Men's gymnastics third at Big Ten Championships

Columbus, Ohio —The No. 7 Penn State men's gymnastics team didn't perform at its best on Friday evening at the team finals of the Big Ten Championships but the Nittany Lions did well enough to overtake two teams ranked above them, including host Ohio State, to place a surprising third. Penn State posted a team score of 347.300, a total just above its season average of 346.556 but below its three score average of 349.033.

Illinois claimed its conference-record 25th Big Ten title with a score of 359.700 while Michigan took a close second (358.150). Penn State was followed in the final standings by Ohio State (346.950), Minnesota (346.500), and Iowa (337.800).

Penn State tied a season-high in the still rings, totaling a 59.550, and posted totals above its season average in the parallel bars (56.600) and high bar (57.700) but had its struggles in the floor exercise (58.800), pommel horse (53.450), and vault (61.700).

Freshman Scott Rosenthal (Clearfield, Pa.) headlined Penn State's efforts on the still rings, finishing fifth with a score of 15.050. Sophomore Miguel Pineda (Galloway, Ohio) (T7th, 14.950), senior Noam Shaham (Kfar Saba, Israel) (10th, 14.800), and freshman Matt Chelberg (Athens, Ohio) (11th, 14.750) also contributed key routines.

For the second consecutive year, Nick Virbitsky (Harrisburg, Pa.) earned PSU's top finish in the team finals, finishing in a tie for third place in the floor exercise. His score of 15.300 was the third-best by a Nittany Lion this year.

Competing in the all-around for just the second time this year, freshman Felix Aronovich (Kiryat Bialik, Israel), placed seventh with a personal and team season best score of 84.800.

Aronovich named Co-Freshman of the Year

Seven Nittany Lions, including four freshmen, competed in the individual event finals of the 2010 Big Ten Men's Gymnastics Championships on Saturday evening at host Ohio State's St. John Arena in Columbus, Ohio.

Senior Nick Virbitsky (Harrisburg, Pa.) earned Second Team All-Big Ten honors, contributing Penn State's top showing by placing second in the floor exercise with a score of 15.375.

Year-end conference awards were also announced at the conclusion of the event with Felix Aronovich (Kiryat Bialik, Israel) being recognized as Big Ten Co-Freshman of the Year, becoming Penn State's first winner of the award since Mike Dutka in 1987. Aronovich was spectacular in his rookie season, claiming 13 top three finishes, including six titles, and earning Big Freshman of the Week honors twice. In the Big Ten team finals on Friday evening, Aronovich finished seventh in the all-around with a season-high score of 84.800. He shared the 2010 award with Illinois' Yoshi Mori.

Three Nittany Lions, sophomore Miguel Pineda (Galloway, Ohio), senior Noam Shaham (Kfar Saba, Israel), and freshman Scott Rosenthal (Clearfield, Pa.), competed in the individual finals of the still rings. Pineda led PSU, tying for third with a score of 15.125 while Shaham finished tied for seventh (14.750) and Rosenthal placed 10th (14.250).

Freshmen Tony Beck (Catasauqua, Pa.) and Nick Grant (Butler, Pa.) had solid performances in their first Big Ten Championships, placing fourth in the parallel bars and fifth in the vault, respectively.

Noam Shaham and junior Matt Albrecht (Guelph, Ont.) competed in the high bar finals with Shaham placing in a tie for seventh (14.725) and Albrecht finishing 10th (13.525).

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Last Updated November 18, 2010