Nittany Lions Place Third at 2012 Big Ten Men's Gymnastics Championships
April 6, 2012
IOWA CITY, Iowa - The No. 1-ranked Penn State men's gymnastics was in the thick of a very tight race for its third conference crown heading into the last rotation of the team finals of Friday night's 2012 Big Ten Championships but could not keep pace and finished in third place. The Nittany Lions posted a team total of 350.000.
Illinois claimed its fourth straight and conference-record 27th Big Ten title with a score of 352.950 while Michigan placed second (351.850). Penn State was followed in the final standings by Minnesota (345.800), Ohio State (343.650), host Iowa (342.800), and league newcomer Nebraska (340.700).
Penn State registered the field's top score in the pommel horse (57.700) and the second highest in the still rings (61.150) and the vault (59.250). The Nittany Lions started the competition off slow, totaling a 57.100 in the floor exercise in rotation one, and struggled down the stretch in the parallel bars (57.550) and the high bar (57.250) in the final two rotations.
Junior Felix Aronovich (Kiryat Bialik, Israel) placed fourth in the all-around (86.450). He led Penn State in the parallel bars (14.750), tied for fifth in the still rings, and placed eighth in the high bar (14.550).
Freshman Craig Hernandez (Libertyville, Ill.) anchored Penn State's pommel horse line-up, dominating the competition with a score of 15.500. He was the only gymnast to score above the 15.000 plateau and outscored the nearest competitor by a mammoth margin of .6 of a point.
Junior Scott Rosenthal (Clearfield, Pa.) upheld his No. 1 national ranking in the still rings, scoring a team finals-high 15.900. He was backed by solid performances from Aronovich (15.150), redshirt sophomore Nihir Kothari (Malvern, Pa.) (15.100), and senior Miguel Pineda (Galloway, Ohio) (15.000).
Freshman Tristan Duverglas (West Orange, N.J.) headlined Penn State in the vault, scoring a 15.100. Strong efforts from junior Parker Raque (Louisville, Ky.) (14.950), junior Matt Chelberg (Athens, Ohio) (14.600), senior Warren Yang (Nepean, Ont.) (14.600), and sophomore Nestor Rodriguez (Guaynabo, P.R.) (14.500) helped the Nittany Lions to their best team score in the vault since late February.
Junior Mackenzie Dow (Cranford, N.J.) highlighted the Penn State high bar line-up, finishing tied for fourth with a score of 14.600.
With the top 10 finishers from tonight's team event advancing to Saturday's individual event finals, Penn State will have 10 different gymnasts seeking titles in each of the six events. Felix Aronovich (still rings, parallel bars, high bar) and Mackenzie Dow (pommel horse, parallel bars) will vie for titles in multiple events while Tristan Duverglas (vault), Adrian Evans (Boulder, Colo.) (pommel horse), Preston Gall (Columbus, Ohio) (parallel bars), Craig Hernandez (pommel horse), Nihir Kothari (still rings), Miguel Pineda (still rings), Scott Rosenthal (still rings), and Parker Raque (floor exercise) advanced in one event.
The individual event finals portion of the 2012 Big Ten Men's Gymnastics Championships is scheduled to begin at 8 p.m. ET on Saturday evening in Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The competition will be broadcast live by the Big Ten Network.