No. 3 Men's Gymnastics Knocks Off No. 2 Illinois, 352.100-351.000
Feb. 19, 2011
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The No. 3 Penn State men's gymnastics team claimed its biggest win of the season in the face of its sternest challenge to this point of the 2011 campaign, upsetting No. 2 Illinois, 352.100-351.000, on Saturday night in Champaign, Ill. For the first time this season, the Nittany Lions failed to establish a new team season high score but were buoyed by standout performances in three events.
Penn State won the floor exercise (59.500) and the vault (63.400) but it was a dominating effort in the still rings that fueled the Nittany Lion victory. Behind a career-high and event-winning score of 15.900 by sophomore Scott Rosenthal (Clearfield, Pa.) and career-best mark of 15.500 by junior Miguel Pineda (Galloway, Ohio), PSU upheld its No. 1 national ranking the still rings by besting the Illini by more than three points (60.500-57.100).
The Nittany Lions nearly let their large lead slip away in the final two rotations with subpar showings in the parallel bars (56.000) and high bar (55.700), but sophomore Felix Aronovich (Kiryat Bialik, Israel) clinched the victory in the PSU's final performance, scoring a 14.600 in the parallel bars to place second. Aronovich also highlighted the Penn State high bar line-up, placing in a tie for first with a 14.300.
Led by a career-high score of 16.000 from sophomore Parker Raque (Louisville, Ky.), Penn State swept the top three places in the vault. Sophomore Mackenzie Dow (Cranford, N.J.) finished in second (15.900) and redshirt freshman Francisco Vazquez (San Juan, P.R.) placed third (15.800). Vazquez also tied for the runner-up spot in the pommel horse.
Raque also was the Lions' top finisher in the floor exercise, securing second with a score of 15.100. Sophomore Matt Chelberg (Athens, Ohio) placed third with a career-high mark of 15.000 while redshirt junior Warren Yang (Nepean, Ont.) came in fourth (14.900).
The Nittany Lions return to Happy Valley next weekend for their final home meet of the 2011 season, hosting No. 7 Ohio State on Sat., Feb. 26 in Rec Hall at 1 p.m. For senior Matt Albrecht (Guelph, Ont.) it will be his final home appearance in a Nittany Lion uniform. He will be honored in a special Senior Day ceremony following the meet. The conference clash will be aired by the Big Ten Network on a tape delay basis, with the airing of the competition set for Sat., March 5 at 3 p.m. The meet will also feature the No. 18 Nittany Lion women's gymnastics squad taking on the 14th-ranked Buckeyes.