Nittany Lions Place Fourth at 2011 Big Ten Men's Gymnastics Championships
April 1, 2011
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Fifth-ranked Penn State was in the hunt for its third conference crown heading into the final rotation of the team finals of Friday night's 2011 Big Ten Championships but faltered in its final event, the pommel horse, and slid to fourth place. The Nittany Lions finished with a team total of 349.000.
Host Illinois claimed its third straight and conference-record 26th Big Ten title with a score of 355.550 while defending national champion Michigan placed second (352.750) and Ohio State took third (350.000). Penn State was followed in the final standings by Minnesota (344.400), and Iowa (339.300).
The Nittany Lions sat in second place with just one rotation remaining but a season low score of 52.100 in the pommel horse, an event that has been their nemesis in recent years, ended their title hopes. Highlighting Penn State's showing at the conference championships were strong efforts in the floor exercise (59.300), still rings (60.650), and vault (63.200).
Penn State upheld its status as the No. 2 team in the nation in the still rings, as the Lions topped the field by posting their third highest score of the season. Junior Miguel Pineda (Galloway, Ohio) set a career high in the event, scoring a 15.600, to place second. Sophomore Scott Rosenthal (Clearfield, Pa.), ranked No. 2 in the nation in the rings, finished in third with a score of 15.400.
Sophomore Mackenzie Dow (Cranford, N.J.) headlined the Penn State line-up in the vault, recording the team's highest score in the event this season and an individual career best (16.050) to place fifth.
Sophomore Felix Aronovich (Kiryat Bialik, Israel) was Penn State's lone all-around competitor, finishing seventh with a score of 84.400.
With the top 10 finishers from tonight's team event advancing to Saturday's individual event finals, Penn State will have 11 different gymnasts seeking titles in each of the six events. Felix Aronovich (still rings, parallel bars), Miguel Pineda (still rings, parallel bars), Matt Chelberg (Athens, Ohio) (floor exercise, still rings), Mackenzie Dow (vault, high bar), Francisco Vazquez (San Juan, P.R.) (floor exercise, vault), and Wasef Burbar (Arlington Heights, Ill.) (parallel bars, high bar) will vie for titles in two events while Warren Yang (floor exercise), Scott Rosenthal (still rings), Parker Raque (floor exercise), Adrian Evans (Boulder, Colo.) (pommel horse), and Nestor Rodriguez (Guaynabo, P.R.) (high bar) advanced in one event.
The individual event finals portion of the 2011 Big Ten Men's Gymnastics Championships is scheduled to begin at 8 p.m. ET on Saturday evening in Huff Hall. The competition will be broadcast live by the Big Ten Network.