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March 2, 2017
MEN’S GYMNASTICS GETS BACK TO B1G COMPETITION
Following two weeks away from Big Ten Conference competition, the Penn State men’s gymnastics team will travel to Lincoln, Nebraska for a tri-meet with the Cornhuskers and the Hawkeyes of Iowa Saturday, March 4 at 5 p.m. ET. The meet will mark the final away meet of the season for the Blue and White before it returns to Rec Hall for its final two regular season duals.
SERIES HISTORY WITH OPPONENTS
Penn State leads both series against Nebraska and Iowa, having defeated the Cornhuskers earlier in the 2017 campaign at the West Point Open. The Nittany Lions hold an 11-4 advantage over Nebraska and a 14-9-1 advantage over Iowa. In last season’s tri-meet the Blue and White came in second overall with Iowa taking the top score, notching a 431.150, while Penn State recorded a 424.000 and Nebraska earned a 423.300.
The Nittany Lion freshmen have dominated competition in their first season of collegiate competition, earning Big Ten Freshman of the Week honors all seven weeks of the season. Favian Valdez leads the pack with four B1G honors, earning three first-place finishes and 14 podium finishes so far this year, while Sam Zakutney has won three B1G honors, six first-place finishes and 13 podium finishes. Stephen Nedoroscik has also found his place on the pommel horse, winning the event twice and holding a team-high 14.800 this season. Finally, Isaac Hammett has earned two second-place finishes on the still rings and Brayden Borromeo has earned one second-place finish on the vault.
POMMEL HORSE POWER
Penn State has proved to be one of the best teams in the nation on the pommel horse, ranking third with a season average of 68.867 on the apparatus. The Nittany Lions have scored a season-high 71.300 in the event this season and have seen six victories in the 2017 campaign from four different gymnasts. Furthermore, the team has seen 18 podium finishes in the event in the 2017 campaign on the pommel horse.
RANKING IN THE TOP FIVE
The Nittany Lions rank in the top five in the nation in three events, coming in third on the pommel horse and fourth on both the still rings and the parallel bars. The Blue and White posted a season-high 70.500 on the still rings this past weekend at Navy and are averaging a 69.183 in the event. Penn State averages a 69.325 on the parallel bars and notched a season-high 70.700 at Springfield. Most recently, senior Dominic DiFulvio and sophomore Chris Sands took home the still rings title at Navy, while freshman Sam Zakutney earned the parallel bars win for the Blue and White.
ZAKUTNEY NOTCHES THIRD BIG TEN FRESHMAN OF THE WEEK HONOR
For the seventh-straight week a Penn State men’s gymnastics freshman notched Big Ten Freshman of the Week honors as Sam Zakutney garnered the award for the third time in the 2017 season as announced by the conference office Monday, Feb. 27. Zakutney earned his second parallel bars and high bar title of his young career for the Blue and White at Navy. The freshman scored a 14.200 on the parallel bars and a 13.950 on the high bar. Furthermore, Zakutney earned a podium finish on the floor with a 14.050 in the event.
NITTANY LIONS VICTORIOUS AT NAVY
After a week away from team competition and the first week of a five up, five count format, the Penn State men’s gymnastics team came away victorious at Navy winning the dual 409.400-399.250 Saturday, Feb. 25. The Nittany Lions earned five event titles on the afternoon with freshman Sam Zakutney earning the win on both the high bar and parallel bars and Dominic DiFulvio sharing the win with sophomore Chris Sands on the still rings and taking the vault title outright. Finally, redshirt-senior Leroy Clarke, Jr. garnered his second pommel horse title of the season, scoring a 14.200.
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 will take a week off competition before returning to Rec Hall Saturday, March 18 for a dual with the Wolverines of Michigan. The meet is set to start at 2:30 p.m. and will be aired live on the Big Ten Network.