No. 4 Men's Gymnastics Hosts No. 10 Ohio State in Senior Day Dual
Feb. 22, 2011
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The No. 4 Penn State men's gymnastics team will complete its 2011 home schedule on Sat., Feb. 26 when No. 10 Ohio State visits Rec Hall for a 1 p.m. Senior Day clash. The conference match-up will be aired by the Big Ten Network on a tape delay basis, with the broadcast of the competition set for Sat., March 5 at 3 p.m. The meet will also feature the No. 10 Nittany Lion women's gymnastics squad taking on the 17th-ranked Buckeyes.
For senior Matt Albrecht (Guelph, Ont.), Saturday's competition will mark his final home appearance in a Nittany Lion uniform. The 2011 team captain will be honored in a special Senior Day ceremony following the meet.
Last Saturday, Penn State passed its toughest test of the season thus far to remain undefeated, overcoming a hostile road environment to knock off No. 2 Illinois, 352.100-351.000. The Nittany Lions won the floor exercise (59.500) and the vault (63.400) with season high scores but it was a dominating effort in the still rings that fueled the victory. On the strength of a career-high and event-winning score of 15.900 by sophomore Scott Rosenthal (Clearfield, Pa.) and career-best mark of 15.500 by junior Miguel Pineda (Galloway, Ohio), PSU bested the two-time defending Big Ten Champion Illini by more than three points (60.500-57.100) in the event.
Sophomore Parker Raque (Louisville, Ky.) earned Big Ten Co-Gymnast of the Week honors after fronting a top three sweep in the vault with a first place and career-high score of 16.000 in addition to finishing second in the floor exercise. Francisco Vazquez (San Juan, P.R.) was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week for earning two top three finishes, placing second in the pommel horse and third in the vault.
With its undefeated start to the 2011 season, a young Penn State (352.067 three score average) squad, whose roster contains just five upperclassmen, has transformed itself from a simple pleasant surprise to a legitimate threat on both the conference and national scenes. The Nittany Lions are ranked nationally in the top five in all six events, including the No. 1 ranking in the still rings, thanks primarily to the national champion caliber efforts of Rosenthal and Pineda. With the addition of freshmen specialists Adrian Evans (Boulder, Colo.) and Preston Gall (Columbus, Ohio) and the continued strong contributions of sophomore Felix Aronovich (Kiryat Bialik, Israel), the pommel horse, which has traditionally been a bane for PSU, has improved enough to secure PSU the No. 2 national ranking. Raque, redshirt junior Warren Yang (Nepean, Ont.), and sophomore Matt Chelberg (Athens, Ohio) have spearheaded a resurgence in the floor exercise.
Overall, 13 Nittany Lions are ranked in the nation's top 20 in at least one event, led by Aronovich, who appears in the rankings in four events (pommel horse, still rings, parallel bars, high bar). Rosenthal holds Penn State's highest ranking and likely represents the team's best chance at an individual national title, as he is positioned at No. 2 in the still rings. He has placed first in the rings in six of seven meets this season. Raque leads PSU in top three finishes, totaling 15.
Ohio State is coming off a bye week but posted a season high team score in its last outing, defeating club team Brockport, 348.250-224.300, in the Buckeyes' home opener at St. John Arena on Feb. 12. Possessing a three score average of 342.800, Ohio State is nationally ranked in the top 11 in each event, highlighted by its No. 7 ranking in the pommel horse.
The Buckeyes are led by senior Brandon Wynn, the 2010 Big Ten and NCAA still rings champion. Currently ranked No. 1 in the nation in the event, he owns the top score in the NCAA in 2011, a 16.100. Wynn also competes regularly in the parallel bars and high bar. Junior Ty Echard and freshman Jeff Treleaven have also been key for the Buckeyes in 2011. Echard is one of the nation's top pommel horse performers while Treleaven has been strong in the floor exercise and the vault.
Penn State possesses a slim 26-24 advantage in its all-time series with conference rival Ohio State. The Nittany Lions have won four straight dual meets versus the Buckeyes, including last season's 353.600-347.100 victory in Columbus. In the Buckeyes' last visit to Happy Valley, in 2009, Penn State edged out OSU, 347.600-346.500.
Fans can follow all of the action of the Penn State-Ohio State dual on the Internet with live scoring updates from Rec Hall. Find links on the official website of Nittany Lion athletics, www.GoPSUsports.com.
The Nittany Lions will begin a three-meet road swing to finish out the regular season next weekend when they travel to Minneapolis to take on host No. 8 Minnesota and No. 9 Iowa on Sat., March 5 (8 p.m. ET) at the Gophers' Sports Pavilion. The conference tri-meet will be broadcast by the Big Ten Network on a tape delay basis, with the airing of the competition set for Sat., March 12 at 12 p.m. Penn State defeated Minnesota, 350.150-348.250, last year in Rec Hall but fell to the Gophers in its last visit to Minneapolis in 2009, 345.850-344.500. The Lions have not faced Iowa in the regular since 2007 when they defeated the Hawkeyes in a tri-meet at Stanford.