Albrecht and Aronovich Named Big Ten Gymnasts to Watch in 2011
Dec. 15, 2010
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State senior Matt Albrecht (Guelph, Ont.) and sophomore Felix Aronovich (Kiryat Bialik, Israel) have been named Big Gymnasts to Watch in 2011, the conference office announced on Wednesday. Also released was the coaches' annual preseason poll, in which Penn State was selected to place fourth.
Albrecht, the 2011 Nittany Lion team captain, is coming off a season in which he set career bests in four events (floor exercise, pommel horse, parallel bars, and high bar), including three in a single meet, a home dual with Oklahoma. The native Canadian earned five top three finishes in 2010 in just his second season in Happy Valley, including a first place showing in the parallel bars in the individual finals of the West Point Open.
Aronovich was spectacular in his rookie season, earning Big Ten Co-Freshman of the Year honors to become Penn State's first winner of the award since Mike Dutka in 1997. In 2010, he claimed 13 top three finishes, including six titles, and earning Big Freshman of the Week honors twice. Aronovich emerged as the Nittany Lions top pommel horse competitor, earning the team's top two highest scores of the season (15.100 and 14.800). He also posted PSU's best score of the year in the parallel bars, receiving a 14.850 in a March home meet with Minnesota and Temple. In the Big Ten Championship team finals, Aronovich finished seventh in the all-around, recording a team season-high score of 84.800.
Guided by 20-year veteran head coach Randy Jepson, the Penn State men's gymnastics team enters the 2011 campaign ranked No. 7 in the national preseason coaches' poll. With 16 of its 21 members possessing one season or less of collegiate experience, the Nittany Lions will be a young but talented squad. Penn State will open the season on Jan. 8, when it hosts Army in a 7 p.m. dual meet at Rec Hall. Other home dates in 2011 include match-ups with defending national champion Michigan (Jan. 22, 7 p.m.), Springfield College (Feb. 12, 7 p.m.), and Big Ten rival Ohio State (Feb. 26, 1 p.m.).