mass.) - who has posted the score twice this season - and Aronovich, who each had 15.500 efforts.
Rodríguez set out on the parallel bars and by the time he was finished he had compiled a higher score than any Penn State gymnast before him. The junior was pegged with a 15.800 to break the previous school standard of 15.600 set by Casey Sandy in 2008. He also claimed a third place showing on the pommel horse with a tally of 15.100 and racked up a 15.100 score to garner fifth on the still rings.
It was a busy night for Aronovich, as the senior worked his way through all six routines and claimed the all around title with a team-best score of 88.800. The won the individual title in the floor exercise with a personal best mark of 15.000, was second on the pommel horse (15.100), third on the still rings (15.300), and parallel bar (14.650), fifth on the horizontal bar (14.800) and 13th on vault (13.950).
Not to be outdone, senior Parker Raque (Louisville, Ky.) compiled the team's top score of the season on the still rings, sophomore Tristan Duverglas (West Orange, N.J.) boasted team and personal best vault score and Preston Gall (Columbus, Ohio) won his first pommel horse title of the season.
On the still rings, Raque capped his personal best performance by tallying a team-high final score of 15.800 on the event. He also placed second in the floor exercise with a score of 14.850, was third on the vault at 14.850 and claimed third on the high bar at 15.300.
Duverglas has been a steady performer on the vault since arriving on the University Park campus and won his third straight individual title in the event with a career-best showing of 15.350. That topped his vault from earlier this season at the Navy Open of 15.300. Gall was the individual champion on the pommel horse and rocked his way to the top score of 15.150.
Also on the still rings, senior Scott Rosenthal (Clearfield, Pa.) returned to action for the Nittany Lions and showed why he is the current school record holder in the event. Rosenthal compiled a score of 15.500 as he returned from injury to compete for the in his first time this season.
Penn State returns to Rec Hall for their third home meet of the season on Saturday, Feb. 23 when they host Springfield College at 7 p.m. The meet will be a double dual with the women's squad hosting Michigan State.