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Feb. 18, 2012
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Penn State men's gymnastics team upheld its No. 2 national ranking, edging No. 3 Illinois, 347.800-346.500, on Saturday night at Rec Hall in a marquee match-up of top Big Ten squads.
The conference dual meet was broadcast by the Big Ten Network on a tape delay basis, with the airing of the competition set for Saturday, Feb. 25 at 3 p.m.
The Nittany Lions outscored the Illini in four events as a team, winning the floor exercise (58.600), pommel horse (57.600), still rings (59.000), and vault (59.000). Junior Scott Rosenthal (Clearfield, Pa.) (still rings) and freshman Craig Hernandez (Libertyville, Ill.) (pommel horse) captured individual titles.
Rosenthal, ranked No. 1 in the nation in the still rings, recorded a score of 15.600 to win his fourth title in the event this season. For his performance, he was presented with the Gene Wettstone Award, an honor bestowed upon the most outstanding gymnast for each home meet.
After not competing last week in a road victory over Springfield College, Hernandez returned to action versus Illinois, pacing the Penn State pommel horse line-up with a first place score of 15.000. The title win was his second of the year in the event.
Junior Parker Raque (Louisville, Ky.) contributed strong efforts in the Nittany Lions' second straight regular season win over the Illini, earning three top three finishes. He finished second in the floor exercise (15.000), tied for third in the vault (14.700) with freshman teammates Tristan Duverglas (West Orange, N.J.) and Matt Felleman (Medway, Mass.), and third in the high bar, tying a career high with a score of 14.400.
Junior Felix Aronovich (Kiryat Bialik, Israel), the reigning Big Ten Co-Gymnast of the Week, competed in five events, finishing second in the pommel horse (14.400) and tied for third in the parallel bars (14.500).
Other key performances were contributed by senior Warren Yang (Nepean, Ont.), who placed second in the high bar (14.600), and junior Matt Chelberg (Athens, Ohio), who tied a season high in the vault (14.900) to also secure a second place finish.
Penn State will return to the road next weekend, visiting Columbus, Ohio for a dual meet with conference rival Ohio State on Saturday, Feb. 25. Competition is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. at the home of the Buckeyes, St. John Arena. A year ago, the Nittany Lions downed OSU in Happy Valley, 353.500-342.500.