|Follow PSU Men's Gymnastics:||Follow @PennStateMGYM|
Jan. 20, 2017
MEN’S GYMNASTICS OPENS 2017 HOME SLATE WITH ARMY
For the 15th-straight season, Penn State men’s gymnastics will open its 2017 home campaign with a dual against Army West Point. The two teams are set to square off Saturday, Jan. 21 at 4 p.m. at Rec Hall. The meet will be a double dual with the women’s gymnastics team, who will be going up against Maryland.
NITTANY LIONS KICK OFF HOME SLATE WITH ARMY WEST POINT DUAL FOR 14TH-STRAIGHT SEASON
Saturday’s meeting with the Black Knights will mark the 14th-straight season in which Penn State and Army West Point have kicked off the Nittany Lions home campaign with a dual against the Black Knights. Furthermore, the two teams have met up to start the season for 17 seasons with both squads being at the West Point Open in 2001, 2002 and 2017.
SERIES HISTORY WITH THE BLACK KNIGHTS
Penn State owns a 59-18-1 overall record against Army West Point and has won 50-straight meetings against the Black Knights. The Nittany Lions have not dropped a meet to Army West Point since 1962 when the Black Knights handed Gene Wettstone and his squad their lone loss of the season with a 54-42 victory over Penn State. Most recently, Penn State earned a 412.350-393.550 victory over the Black Knights at the 26th Annual West Point Open, Jan. 13.
BLUE AND WHITE CLINCHES FOURTH-STRAIGHT WEST POINT OPEN TITLE
The Penn State men’s gymnastics team captured its fourth-straight title at the 26th Annual West Point Open Friday, Jan. 13. The Nittany Lions scored a 412.350 in their first meet of the season to win the open for the 19th time in program history.
Big Ten Conference foe Nebraska placed second overall with a 410.600 and Army rounded out the top three with a 393.500. The Blue and White used a strong parallel bars routine in its sixth rotation of the day to propel itself to the victory in West Point.
Freshman Favian Valdez picked up his first victory donning the Blue and White, notching a 14.500 on the floor exercise, while Christian McSwain placed second with a 14.400.
The Nittany Lions saw their second individual event title of the evening when Colin Coates nabbed the pommel horse win for the second-straight year with a 14.700. Last season, Coates helped Penn State to the individual event title sweep, winning the pommel horse with a 15.050 in the event. Redshirt-senior Leroy Clarke, Jr. placed second on the pommel horse after finishing first in the team event Friday night, while Valdez placed fourth overall.
Penn State grabbed its third-straight individual event when senior Dominic DiFulvio came up big on the still rings with a 14.750 and Benjamin Cooperman placed second overall with a 14.250.
Sophomore Michael Burns capped off the four individual event titles for the Blue and White as he picked up his second-straight high bar title with a 14.650 at the West Point Open, winning the event in the 2016 season as well.
PENN STATE RANKED IN THE TOP-10 IN ALL SIX EVENTS
After one week of competition the Nittany Lions are ranked in the top-10 in all six events, while seven student-athletes rank in the top-10 in six events. Penn State ranks second in the nation on both the pommel horse and the parallel bars and comes in third in overall team score and the still rings. Finally, Penn State ranks sixth on the high bar, ninth on the vault and 10th on the floor exercise.
Individually, Michael Burns ranks third nationally on the high bar and sixth in the all-around, while Leroy Clarke, Jr. ranks fifth on the pommel horse and Colin Coates ranks sixth. Also ranking in the top-10 individually are Favian Valdez (7th - FX and AA), Dominic DiFulvio (8th - SR and AA) and Franz Card (7th - PB)
VALDEZ EARNS BIG TEN FRESHMAN OF THE WEEK HONORS
After capturing the floor exercise title at the West Point Open, freshman Favian Valdez notched Big Ten Freshman of the Week honors as announced by the conference office for the week ending Jan. 15.
The honor marks the first of Valdez’s career as he made his first collegiate appearance at the West Point Open.
