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March 25, 2017
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – The Penn State men’s gymnastics team became one-of-seven teams in the 2017 season to notch a 420.000-or-better as it took home a 420.400-414.000 victory over Iowa in a Big Ten Conference meet Saturday, March 25 at Rec Hall.
The Nittany Lion’s 420.400 ranks fifth in the nation in the 2017 season and is a season-high for the Blue and White in its senior day competition. Head coach Randy Jepson and the rest of the Penn State squad honored its six seniors, Joseph Boyle, Franz Card, Leroy Clarke, Jr., Dominic DiFulvio, Christian McSwain and Jeremy Munn following its win over Iowa.
The Blue and White saw one season-best with a 72.350 on the pommel horse, while the team saw six individual personal-bests and four individual season-bests.
Penn State brought home four event titles with DiFulvio earning the still rings and vault victories in his final event at the Rec Hall, while freshman Stephen Nedoroscik (Worcester, Mass.) grabbed the third pommel horse title of his career, while Clarke tied with Nedoroscik for the title. Finally, Wyatt Tyndall (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan) garnered the parallel bars title for the Blue and White.
"Still didn’t quite finish the meet the way we should have; but, we only had one missed routine,” noted Jepson. “The guys are performing at near championship percentage, that’s what we’re looking for. Their execution was great and when you do that, good things happen."
Penn State came out strong in its first rotation, putting up a 70.500 which is good for second in the 2017 season to take the early 70.500-69.150 lead over the Hawkeyes. Andrew Herrador of Iowa led the field with a 14.400 but Chris Sands (Lancaster, Pa.) earned the second-place finish with a personal-best 14.250 on the floor. McSwain and Tyndall tied for fourth overall with matching 14.150s and DiFulvio placed sixth with a 14.000.
The Nittany Lions extended their lead on Iowa in the second rotation notching a season-high 72.350 behind a win from Nedoroscik and Clarke. The win on the pommel horse marks the fourth for Clarke and the third for Nedoroscik. Coates helped the Blue and White swipe the podium finishes with a 14.550 in the event and Favian Valdez (Kearny, N.J.) came in fifth overall with a personal-best 14.350.
Penn State increased its lead 212.100-208.500 after three complete rotations behind a 14.750 and win from DiFulvio. The still rings victory marks the fourth-straight week in which the senior has won the event and the seventh time in 12 outings. Clarke and Sands earned their second podium finishes of the day, tying for third overall with identical 14.500s to help extend the Blue and White lead after three rotations at Rec Hall.
The Nittany Lions top performances continued into the fourth rotation as its 71.200 ranked second in the 2017 season and DiFulvio nabbed his second-straight title of the day with a 14.450 on the vault. The Marietta, N.Y. native has won the vault four times in the 2017 season for the Nittany Lions, while freshman Sam Zakutney (Ottawa, Ontario) earned the third-place finish with a 14.350. The Blue and White extended its lead to almost a full six points, 283.300-277.300 with two rotations to go at Rec Hall.
Tyndall led the Blue and White on the parallel bars with a season-best 14.550 and his second victory of the 2017 campaign and Clarke came in third overall with a 14.300 and his third podium finish of the day. Penn State had four of the top-five finishes as Card placed fourth and Zakutney finished fifth on the parallel bars.
Needing just a 65.000 in the final rotation to score its first 420.000 of the season, the Nittany Lions focused in and secured a 66.150 on the high bar with Tyndall finishing third for the Blue and White. Redshirt-freshman Alex Thomason (Houston, Texas) placed sixth with a career-high 13.600 to round out the top scorers for Penn State and help with its 11th victory of the season.
Penn State will take a week break before heading to Champaign, Illinois for the Big Ten Championships April 7 and 8. The Nittany Lions will compete for their fourth Big Ten title Friday, April 7 at 7 p.m. live on the Big Ten Network while the individual event finals will be held Saturday, April 8 at 7 p.m.