University Park, Pa. — Penn State's Felix Aronovich (Kiryat Bialik, Israel) has been named Big Ten Gymnast of the Week, the conference office announced on Monday, becoming the third different Nittany Lion to earn the last three league honors. The sophomore all-arounder was recognized with the award for the second time in his career following his standout performance in the No. 5 Nittany Lions' tri-meet victories over No. 8 Minnesota and No. 10 Iowa last Saturday in Minneapolis.
Versus the Golden Gophers and the Hawkeyes, Aronovich played a key role in helping Penn State remain undefeated on the season and up its record versus Big Ten opponents to 5-0, totaling an 86.200 in the all-around. Highlighting his meet was a first place finish in the parallel bars (14.600), his fourth title in the event this season, and a second place showing in the high bar (14.800).
After an offseason in which he competed for his native Israel at the 2010 World Championships, Aronovich, who was named CGA National Gymnast of the Week on March 3, has been increasing his workload as the season progresses and has anchored the Penn State line-up. He leads the Nittany Lions, ranking nationally in four events - pommel horse, still rings, parallel bars, and high bar. Aronovich, who has totaled 18 top three finishes, has tied or set new personal bests in four events and the all-around this season. His parallel bars score of 15.400 at a tri-meet at Temple on Jan. 30 ranks third in the Penn State record book.
This week, the Nittany Lions will not only venture outside the NCAA for its next competition but also the country, visiting San Juan, Puerto Rico for an exhibition with the Puerto Rican National Team. The dual meet is scheduled for Fri., March 11 at 7 p.m. ET. Former Nittany Lion All-Americans Luis Vargas and Tommy Ramos will compete for Puerto Rico while current PSU gymnasts and Francisco Vazquez and freshman Nestor Rodriguez (Guaynabo, P.R.) will return home to perform in front of friends and family. Penn State has not competed against an international opponent during the regular season since March 1, 2005 when it hosted a team of college all-stars from Japan at Rec Hall.