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April 19, 2018
MEN'S GYMNASTICS READY FOR NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS
The Penn State men's gymnastics team is in search of its nation-leading 13th National Championship Friday, April 20-Saturday, April 21 at UIC. The Nittany Lions will compete in session II with the first event slated for 7 p.m. The top three teams of session I and session II will qualify for the team event finals on Saturday, April 21 starting at 7 p.m. at the UIC Pavilion.
SESSION II COMPETITION
Penn State will be in the second session Friday, April 20 and will compete to earn a top-three spot for the team finals on Saturday, April 21. The Nittany Lions will go up against No. 1 Oklahoma, No. 4 Illinois, No. 5 Ohio State, No. 9 Iowa, and No. 12 California to compete for a spot in the team finals.
The Blue and White will start on the vault before moving to the parallel bars and finishing the third rotation on the high bar. Penn State will compete on the floor exercise in rotation four, the pommel horse in the fifth rotation and close out the meet on the still rings.
NITTANY LIONS IN THE POSTSEASON IN CHICAGO
Penn State has not had a lot of experience in Chicago, Illinois in the postseason, having just competed there two times in the history of the program. The Nittany Lions captured the 1948 National Championship and placed fifth in the 1949 National AAU but has not seen any other postseason competition hosted by UIC at the Pavilion.
ROBERSON LOOKING FOR SECOND-STRAIGHT ELITE 90 AWARD
Redshirt-junior Noah Roberson is one of the 2018 men's gymnastics Elite 90 nominees after exhibiting hard work on the mat and in the classroom. Roberson captured the award in the 2017 campaign and was a finalist in 2016. The ELITE 90, an award founded by the NCAA, recognizes the true essence of the student-athlete by honoring the individual who has reached the pinnacle of competition at the national championship level in his or her sport, while also achieving the highest academic standard among his or her peers. The Elite 90 is presented to the student-athlete with the highest cumulative grade-point average participating at the finals site for each of the NCAA's 90 championships. Roberson has a 4.0 cumulative grade point average as a double major in biomedical and mechanical engineering. The Williamsville, New York native has competed on the still rings 10 times this season for the Blue and White taking home three event victories and competing in the Big Ten Championships in the individual event finals.
DEFENDING A TITLE
Sophomore Stephen Nedoroscik heads to the 2018 NCAA Championships as the reigning pommel horse national champion, scoring a 14.900 to earn the victory in the 2017 campaign. One year ago, Nedoroscik was the first routine of the evening as his score held for the remainder of the meet allowing him to capture the title as a freshman. This year, Nedoroscik will look to join Brandon Stefaniak and Mark Sohn as repeat national champions for Penn State on the pommel horse. Stefaniak won the title in both 1999 and 2000, while Sohn captured the title for four-straight seasons from 1989-1991. Nedoroscik bested his score from the national championship when he scored a 15.000 to earn the title at the West Point Open to kick off the season. The Worcester, Massachusetts native has taken home seven titles in his second year donning the Blue and White, including becoming the 2018 Big Ten Pommel Horse Champion. Nedoroscik currently ranks third nationally and will have to go up against Brandon Ngai of Illinois, who comes in at No. 1 and Alec Yoder of Ohio State, who ranks No. 2, who he beat two weeks ago at the Big Ten Championships.
PANTAZIS BECOMES SECOND B1G FLOOR CHAMPION FOR PENN STATE
Freshman Brennan Pantazis became just the 13th Individual Big Ten Champion in the history of Penn State men's gymnastics after winning the floor exercise at the 2018 Big Ten Championships. Pantazis scored a 14.275 to lead the field, becoming just the second Penn State gymnast to capture the Big Ten floor title and the first since Mike Dutka earned the honor in the 1998 season. The Sparks, Nevada native currently ranks sixth nationally on the floor exercise with a NQA of 14.256. This season, Pantazis captured two floor titles and two parallel bar titles for the Blue and White, while earning 13 podium finishes in his first season as a Nittany Lion.
NEDOROSCIK CAPTURES B1G POMMEL HORSE TITLE
Reigning NCAA pommel horse National Champion Stephen Nedoroscik added another big win to his accolades as he notched the 2018 Big Ten Pommel Horse Individual Championship. The sophomore pommel horse specialist finished third in the team final before coming back to score a 14.475 in the finals, finishing .225 ahead of Ohio State's Alec Yoder. Nedoroscik became the 14th Individual Big Ten Champion in the history of Penn State men's gymnastics and was just the third Nittany Lion to earn the pommel horse title as Craig Hernandez captured the title in both 2012 and 2013 and Mike Dutka earned the win in the 1998 season.
FOUR NOTCH BIG TEN ACCOLADES
Freshman Brennan Pantazis and sophomore Stephen Nedoroscik garnered First Team All-Big Ten honors, while junior Greg Tamargo was named to the second team. Junior Wyatt Tyndall garnered the Sportsmanship Award for the Nittany Lions, competing on four events this winter and earning three individual titles. Pantazis and Nedoroscik become the 13th and 14th Big Ten Individual Event Champions in Penn State men's gymnastics history at the 2018 Big Ten Championships and are the first since Trevor Howard earned the high bar title in the 2016 campaign. Furthermore the duo are the first pair of Penn State gymnasts to earn a title in the same year since 2015 when Howard and Matthew Felleman each took home individual titles. Tamargo also earned a podium finish for the Blue and White at the Big Ten Championships, scoring a 13.875 on the still rings to place third overall. The Kennett Square, Pennsylvania native captured both a still rings and a parallel bars title during the regular season.
STACKING UP AGAINST THE COMPETITION
The Nittany Lions head to the 2018 NCAA Championships ranked in the top five on four different events, coming in at third on the still rings, fourth on the floor exercise and parallel bars and fifth on the pommel horse. Penn State holds the highest floor ranking in session II, while Oklahoma, Iowa, and Ohio State all hold higher rankings than the Nittany Lions on the pommel horse. The Blue and White sit behind Oklahoma and Ohio State on the still rings and both Oklahoma and Illinois rank ahead of Penn State on the vault. In the final two rotations, Oklahoma ranks No.1 and Ohio State comes in at No. 3 on the parallel bars and the Sooners are No. 1 on the high bar, while Illinois comes in at No. 2, and Ohio State ranks fifth.
11 EARN ACADEMIC ALL-BIG TEN
The Penn State men's gymnastics team notched 11 student-athletes on the 2018 Big Ten Academic All-Big Ten honors list. To be eligible for Academic All-Big Ten selection, students must be on a varsity team, as verified by being on the official squad list as of March 1 for winter sports, who have been enrolled full-time at the institution for a minimum of 12 months and carry a cumulative grade-point average of 3.0 or higher. Penn State's honorees included: Brayden Borromeo, Michael Burns, Colin Coates, Benjamin Cooperman, Stephen Nedoroscik, Noah Roberson, Chris Sands, Greg Tamargo, Alex Thomason, Wyatt Tyndall, and Sam Zakutney.