No. 6 Men's Gymnastics Hosts No. 15 William & Mary on Sunday
Jan. 26, 2010
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The No. 6 Penn State men's gymnastics team will host regional opponent No. 15 William & Mary in a dual meet scheduled for Sun., Jan. 31 at 2 p.m. at Rec Hall. The Nittany Lions will look to remain defeated at home in 2010 following their sound 341.000-314.450 defeat of Army to open the season on Jan. 9.
Last weekend, Penn State suffered its first defeat of the season in its Big Ten opener, falling 355.650-344.750 to preseason conference favorite and No. 3-ranked Michigan in Ann Arbor. The Nittany Lions equaled or surpassed season-high scores in the parallel bars (57.050) and the still rings (58.650) but were hampered by struggles in one of their top events, the floor exercise (56.950), and by a subpar performance in the high bar (54.100).
Individually, freshman Felix Aronovich (Kiryat Bialik, Israel) defeated Michigan All-Americans David Chan and Chris Cameron to win the pommel horse with a season and team high score of 15.100. He also placed second in the parallel bars (tie) (14.550) and fifth in the still rings (14.600), establishing season best marks in both events. Aronovich, who has captured a pommel horse title each time he has competed in the event in 2010, was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week for the second time this season for his standout performance. Other event titles were claimed by freshman Nick Grant (Butler, Pa.), who tied for first in the vault, and redshirt freshman Philip Harris (Lancaster, Pa.), who claimed his second parallel bars crown of the year with a season and team high score of 14.700.
William & Mary is coming off a third place showing at the Navy Open, posting a score of 323.700 in its opening week of competition. Sophomore Jonathan Prohov had the team's top individual finish, placing second in the pommel horse while senior co-captain Derek Gygax captured fifth in the all-around. Individually, the Tribe does not have a competitor ranked in the top 20 in any of the six events. As a team, William & Mary's top event is the pommel horse, holding a No. 13 ranking in the event with a 54.333 average.
Penn State possesses a perfect 15-0 record in its all-time series with the Tribe, including a 347.850-340.050 victory last season in a tri-meet that also featured Navy in Williamsburg, Va. Competing without 2009 Nissen-Emery Award winner Casey Sandy, who was given the week off, Allen Harris (Lancaster, Pa.) led the Lions by placing first in the floor exercise and the vault while Noam Shaham (Kfar Saba, Israel) and Miguel Pineda (Galloway, Ohio) captured titles in the high bar and still rings, respectively.
Fans can follow all of the action of Sunday's Penn State-William & Mary dual on the Internet with live scoring updates or with a live video webcast from Rec Hall. Find links on the official website of Nittany Lion athletics, www.GoPSUsports.com.
Next weekend, a Penn State contingent made-up of seniors Nick Virbitsky (Harrisburg, Pa.) and Matt Greenfield (Villanova, Pa.), freshman Scott Rosenthal (Clearfield, Pa.), assistant coach Kevin Tan, and volunteer assistant coach Vladi Klurman will travel to Las Vegas, Nev. to compete individually in the prestigious Winter Cup Challenge on Feb. 4 and 6. Virbitsky is returning to the Winter Cup for the first time since his freshman season of 2007 when he placed seventh in the vault in the preliminaries. Greenfield and Rosenthal will be competing in the event for the first time. Tan is a three-time Winter Cup still rings champion but missed last season's event while recuperating from shoulder surgery. For Klurman, this year will be his fourth appearance at the Winter Cup. In 2009, he advanced to the finals but a shoulder injury suffered during his parallel bars routine prevented him from competing on day two.
The remaining Nittany Lions will begin preparations for an upcoming dual meet with conference rival Illinois, scheduled for 7 p.m. on Sat., Feb. 20 in Rec Hall. Penn State posted its lowest score of the season against the Illini a year ago, suffering a 345.500-339.800 setback in a dual meet in Champaign, Ill. The Nittany Lions won three of six events as a team while Casey Sandy captured all four of Penn State's individual titles, placing first in the floor exercise, still rings, vault, and parallel bars on his way to claiming his fourth all-around crown of the season.