No. 5 Nittany Lions Travel to Face Host No. 8 Minnesota and No. 10 Iowa
March 2, 2011
Live Scoring | 2011 Stats
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The fifth-ranked Penn State men's gymnastics team will begin a three-meet road swing to finish out the regular season this weekend when it visits Minneapolis to take on host No. 8 Minnesota and No. 10 Iowa on Saturday at 8 p.m. ET at the Gophers' Sports Pavilion. The tri-meet is the second of three on the Nittany Lions' 2011 schedule and the lone such competition that exclusively features Big Ten opponents.
The conference triangular 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. Last Saturday, Penn State won all six events and recorded a team season high score for the sixth this time this season to down Ohio State, 353.500-342.500, in Rec Hall. The Nittany Lions set a season high in the still rings for the seventh consecutive week (60.700) and just missed establishing a season best in the parallel bars, falling .2 shy (58.400).
Redshirt junior Warren Yang (Nepean, Ont.) shined in Penn State's final home appearance of the season, capturing at least a share of titles in the floor exercise, parallel bars, and high bar to earn Big Ten Gymnast of the Week honors for the first time in his career. Other event winners were sophomore Scott Rosenthal (Clearfield, Pa.) and junior Miguel Pineda (Galloway, Ohio), who tied for first in the still rings, and redshirt freshman Francisco Vazquez (San Juan, P.R.), who shared the vault title. Sophomore Felix Aronovich (Kiryat Bialik, Israel) won the all-around unopposed, totaling a career high score of 86.500.
[NOTE: WATCH THE BIG TEN NETWORK BROADCAST OF PENN STATE'S WIN OVER OHIO STATE ON SAT., MARCH 5 AT 9:30 A.M.]
Undefeated Penn State remains nationally ranked in the top five in all six events, including owning the No. 1 ranking in the still rings and the pommel horse. The Lions have five competitors ranked in the top 20 in the rings, spearheaded by the national title-contending efforts of Rosenthal and Pineda. The rapid development of freshmen specialists Adrian Evans (Boulder, Colo.) and Preston Gall (Columbus, Ohio) in addition to the continued solid contributions of Aronovich has transformed the pommel horse, which has traditionally been a weakness for PSU, into a strength. Several Nittany Lions, including Raque and sophomore Mackenzie Dow (Cranford, N.J.), who boast high start values in the vault, make Penn State a dangerous team.
Overall, 11 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, as he is positioned at No. 2 in the still rings. He has placed first in the rings in seven of eight meets this season. Raque leads PSU in top three finishes, totaling 16.
Minnesota, which possesses a team three score average of 345.167, registered a season high score last week in its 13th consecutive win over Illinois-Chicago, dousing the Flames 345.800-339.200 on the road. As a team, the Golden Gophers' top event is the vault, ranking fourth nationally in the event with a 63.067 average and a 63.700 season high score. Minnesota has three gymnasts ranked in the top 20, freshmen Zack Chase (floor exercise, vault) and John Scallon (pommel horse), and junior DJ Repp (vault).
Iowa is coming off its best performance of the season, notching a season high score in a 348.100-342.700 home win over Nebraska last weekend. The Hawkeyes set team season highs on five of the six events and broke the program record in the parallel bars, scoring a 57.700. Iowa is ranked in the top 12 nationally in all six events, highlighted by its No. 7 team ranking in the still rings. Senior Michael Jiang (pommel horse, parallel bars) and sophomores Matt McGrath (floor exercise) and Anton Gryshayev (still rings) hold top 20 inidividual rankings. Gryshayev, positioned at No. 7 in the rings, owns the top three scores in the event in school history.
Penn State is 11-2 in its all-time series versus Minnesota, including 2010's 350.150-348.250 victory in Rec Hall. In the Nittany Lions' last trip to Minneapolis in 2009, PSU suffered just its second ever setback to the Golden Gophers, falling by a narrow 345.850-344.500 margin. Penn State, which owns a 12-8-1 series record against Iowa, has not faced the Hawkeyes in the regular season since 2007 when the Lions defeated them in a tri-meet at Stanford.
This season, PSU has posted a perfect 3-0 record versus Big Ten opponents, claiming dual meet wins over No. 2 Illinois, No. 6 Michigan, and No. 9 Ohio State.
Fans can follow all of the action as Penn State battles Minnesota and Iowa on the Internet with live scoring updates. Find a link on the official website of Nittany Lion athletics, www.GoPSUsports.com.
Next week, the Nittany Lions will not only venture outside the NCAA but also the country, visiting San Juan, Puerto Rico for an exhibition competition with the Puerto Rican National Team. The dual meet is scheduled for Sat., March 12 at 7 p.m. ET. Former Nittany Lion All-Americans Luis Vargas and Tommy Ramos will compete for Puerto Rico while current PSU gymnasts and Francisco Vazquez and freshman Nestor Rodriguez (Guaynabo, P.R.) will return home to perform in front of friends and family. Penn State has not competed against an international opponent during the regular season since March 1, 2005 when it hosted a team of college all-stars from Japan at Rec Hall.