April 10, 2011
Penn State Notes | Live Scoring
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.
- The fifth-ranked Penn State men's gymnastics team will look to add to its NCAA record by capturing the program's 13th national title when it travels to Columbus, Ohio and the host campus of The Ohio State University to compete at the 2011 National Collegiate Championships. The 69th annual event will be held at the home of the Buckeyes, St. John Arena.
Competition at the 2011 championships begins on Thursday, April 14 with two qualifying sessions, scheduled for 1 and 7 p.m. Penn State, along with Oklahoma, Illinois, Minnesota, Air Force, and Illinois-Chicago will compete in Session I while Stanford, California, Michigan, Ohio State, Nebraska and Iowa will comprise the Session II field.
The top three teams from each qualifier will then advance to contend for the national championship at 7 p.m. on Friday, April 15. The individual all-around champion will also be crowned that evening. The following night, on Saturday, April 16, the individual event finals will be held at 7 p.m., with six national titles and All-America honors at stake.
PREVIEWING PENN STATE
A Penn State team that features 12 underclassmen, 11 of which made significant contributions throughout the 2011 season, enters the National Collegiate Championships looking to make its mark against the nation's best gymnastics talent. In the floor exercise, redshirt junior Warren Yang, ranked No. 6 nationally, and sophomore Parker Raque have been PSU's most consistent performers but 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 combined to win the still rings in every regular season competition this year, will headline the nation's No. 2-ranked team in the event. Sophomore Mackenzie Dow, who earned the squad's top vault score this year, a 16.050, along with Raque, Yang, 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 regular 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 five of six events. Individually, 11 different Nittany Lions own top 20 rankings. Penn State has at least one competitor nationally ranked in each event, including a high of four in the still rings (Rosenthal, Pineda, Aronovich, Chelberg) and high bar (Burbar, Aronovich, Dow, Rodriguez).
PREVIEWING THE 2011 CHAMPIONSHIPS
The nation's elite men's gymnasts will converge upon St. John Arena on the host campus of The Ohio State University to vie for team and individual glory from April 14-16 at the 2011 National Collegiate Championships. Penn State will strive to put together its best effort of the season to make a push for the program's 13th national championship but will face stiff competition in that quest. Top-seeded Oklahoma, which posted the highest team score of the season (366.400), has won five of the previous nine national championships and could be poised to add another trophy to its collection. The Sooners boast the nation's top all-arounder in Nissen-Emery Award candidate Steven Legendre and the No. 1-ranked competitor in the vault and parallel bars in sophomore Jake Dalton. Second-seeded Stanford is the only team to defeat Oklahoma this season, besting the Sooners at the MPSF Championships en route to claiming its fifth conference title. Highly nationally ranked competitors Alex Buscaglia, Josh Dixon, Tim Gentry, and Ryan Lieberman provide the Cardinal with a formidable line-up.
Cal, Illinois, and Michigan will also challenge for the 2011 crown. Led by MPSF Coach of the Year Tim McNeill, Cal's roster features young talent in top all-arounder Donothan Bailey and Steven Lacombe and veteran leadership in four-time All-American Glen Ishino and Kyle Bunthuwong. The Golden Bears are highly ranked in the parallel bars (No. 1) and pommel horse and high bar (No. 2). Three-time defending Big Ten Champion Illinois is excelling despite the loss of Paul Ruggeri, one of the nation's top gymnast, to injury earlier in the season. Daniel Ribeiro, ranked No. 1 in the pommel horse, Tyler Mizoguchi, Chad Wiest, Craig Padera, and Yoshi Mori have stepped up to fill the void. Reigning national champion Michigan has had much of its season derailed by injuries but is getting healthier evidenced by its strong second place showing at the Big Ten Championships. The Wolverines will be led by Big Ten Gymnast and Freshman of the Year Sam Mikulak, Thomas Kelley, Syque Caesar, and Ian Makowske. Host Ohio State is peaking at the right time. After a third-place effort at the Big Ten Championships, the Buckeyes, which are fronted by Brandon Wynn, the No. 1-ranked still rings competitor, must be considered a legitimate contender. Penn State will counter with veterans Matt Albrecht, Warren Yang, and Miguel Pineda along with a superb group of young up-and-comers including sophomores Felix Aronovich, Scott Rosenthal, Mackenzie Dow, and Parker Raque, redshirt freshman Francisco Vazquez, and freshman Wasef Burbar.
FOLLOW THE ACTION ONLINE
Fans can follow all of the action of every day of competition at the 2011 National Collegiate Men's Gymnastics Championships on the Internet with live scoring updates. Find a link on the official website of Nittany Lion athletics, www.GoPSUsports.com.
