Men's Gymnastics Edged By Michigan in Regular Season Finale
March 14, 2014
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Despite a pair of individual titles from junior Matt Felleman (Medway, Mass.) and sophomore Alexis Torres (Catano, Puerto Rico), the No. 7 Penn State men's gymnastics team fell short in a 439.100-432.000 loss to No. 3 Michigan Friday afternoon at Cliff Keen Arena.
Felleman and Torres led the team with top performances on the rings and the high bar, but the two titles were not enough to propel the Nittany Lions to victory. While he did not earn an individual title, sophomore Trevor Howard (Columbus, Ohio) led the squad with three top-3 finishes.
Junior Craig Hernandez (Libertyville, Ill.) highlighted the first rotation with a second-place finish on the pommel horse, posting a season-high score of 15.100. Senior Preston Gall (Columbus, Ohio) followed closely behind with a third-place finish on the horse, tallying a season-high score of 14.900.
Howard closed out the Nittany Lions' opening two rotations with a second-place finish in the floor exercise registering a 15.200, marking his second highest score of the season on the floor.
Felleman and Howard tied for second on the vault, turning in a pair of 15.100 marks on the apparatus. Howard and redshirt junior Nestor Rodriguez (Guaynabo, Puerto Rico) each tallied season-high marks on the vault, as Rodriguez followed Howard with a score of 15.050. With the trio of top finishes, PSU claimed a 74.300-72.850 edge over the Wolverines on the vault to narrow the gap.
In the fourth rotation, the Nittany Lions put together a solid showing on the rings, placing three of five competitors within the top five. Torres set a career-high mark with a top score of 15.800 to claim Penn State's first individual title of the afternoon.
Howard finished second on the rings, posting a score of 15.350, while redshirt freshman Leroy Clarke (Maplewood, N.J.) recorded a season-high score of 15.300, tying him for third.
Felleman and senior Wasef Burbar (Arlington Heights, Ill.) put up the top two scores on the high bar. Felleman registered a 15.200 to take first place, while Burbar swung to a season-high score of 15.050 to finish second.
Trailing 365.750-362.000 heading into the final rotation, Penn State could not get back on top, capturing spots four through eight on the parallel bars. Clarke led the way with a fourth-place finish (14.350), while Gall rounded out the top five with a score of 14.200. Next up, Penn State will return home for a week to prepare for postseason competition.
The Nittany Lions are set to compete at the Big Ten Championship in Lincoln, Neb. Team finals are set to begin Friday, March 28, with individual finals wrapping up Saturday, March 29.