Seven Nittany Lions Earn All-America Honors
April 21, 2012
Felix Aronovich (Kiryat Bialik, Israel), Adrian Evans (Boulder, Colo.), Craig Hernandez (Libertyville, Ill.), Nihir Kothari (Malvern, Pa.), Parker Raque (Louisville, Ky.), Nestor Rodriguez (Guaynabo, P.R.), and Scott Rosenthal (Clearfield, Pa.) earned All-America honors with top eight finishes in the individual finals of the 2012 National Collegiate Championships on Saturday night at Oklahoma's Lloyd Noble Center.
The seven Nittany Lion All-Americans is the most since the 1959 national championship team equaled that number. The eight total All-America honors, including Aronovich's all-around award, is the most since 1969 when four Nittany Lions combined to earn eight.
Rosenthal placed second in the still rings, just .5 of a point out of the top spot, scoring a 15.250. The All-America honor is the second of his career after placing eighth in the event at last year's national championships. In 2012, Rosenthal either won or was the runner-up in the still rings in every meet.
Hernandez put the finishing touches on an impressive freshman campaign, placing second in the pommel horse with a score of 15.350. Cal senior Glen Ishino, a member of the U.S. Senior National Team, won the event (15.600). The only Nittany Lion to qualify for the individual finals in two events, Hernandez also competed in the floor exercise, finishing in 10th (14.500).
In addition to Hernandez, Evans, Kothari, and Rodriguez earned their first career All-America honors. Evans, a sophomore, was the first competitor to perform on pommel horse and his score of 14.800 proved to be among the best, securing him fourth place. Prior to tonight, Evans broke his career high in the pommel horse in successive days, first in the national qualifier and then in the team finals.
Kothari, a redshirt junior, placed seventh in the still rings with a score of 14.550. His consistent contributions in the event helped Penn State hold the nation's No. 1 ranking for much of the 2012 season.
Rodriguez, who competed in the high bar just three times during the regular season, stepped to the forefront for Penn State at the national championships. The sophomore finished eighth in the event with a score of 14.300.
Aronovich earned his second All-America honor of the 2012 championships by finishing in fifth place in the parallel bars with a score of 14.800. The junior served as Penn State's anchor in the event throughout the season, capturing a total of five titles and recording the team's top two scores.
Raque received All-America recognition for the third time in his career by finishing eighth in the floor exercise (14.950). The junior was a steady force for Penn State in the event in 2012, winning seven titles and posting the team's top three scores. A year ago, Raque earned All-America honors in the floor exercise and vault.
With the seven earned tonight and eight overall, Penn State gymnasts have produced 297 All-America honors, including 86 during Randy Jepson's distinguished 21-year head coaching career.