Men's gymnastics sweeps weekly awards

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The No.1 Penn State men's gymnastics team swept the Big Ten weekly awards as junior Wasef Burbar (Arlington Heights, Ill.) took home his first career Gymnast of the Week honor and Trevor Howard (Columbus, Ohio) was named the conference's Freshman of the Week for the fifth time this season.

After setting the school record last weekend on the high bar, Burbar put together another incredible performance vs. Springfield College to cap off the team's fifth straight dual meet victory. The junior soared to a score of 16.000 to best his own school standard and post the fourth highest mark on the event in NCAA history. The event was capped with a stick bonus for his perfect landing and made him the just the second Big Ten student-athlete to reach the 16.000 on the apparatus.

Burbar also finished sixth overall on the floor exercise with a career-best 14.450 and was fourth on the parallel bars with a mark of 14.700 to tie his previous personal-best score.

Howard continued his tear through the regular season by winning all three events in which he competed vs. Springfield College. The rookie set a new career-best and tied the team's highest mark of the season with a tally of 15.800 on the still rings and followed that with a victory on the vault and parallel bars. Howard boasted a score of 15.100 on the vault to finish just in front of teammate Tristan Duverglas (West Orange, N.J.) and had the vault specialist his first loss of the season on the event.

He capped his night by piling up a score of 15.350 on the parallel bars, which included the only stick bonus for PSU on the event, to win his second title on the apparatus this season. The score is tied for the best on the team this season and tied his personal best from the meet with No. 5 Ohio State.

Penn State has now won the Big Ten's Freshman of the Week award 15 times since the distinction was installed during the 2010 season, which is the most in Big Ten history. Howard is the fifth Nittany Lion to earn the award on multiple occasions and sixth PSU gymnast overall to win the award, both are tops for any Big Ten institution in men's gymnastics. With five weekly top rookie distinctions Howard is now second in Big Ten history, trailing only C.J. Maestas of Illinois who won six during the 2012 campaign.

No. 1 Penn State returns to competition Saturday when it travels to Champaign, Ill. to face off with No.7 Illinois at 5 p.m. EST.

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Last Updated February 28, 2013