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Feb. 24, 2018
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – In a meet that saw two lead changes and would come down to the final rotation, the Penn State men’s gymnastics team was unable to come away victorious as it fell 404.350-402.400 to the Minnesota Golden Gophers Saturday, Feb. 24 at Rec Hall.
“It was the meet where no one really seemed like they wanted to win it, not clean by either team all the way through,” stated head coach Randy Jepson. “Neither team was at full strength, but I can’t speak for Mike [Burns] on this. You want your team at this point in the season to come out and really fight with some spirit, and we had some up and downs today. So did they. They came out on top, so we just have to get better.”
The Nittany Lions saw three event victors as Chris Sands (Lancaster, Pa.) earned his first victory of the season with a 14.200 on the still rings, Joshua Smith (Baton Rouge, La.) shared the vault title with a 14.600 and Michael Burns (Baltimore, Ohio) shared the high bar title with a 13.900.
The Golden Gophers took the early lead in the meet, holding it through the first three rotations before a season-best score on the vault propelled Penn State into the lead for the next two rotations but a strong performance on the parallel bars from Minnesota would ultimately lead to its victory over the Nittany Lions.
Despite strong scores from the Nittany Lions on the floor exercise, it was the Golden Gophers who would take the early lead, earning a 68.350 on the pommel horse following a scoring change. Minnesota took the top three spots on the floor exercise and Quest Hayden (Harrisburg, Pa.) led all Penn State gymnasts with a 13.800 and a fifth-place finish. Following Hayden was Smith, who placed sixth overall with a 13.700 and Sands notched a seventh-place finish with a 13.500.
The Nittany Lions were unable to make up any ground in the second rotation as the Golden Gophers took the top three spots on the pommel horse. Senior Colin Coates (Emmaus, Pa.) led Penn State on the horse with a 13.700 and Stephen Nedoroscik (Worcester, Mass.) finished fifth overall with a 13.500.
The Blue and White started to close the gap on the Golden Gophers in the third rotation as it swept the top three spots with Sands winning his first title of the year with a 14.200 on the still rings. Noah Roberson (Williamsville, N.Y.) notched the second-place finish for the Nittany Lions with a 14.000 and Greg Tamargo (Kennett Square, Pa.) took the bronze with a 13.950.
Penn State took the lead for the first time in the meet in the fourth rotation, posting a season-best 71.050 as a team, while Smith shared the vault title with Wiskus, scoring a 14.600. Freshman Brennan Pantazis (Sparks, Nev.) also garnered a podium finish for the Blue and White, placing third overall with a career-best 14.550. Sophomore Brayden Borromeo (Littlestown, Pa.) also notched a career-best on the vault in the season-high score for the Nittany Lions with a 14.300.
The Blue and White held onto a very narrow lead through five rotations after scoring a 64.500 behind a team-best 13.500 from Pantazis, who placed fourth overall. Junior Wyatt Tyndall (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan) finished just behind Pantazis with a 13.400 to place fifth overall on the parallel bars for Penn State.
The Golden Gophers used a 67.150 on the parallel bars in the final rotation to take the meet victory from the Nittany Lions, despite Burns earning a share of the high bar title with a 13.900. Tyndall placed second for the Blue and White and fourth overall with a 13.550, while freshman Alex Frack (Nazareth, Pa.) rounded out the top three for Penn State with a 13.300.
The Nittany Lions will travel to Iowa for its fourth Big Ten Conference dual of the 2018 season Saturday, Match 3. Meet time is slated for 8 p.m. in Iowa City, Iowa.