No. 5 Men's Gymnastics Falls to No. 1 Illinois
Feb. 20, 2010
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The No. 5 Penn State men's gymnastics team won one event as a team and two individually but could not keep pace with the depth and experience of No. 1-ranked Illinois and fell, 354.600-345.950, in a clash of Big Ten rivals on Saturday evening in Rec Hall.
While Penn State has relied on its solid freshman class for standout contributions thus far in 2010, the night belonged to the Nittany Lion veterans. Leading the way was senior Nick Virbitsky (Harrisburg, Pa.), who captured the floor exercise title with a personal and team season best score of 15.450. He also placed third in the high bar, again setting an individual and team season high, registering a 14.650. Sophomore Miguel Pineda (Galloway, Ohio) placed first in the still rings for the third time this season, posting a score of 14.900.
As a team, Penn State claimed victory on the still rings, outscoring Illinois 58.550-56.250. However, inconsistency plagued the Nittany Lions again in the dual, as season high totals in the parallel bars (57.600) and high bar (57.400) were offset by a season low in the pommel horse (51.700).
Senior Noam Shaham (Kfar Saba, Israel), who has been hampered by an injury that has kept him out of recent meets, saw his most extensive action since the West Point Open on Jan. 15 and made an impact. He established a career high in the parallel bars, scoring a 14.650 to place fourth. Shaham also finished in fourth in the still rings (14.450), tying with freshman teammate Parker Raque (Louisville, Ky.).
Junior Matt Albrecht (Guelph, Ont.), who like Shaham has been slowed by injury of late, recorded a career best score of 15.050 in the floor exercise to place in a tie for fourth. He also finished in fifth in the vault (15.300) and high bar, equaling a career high (14.300).
Other key performances were turned in by freshmen Scott Rosenthal (Clearfield, Pa.) (third in still rings, 14.750) and Nick Grant (Butler, Pa.) (fourth in vault, 15.750), senior Matt Greenfield (Villanova, Pa.) (fourth in high bar, 14.350), and redshirt freshman Philip Harris (Lancaster, Pa.) (fifth in parallel bars, 14.600).
The Big Ten Network will air the Penn State-Illinois dual meet on a tape delay basis on Sat., Feb. 27 at 12 p.m.
The Nittany Lions will make their second Big Ten road trip of the season next weekend, traveling to Columbus, Ohio to face No. 6 Ohio State on Sat., Feb. 27 in a 4 p.m. dual meet at historic St. John Arena. A year ago, Penn State edged the Buckeyes 347.600-346.500 at Rec Hall, getting standout performances from the Canadian duo of Casey Sandy and Warren Yang (Nepean, Ont.). In its last visit to Columbus, in 2008, the Lions set a program record by posting a team score of 360.550.