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ROSEMONT, Ill. – The Penn State men’s gymnastics team was picked fifth in the 2018 Big Ten Men’s Gymnastics Preseason Coaches’ Poll, as announced by the conference office Thursday, Dec. 14. Along with the preseason coaches’ poll, sophomores Stephen Nedoroscik (Worcester, Mass.) and Sam Zakutney (Ottawa, Ontario) were named to the Gymnast to Watch List for the upcoming season.
For the fourth-straight season, Ohio State grabbed the top spot in the Big Ten Poll, while Minnesota and Illinois rounded out the top three places for the second-straight season. Nebraska came in as the number four preseason team in the conference with Penn State, Iowa and Michigan rounding out Big Ten Men’s Gymnastics Preseason Coaches’ Poll.
Head coach Randy Jepson returns to the helm of the Penn State program for his 27th season, looking for the squad’s fourth Big Ten title and nation-leading 13th National Championship. The 2018 Nittany Lion squad features two All-Americans and one national champion in Nedoroscik.
Nedoroscik won the 2017 national championship on the pommel horse with a career-best 14.900 to become the 54th individual NCAA National Champion. Furthermore, the then-freshman pommel horse specialist is the third freshman to capture an individual NCAA event title in the last five years and only the fourth-ever Penn State men’s gymnast to earn an individual event title. Nedoroscik joins the company of Mark Sohn (1988 pommel horse), Trevor Howard (2013 floor exercise) and Thad Lawson (2015 floor exercise) as the only four Penn State freshman men’s gymnasts to earn individual event titles.
Also returning this season for the Nittany Lions is Zakutney, who notched All-American with a fifth-place finish on the parallel bars. Zakutney was also named Big Ten Conference Freshman of the Year after earning four Big Ten Freshman of the Week honors in the 2017 season.
BIG TEN MEN’S GYMNASTICS PRESEASON COACHES’ POLL
- Ohio State
- Penn State
BIG TEN MEN’S GYMNASTS TO WATCH LIST
Alex Diab, Jr., ILL*
Chandler Eggleston, Sr., ILL*
Bennet Huang, Fr., IOWA
Rogelio Vazquez, Jr., IOWA
Cameron Bock, Fr., MICH
Jacob Moore, Fr., MICH
Jalon Stephens, Sr., MINN
Alex Wittenberg, Sr., MINN*
Antonio Castro, Sr., NEB*
Kyle King, Sr., NEB
Sean Melton, Sr., OSU
Alec Yoder, Jr., OSU
Stephen Nedoroscik, So., PSU
Sam Zakutney, So., PSU
* denotes Academic All-Big Ten honoree