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April 7, 2017
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – The Penn State men’s gymnastics team placed fourth at the 2017 Big Ten Championships, scoring a 411.200 Friday, April 7 at the State Farm Center.
Ohio State captured its second-straight Big Ten title scoring a 418.600 behind a first-place all-around finish from Sean Melton, while Illinois placed second overall with a 416.400. The Golden Gophers of Minnesota rounded out the top three with a 413.300 and Penn State came in fourth overall with its 411.200. Nebraska, Iowa and Michigan closed out the Big Ten Championships with 410.000, 402.150 and 401.250, respectively.
The Nittany Lions had six members qualify for the team finals Saturday, April 8 including: freshman Stephen Nedoroscik (pommel horse), Dominic DiFulvio (still rings), Sam Zakutney (parallel bars), Wyatt Tyndall (parallel bars and floor exercise), Franz Card (high bar) and Christian McSwain (floor exercise).
I think we did a great job tonight, it was our best meet of the year, commented head coach Randy Jepson. “We had a lot more sticks but there are still places we can get better. I am really proud of all of our guys but especially Wyatt Tyndall. He could not have done any better. He stuck every landing he had and paced the team in his effort. I am excited to head to the finals with the guys we have competing tomorrow.”
The Nittany Lions had a bye in the first rotation of the meet before kicking off the 2017 championships on the pommel horse, scoring a 67.600 behind Nedoroscik’s (Worcester, Mass.) 14.250 that tied for third overall. Following Nedoroscik was Leroy Clarke (Maplewood, N.J.), who placed 15th overall with a 13.600 in the event. Junior Colin Coates (Emmaus, Pa.) rounded out the top three for the Blue and White with a 13.500 to finish just behind Clarke in the standings.
Penn State scored a 67.600 on the still rings in its second rotation of the evening with DiFulvio tying for fourth overall with a 14.200 and Clarke tying for 16th overall with his 13.500. As a team, the Nittany Lions carried a score of 135.300 after two complete rotations, while Melton placed first on the still rings in the team finals.
The Nittany Lions scored a 70.450 on the vault in a tough field as freshman Brayden Borromeo (Littlestown, Pa.) and DiFulvio notched a team-high 14.150 and freshman Favian Valdez (Kearney, N.J.) nabbed a 14.100 on the vault. Minnesota’s Yaroslav Pochinka clinched the title with an impressive 14.900 in the event.
Moving into its fourth rotation of the night, Penn State earned a 67.850 on the parallel bars with Zakutney earning the third top-10 finish of the night for the Blue and White. Zakutney finished sixth overall in his first Big Ten Championship appearance with a 14.250, while Tyndall also qualified for the event finals on the parallel bars, tying for 10th win a 14.100.
Card became the fifth Nittany Lion to qualify for the individual event finals as he placed sixth on the high bar with a 14.050 in the final Big Ten Championships of his career. Tyndall put up another impressive routine for Penn State, scoring a 13.800 on the high bar and Clarke closed out the top three scorers for the Blue and White with a 13.700.
Sitting in fifth overall with a 341.950 and one final rotation to go, McSwain came up big for Penn State on the floor tying for fifth overall with a 14.550. Tyndall earned his second impressive performance of the day and second ticket to the individual event finals, tying for eighth overall with a 14.500. As a team, the Nittany Lions scored a 69.250 to bump them into fourth overall at the 2017 Big Ten Championships.
The 2017 men’s gymnastics Big Ten Championships conclude Saturday, Apr. 8 with the individual finals starting at 8 p.m. inside the State Farm Center. The top-10 gymnasts in each event from the team finals advance to Saturday’s individual finals with Penn State qualifying five gymnasts. The Big Ten Network will air the individual finals live starting at 8 p.m. in Champaign, Illinois.