Nittany Lions Place Third at 2010 Big Ten Men's Gymnastics Championships
April 2, 2010
COLUMBUS, Ohio - The No. 7 Penn State men's gymnastics team didn't perform at its best on Friday evening at the team finals of the Big Ten Championships but the Nittany Lions did well enough to overtake two teams ranked above them, including host Ohio State, to place a surprising third. Penn State posted a team score of 347.300, a total just above its season average of 346.556 but below its three score average of 349.033.
Illinois claimed its conference-record 25th Big Ten title with a score of 359.700 while Michigan took a close second (358.150). Penn State was followed in the final standings by Ohio State (346.950), Minnesota (346.500), and Iowa (337.800).
Penn State tied a season-high in the still rings, totaling a 59.550, and posted totals above its season average in the parallel bars (56.600) and high bar (57.700) but had its struggles in the floor exercise (58.800), pommel horse (53.450), and vault (61.700).
Freshman Scott Rosenthal (Clearfield, Pa.) headlined Penn State's efforts on the still rings, finishing fifth with a score of 15.050. Sophomore Miguel Pineda (Galloway, Ohio) (T7th, 14.950), senior Noam Shaham (Kfar Saba, Israel) (10th, 14.800), and freshman Matt Chelberg (Athens, Ohio) (11th, 14.750) also contributed key routines.
For the second consecutive year, Nick Virbitsky (Harrisburg, Pa.) earned PSU's top finish in the team finals, finishing in a tie for third place in the floor exercise. His score of 15.300 was the third-best by a Nittany Lion this year.
Competing in the all-around for just the second time this year, freshman Felix Aronovich (Kiryat Bialik, Israel), placed seventh with a personal and team season best score of 84.800.
With the top 10 finishers from tonight's team event advancing to Saturday's individual event finals, Penn State will have six different gymnasts seeking titles in four events. Noam Shaham will aim for two titles (still rings, high bar) with Nick Virbitsky (floor exercise), Scott Rosenthal (still rings), Miguel Pineda (still rings), Tony Beck (Catasauqua, Pa.) (parallel bars), and Matt Albrecht (Guelph, Ont.) (high bar) advancing in one event.
The individual event finals portion of the 2010 Big Ten Men's Gymnastics Championships is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. on Saturday evening in St. John Arena. The competition will be broadcast live by the Big Ten Network.