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June 7, 2011
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State men's gymnast Miguel Pineda (Galloway, Ohio) has been recognized on the Capital One Academic All-America® Men's At-Large First Team, as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA), honoring his standout efforts in the gym and in the classroom.
The Men's Academic All-America® At-Large program encompasses the sports of fencing, golf, gymnastics, ice hockey, lacrosse, rifle, skiing, tennis and water polo. Pineda is one of just 15 members selected to the first team from a pool that consists of over 10,000 student-athletes from in excess of 800 Division I squads. Pineda is the third Nittany Lion men's gymnast to receive the honor and the first since Jose Palacios in 2001.
Pineda, a rising senior, boasts a 3.99 grade point average in his chosen field of study, science. A two-time CGA First Team All-American Scholar Athlete and 2010 Big Ten Distinguished Scholar recipient, Pineda was instrumental in the men's gymnastics squad earning the Varsity `S' Award, an honor presented to the Penn State men's and women's teams with the highest team GPA.
Pineda was also the 2011 recipient of the prestigious Elite 88 Award; an honor presented to him at the NCAA/CGA Men's Gymnastics Awards Banquet, held prior to the 2011 National Collegiate Championships in Columbus, Ohio in April. The Elite 88, 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 88 is presented to the student-athlete with the highest cumulative grade-point average participating at the finals site for each of the NCAA's championships.
Pineda played an integral role in Penn State's 2011 success, particularly in serving as a cornerstone of one of the nation's most talented still rings line-ups. His continued emergence as a dominant force in the event at the 2011 National Collegiate Championships helped the Nittany Lions advance past the qualifier and into the team finals for the first time since 2008. Pineda set a career high in the rings, scoring a 15.900, to place first in the national qualifier and then followed it up by a second place finish in the individual event finals, earning his first All-America honor. He also medaled in the still rings at the Big Ten Championships, placing third. Overall, Pineda totaled 15 top three finishes in the event, including four title wins. He also significantly contributed in the pommel horse and parallel bars throughout the season.