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Jan. 18, 2013
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.; January 18, 2013-- After opening the season with the top team score in the NCAA, the Nittany Lions vaulted to the top of the GymInfo national poll heading into the Navy Open this weekend in Annapolis, Md. Penn State posted an overall team score of 447.850 in their season opener vs. Army last weekend, the highest score in the nation after the first weekend by 22 points, and will now take to the floor against Navy, Springfield College, SUNY-Brockport, Temple and William & Mary.
This will be the first time that Penn State competes at the Navy Open since 2003 when they won event by defeating James Madison, Navy and William & Mary. The Nittany Lions have won at least one in-season invitational during each of the last 11 seasons, claiming 15 straight in-season invitational titles. Since their last non-first place finish at the Southwest Cup in 2001 the Lions have won two Southwest Cup titles, one Navy Open crowns, one Temple Invitational title and nine West Point Open titles during that stretch.
Senior Felix Aronovich (Kiryat Bialik, Israel) claimed his sixth career Big Ten Gymnast of the Week honor after tying for the top spot on the high bar and placing second in four other events vs. Army. The senior is tied for the top mark in school history and in the NCAA on the high bar (15.500) with teammate Matthew Felleman (Medway, Mass.) and ranks second in the NCAA on the pommel horse (15.350) and parallel bars (15.300). He set personal-best scores on the pommel horse, still rings (15.350) and the high bar against the Black Knights.
The Big Ten's Freshman of the Week during the opening weekend was Trevor Howard (Columbus, Ohio), who won the still rings and vault on the opening weekend. He tops the NCAA tables on the still rings with a score of 15.700 and ranks second in the nation on the vault with a mark of 15.200, while sitting tied for third on the NCAA charts on the parallel bar after boasting a 15.200 score against Army.
After one weekend of competition, Penn State owns the top team event scores on the pommel horse, still rings, vault, parallel bars and high bar. The most impressive score came at the close of their competition vs. Army when they scored 76.050 on the high bar and watched Aronovich and Felleman best the school record in the event with identical scores of 15.500. On the vault, the Nittany Lions had four competitors score 15.000 or better to compile a team score of 75.500 in the new five-count scoring system. The pommel horse was also a bright spot as a team, compiling a team tally of 75.250.
After competing at the Navy Open, Penn State will return home to host their first double dual meet with the women's program when they welcome Ohio State on Saturday, Feb. 2. The meet will begin at 7 p.m. inside Rec Hall.