Valdez notched three second-place finishes in the team portion of the West Point Open, grabbing a 14.300 on the floor exercise, a 14.250 on the pommel horse and a 82.400 in the all-around. The Kearny, N.J. native capped off the individual event finals with a floor exercise title nabbing a 14.500 and a fourth-place finish on the pommel horse.
BURNS HAS CAREER WEEKEND AT WEST POINT
Sophomore Michael Burns posted four career-bests while also earning the high bar title in the individual event finals and the high bar and all-around title in the team event at the West Point Open, Jan. 13-14. Burns first earned the high bar title in the team portion with a 14.200 before posting a season-high 14.650 in the individual event finals to earn the title for the second-straight season. Burns also tallied a career-high 14.150 in the floor exercise, a 13.800 on the pommel horse, a 14.300 on the still rings and a 82.700 in the all-around.
NITTANY LIONS SET TO APPEAR ON BTN THREE TIMES
The Penn State men’s gymnastics team will have two home meets featured on the Big Ten Network, while the network will also air the 2017 Big Ten Championships. The Nittany Lions and the Wolverines of Michigan will square off at 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Mar. 18 on BTN before the Blue and White closes out its season against Iowa Saturday, Mar. 25 at 3 p.m. on the Big Ten Network.
The 2017 Men’s Big Ten Championships will be hosted by Illinois in Champaign, Ill. Friday, Apr. 7 and Saturday, Apr. 8. The team championship will be handed out on Friday, while individual event winners will be crowned Apr. 8. Both sessions will be aired live on BTN starting at 7 p.m.
With the 2017 men’s gymnastics home schedule starting Saturday, Jan. 21, the Nittany Lions have numerous promotions for its four home duals this season.
Penn State opens the 2017 home slate against Army West Point Saturday, Jan. 21 at 4 p.m. The double dual against the Black Knights will be its annual THON meet where 25 percent of tickets proceeds will go to THON. The Nittany Lions will also be giving away its 2017 schedule poster.
The Blue and White will ask fans to White Out Rec Hall Saturday, Feb. 11 for its second double dual with the women’s team, this time against Ohio State. Fans will receive white shakers to cheer on the Nittany Lions and there will be a special Kid’s Zone with an airbrush tattoo artist, caricature artist and balloon artist. The Nittany Lions will also ask those in attendance to submit their favorite White Out memory from any Penn State sporting event for a chance to be featured at the meet. All prior Penn State gymnastics campers will be admitted to the meet free of charge in honor of Camper Day.
The meet against the Buckeyes will also be Veterans, Armed Forces and Public Safety Day with all being invited to the meet for free with valid veteran, military or public safety I.D. Finally, the 2017 Nittany Lions will be signing autographs after the meet against Ohio State.
Penn State welcomes back its 2007 National Championship team Saturday, Mar. 18 for a special recognition ceremony between rotations. The meet against Michigan will also be the first of two meets featured on the Big Ten Network.
In its final home meet of the 2017 campaign against Iowa, Saturday, Mar. 25, the Nittany Lions will honor its six seniors for their last home meet of their careers. The six seniors set to be honored for their careers at Penn State are Joseph Boyle, Franz Card, Dominic DiFulvio, Christian McSwain, Jeremy Munn and Leroy Clarke, Jr. The meet against the Hawkeyes will also be featured on the Big Ten Network.
For information on purchasing 2017 season tickets fans can visit http://www.GoPSUsports.com/tickets or call 1-800-NITTANY weekdays from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Penn State will host its first home meet of the 2017 season Saturday, Jan. 21 against Army West Point. The dual is slated to start at 4 p.m. at Rec Hall.
Penn State closes out the month of January in Springfield, Mass. with a dual against Springfield College Sunday, Jan. 29. The Nittany Lions will square off with Springfield at 1 p.m. The dual will mark the second time in the 2017 season that Penn State has met up with Springfield as the Nittany Lions took a 412.350-390.550 victory at the West Point Open.