Fans can also keep up-to-date as Penn State pursues its 13th national championship on Twitter. Get timely news, notes, and scores @psusportsjr.
CHAMPIONSHIP TV COVERAGE
The team and all-around finals of the 2011 National Collegiate Men's Gymnastics Championships will be broadcast tape delayed on ESPN2 on Thursday, April 21 at 1:30 p.m.
PENN STATE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP HISTORY
Penn State owns an NCAA record 12 national championships, beginning with its first title in 1948. The Nittany Lions have captured the title 11 additional times since: 1953, 1954, 1957, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1965, 1976, 2000, 2004, and 2007.
An NCAA record 51 individual titles have been won by Nittany Lions. Second on the all-time list is Illinois with 50.
PENN STATE AT THE 2011 CHAMPIONSHIPS
Penn State posted a score of 345.550 to place fourth in the first qualifying session, failing to advance to vie for the national championship for the second consecutive year. While it did not move on as team, Penn State had a strong presence on day two of the competition, as six Nittany Lions - Noam Shaham, Felix Aronovich, Nick Virbitsky, Nick Grant, Matt Greenfield, and Matt Chelberg -
competed for a spot in the individual event finals, with at least one gymnast advancing in each of the six events.
Shaham, however, was the lone competitor to continue on, finishing sixth in the high bar and seventh in the still rings. In the individual event finals, Shaham earned his first career All-America honor in his final competition as a Nittany Lion, placing sixth in the high bar.
PENN STATE VS. THE CHAMPIONSHIP FIELD IN 2011
Penn State had its share of success against national championship qualifying teams during the regular season, compiling a 5-2 record. The Nittany Lions gained home wins against two Big Ten foes, knocking off defending national champion Michigan (350.400-346.900) and Ohio State (353.500-342.500). On the road, Penn State upset Illinois (352.100-351.000) and topped Minnesota (351.600-344.600) and Iowa (351.600-333.800) in a tri-meet in Minneapolis. The Lions' lone regular season losses came in the final week when they fell to Oklahoma (366.400-356.750) and Illinois (359.100-356.750) in Norman, Okla. Penn State did not meet Air Force, Illinois-Chicago, Nebraska, Stanford, and California in the regular season.
2011 BIG TEN CHAMPIONSHIPS REVIEW
Penn State was in the hunt for its third conference crown heading into the final rotation of the team finals of the 2011 Big Ten Championships but faltered in its final event, the pommel horse, and slid to fourth place, finishing with a team total of 349.000. Highlighting Penn State's showing at the conference championships were strong efforts in the floor exercise (59.300), still rings (60.650), and vault (63.200). The Nittany Lions upheld their status as the No. 2 team in the nation in the still rings, as junior Miguel Pineda set a career high in the still rings, scoring a 15.600, to place second while sophomore Scott Rosenthal finished in third with a score of 15.400. Sophomore Mackenzie Dow headlined the Penn State line-up in the vault, recording the team's highest score in the event this season and an individual career best (16.050) to place fifth. Redshirt junior Warren Yang (15.200) and sophomore Parker Raque (14.800) led PSU in the floor exercise, finishing third and fourth, respectively.
In the individual event finals, Penn State's overall team depth and strong young nucleus was on display, as 10 Nittany Lions, including eight underclassmen, competed. Rosenthal placed second in the still rings to earn Second Team All-Big Ten honors while Pineda (still rings) and Yang (floor exercise) also medaled, placing third.
ALBRECHT HONORED WITH BIG TEN SPORTSMANSHIP AWARD
Senior captain Matt Albrecht was named Penn State's recipient of the Big Ten Sportsmanship Award following competition at the 2011 Big Ten Championships. The honor is given to the one gymnast from each team in the conference who best reflects the principles of sportsmanship and fair play established by the Big Ten.
NINE NITTANY LIONS NAMED ACADEMIC ALL-BIG TEN
The Big Ten Conference office recently announced its Academic All-Big Ten teams for the Winter term and a conference-best nine Penn State men's gymnasts were recognized for their achievements in the classroom. Senior Matt Albecht (Kinesiology), redshirt juniors Warren Yang (Marketing) and Logan Wyman (Classics and Ancient Mediterranean Studies), junior Miguel Pineda (Science), and sophomores Felix Aronovich (Engineering), Matt Chelberg (Engineering), Mackenzie Dow (Science), Parker Raque (Business), and Scott Rosenthal (Health and Human Development) earned the honor. To be eligible for Academic All-Big Ten selection, student-athletes must be letter winners in at least their second academic year and carry a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or higher.