March 30, 2011
Penn State Notes | 2011 Stats | Live Scoring | Championships Central
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Fifth-ranked Penn State will seek the program's third conference title when it competes at the 2011 Big Ten Men's Gymnastics Championships from April 1-2 at Huff Hall in Champaign, Ill. on the host campus of the University of Illinois. Penn State will battle the other members of the nation's elite men's gymnastics conference for team and individual titles over the course of the two-day event and strive to gain momentum as it pursues its NCAA-record 13th national championship in two weeks.
The team and all-around competition will take place on Fri., April 1 with the individual event finals set for Sat., April 2. Competition on both days is scheduled to begin at 8 p.m. ET.
LIVE ON THE BIG TEN NETWORK
The Big Ten Network will broadcast the 2011 Big Ten Men's Gymnastics Championships live to a national television audience for the fourth straight year. The championships will also be rebroadcast on Sat., April 2 (team finals - 5 p.m. ET) and Wed., April 6 (individual finals - 5 p.m. ET)
PREVIEWING PENN STATE
A Penn State team that features 12 underclassmen, 11 of which made significant contributions throughout the 2011 season, enters the Big Ten Championships looking to make its mark against the nation's best gymnastics talent. In the floor exercise, sophomore Parker Raque, ranked No. 5 nationally, has been the most consistent performer but redshirt junior Warren Yang, sophomore Matt Chelberg, and redshirt freshman Francisco Vazquez will also be factors. Sophomore Felix Aronovich, who scored a team high 15.100 twice this season, represents Penn State's best hope in the pommel horse. Sophomore Scott Rosenthal and junior Miguel Pineda, who have combined to win the still rings in every competition this year, will headline the nation's No. 2-ranked team in the event. Raque and sophomore Mackenzie Dow, who earned the squad's top vault score this year, a 16.000, along with Yang and Vazquez provide Penn State with several threats. Aronovich, who recorded seven top two finishes, including four title wins, will lead Penn State in the parallel bars but Yang, Dow, and Pineda will also be key to the Lions' fortunes. A late season surge by freshman Wasef Burbar has placed him among the nation's top high bar competitors. He owns Penn State's top three scores in the event this season and his mark of 15.350, attained in a tri-meet with Oklahoma and Illinois, ranks second in the program record book.
As a team, Penn State is ranked in the top six nationally in every event. Individually, 11 different Nittany Lions own top 20 rankings. Penn State has at least two individuals nationally ranked in each event, including a high of four in the still rings.
PREVIEWING THE BIG TEN CHAMPIONSHIPS
Competition at the 2011 Big Ten Championships promises to be fierce, as all six Big Ten members enter the annual conference postseason event ranked among the top 10 teams in the nation. Despite losing one of the nation's top gymnasts in Paul Ruggeri to a foot injury earlier in the season, No. 4 Illinois, as host, two-time defending Big Ten Champion, and the highest ranked team in the conference, is the likely favorite to claim the 2011 title. A young Penn State squad, ranked fifth nationally, went 5-1 against Big Ten foes in 2011, including a head-to-head win over the Illini in Champaign. Defending national champion No. 6 Michigan will undoubtedly be a major factor in the chase for the conference crown even though injuries have decimated its line-up for much of the year. The Wolverines are getting healthier and have had some veterans step up and younger competitors step in to fill the void. Seventh-ranked Minnesota will challenge the Big Ten field with a roster heavily influenced by its eight-member freshmen class, while No. 9 Ohio State boasts gymnasts among the nation's best in the pommel horse and still rings. Iowa, ranked No. 10, has shown improvement over the course of the season and is looking to use the championships as a spring board for future success. In all, 43 gymnasts ranked nationally in the top 20 will compete. The meet will also showcase Nissen-Emery Award finalists Brandon Wynn (Ohio State), Daniel Ribeiro (Illinois), and Chris Cameron (Michigan).
FOLLOW THE ACTION ONLINE
Fans can also follow all of the action of both days of competition at the 2011 Big Ten Men's Gymnastics Championships on the Internet with live scoring updates. Find links on the front page (click on Schedule/Results) of the official website of Nittany Lion athletics, www.GoPSUsports.com and on the men's gymnastics schedule page.
PENN STATE AT THE BIG TEN CHAMPIONSHIPS
The Nittany Lions will be aiming to claim their third overall conference title in program history this weekend. In 2003, led by head coach Randy Jepson and All-Big Ten performers Kevin Tan and Luis Vargas, the Lions attained their first team title. In 2008, Casey Sandy won the parallel bars and all-around championships while Tommy Ramos captured his second Big Ten title in the still rings, helping PSU to its second team title. Penn State has finished second at the Big Ten Championships on three occasions (1998, 2004, and 2007) and placed third six times (1994, 1996, 1997, 2001, 2002, and 2010) since joining the conference in 1992. Illinois has claimed the most Big Ten Championships with 24.
PENN STATE AT THE 2010 BIG TEN CHAMPIONSHIPS
Penn State didn't perform at its best at the team finals of the 2010 Big Ten Championships but the Nittany Lions did well enough to overtake two teams ranked above them, including host Ohio State, to place a surprising third. Penn State posted a team score of 347.300, a total just above its season average of 346.556 but below its three score average of 349.033.
The Lions tied a season-high in the still rings, totaling a 59.550, and posted totals above their season average in the parallel bars (56.600) and high bar (57.700) but had its struggles in the floor exercise (58.800), pommel horse (53.450), and vault (61.700). For the second consecutive year, Nick Virbitsky earned PSU's top finish in the team finals, finishing in a tie for third place in the floor exercise.
Eight different Nittany Lions advanced to seek individual titles in five events -
Noam Shaham (still rings, high bar), Nick Virbitsky (floor exercise), Scott Rosenthal (still rings), Miguel Pineda (still rings), Tony Beck (parallel bars), Nick Grant (vault), and Matt Albrecht (high bar).
In the individual event finals, Virbitsky earned Second Team All-Big Ten honors, contributing Penn State's top showing by placing second in the floor exercise with a score of 15.375. Pineda led a trio of Nittany Lions competing in the still rings, placing third (15.125).
PENN STATE VS. THE BIG TEN IN 2011
Penn State posted a 5-1 record versus Big Ten opponents during the 2011 regular season. At home in historic Rec Hall, the Nittany Lions defeated defending national champion Michigan (350.400-346.900) and Ohio State (353.500-342.500). On the road, Penn State upset two-time defending Big Ten champion Illinois (352.100-351.000) and scored a 351.600 to down host Minnesota (344.600) and Iowa (333.800) in a tri-meet in Minneapolis. Penn State's lone loss to a Big Ten opponent came in a re-match with Illinois in the regular season finale at Oklahoma.
NEXT UP FOR THE NITTANY LIONS
In two weeks, the Nittany Lions will seek their NCAA-record 13th national title when they travel to Columbus, Ohio for the 2011 National Collegiate Men's Gymnastics Championships. From April 14-16, the nation's elite collegiate gymnastics competitors will descend upon historic St. John Arena and the campus of The Ohio State University to vie for team and individual glory. The competition begins on Thurs., April 14 with two qualifying sessions, scheduled for 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. ET. The top three teams from each qualifier then advance to vie for the national championship at 7 p.m. ET on Fri., April 15. The nation's top all-around performer will also be crowned that evening. On Sat., April 16, the individual event finals will be held at 7 p.m. ET, with six national titles and All-American status at stake.