No. 5 Men's Gymnastics Visits No. 7 Ohio State for Big Ten Dual
Feb. 26, 2010
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The No. 5 Penn State men's gymnastics team will take on its second consecutive Big Ten opponent and third overall this season when it travels to Columbus, Ohio to clash with No. 7 Ohio State in a Saturday afternoon dual meet set for 4 p.m. at historic St. John Arena.
The Nittany Lions will be looking to rebound from their second loss of the season, a 354.600-345.950 setback to reigning Big Ten Co-Champion and No. 1-ranked Illinois last weekend in University Park. As a team, Penn State won the still rings and set season highs in the parallel bars (57.600) and high bar (57.400) but a season low on the pommel horse (51.700) proved costly. Senior Nick Virbitsky (Harrisburg, Pa.) captured the floor exercise title with a personal and team season best score of 15.450 and placed third in the high bar, again setting an individual and team season high, registering a 14.650. Sophomore Miguel Pineda (Galloway, Ohio) placed first in the still rings for the third time this season, posting a score of 14.900.
Penn State, which has a three-score average of 346.850, is nationally ranked in the top 10 in each event as a team. Its highest team event ranking comes in the floor exercise, pommel horse, and still rings, in which it ranks fourth. Individually, 11 different Nittany Lions are ranked in the top 20 in six events, led by freshman Felix Aronovich (Kiryat Bialik, Israel) who is slotted at No. 4 in the pommel horse.
Ohio State recorded event highs last weekend on floor, pommel horse and high bar, scoring a 346.600 as a team in placing second in a quad meet with host Nebraska, Illinois-Chicago, and Air Force. Senior captain Justin Myers (floor exercise), redshirt sophomore Steven Spencer (pommel horse), and Tai Lee (high bar) earned individual titles. The Buckeyes dropped their only other Big Ten dual meet this season, falling to Illinois, 349.700-341.350, on Jan. 30. They opened the 2010 season at the Windy City Open, placing third behind Illinois and Michigan, respectively.
Possessing a three score average of 345.033, Ohio State is nationally ranked as high as No. 5 (high bar) and as low as No. 12 (parallel bars) as a team. Individually, Steven Spencer is currently ranked eighth in the national poll in the pommel horse (14.367 avg.) while sophomore Matt Rayl, who has a 13.9 average, is ranked 19th. Sophomore Philip Onorato is ranked eighth nationally in the vault, holding a 15.8 average. One of OSU's top performers, junior Brandon Wynn, was named to the U.S. Men's Senior National Team based on his standout performance at the Winter Cup Challenge earlier this month.
Penn State possesses a slim 25-24 advantage in its all-time series with conference rival Ohio State. The Nittany Lions have won three straight dual meets versus the Buckeyes, including last season's narrow 347.600-346.500 victory at Rec Hall. In its last visit to Columbus, in 2008, Penn State established a team record high score, posting a 360.550 in a winning effort.
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.
Next weekend, the Nittany Lions return to Happy Valley to host a 7 p.m. tri-meet that will feature match-ups with No. 6 Minnesota and No. 11 Temple on Sat., March 6 at Rec Hall. Penn State has dominated the head-to-head series with Minnesota, compiling a 10-2 record, but fell to the Golden Gophers a year ago in Minneapolis, 345.850-344.500. The Nittany Lions have more wins against Temple, 74, than any other opponent in program history, including two last season.