No. 1 men's gymnastics tops No. 7 Minnesota to complete perfect regular season

Head coach Randy Jepson and the Penn State men's gymnastics program have had their fair share of success in his 22 seasons at the helm, but with a 433.650-427.800 victory at No. 7 Minnesota on Saturday (March 23) evening the top-ranked Nittany Lions collected just the second undefeated season during his tenure in Happy Valley.

The victory sealed the 19th undefeated regular season in school history and pushed the Nittany Lions to 13-0 heading into the Big Ten Championships in Minneapolis. It's their first unblemished regular season since 2003 and just their fourth such occurrence in the last 40 years.

In another impressive showing, Penn State claimed the individual titles on the floor exercise, still rings, vault and parallel bars, while tying for top honors on the pommel horse. As a team, the Lions boasted the top team score on the floor exercise (73.900), pommel horse (72.600), still rings (73.800), vault (73.450) and parallel bar (72.550). Minnesota edged the Blue and White, 70.000-67.350, on the high bar.

It was an all around solid effort from the Nittany Lions, as Craig Hernandez (Libertyville, Ill.) and Matthew Felleman (Medway, Mass.) both collected a pair of top-two finishes and a host of others peppered the top-three in the standings.

Hernandez opened the competition with a 15.000 score on the pommel horse, his specialty, to tie for top honors with Minnesota's Ellis Mannon and followed that with a 15.100 showing on the floor, tying his season-best effort set vs. Springfield College, to finish second overall to teammate Alexis Torres (Catano, Puerto Rico). Torres topped the field in a personal-best 15.150.

Felleman grabbed a pair of runner-up finishes on the evening, scoring 14.650 on the parallel bars and 14.850 on the high bar, to help bolster the team score on both events. On the parallel bars, Felix Aronovich (Kiryat Bialik, Israel) claimed the individual title on the apparatus at 15.050 and senior Mackenzie Dow (Cranford, N.J.) tied for third on the high bar with a mark of 14.200.

Adrian Evans (Boulder, Colo.) pulled in a third place showing on the pommel horse to help the Nittany Lions win the event and notched a 14.950 to equal his second best score on the year.

The still rings and the vault were again solid events for Penn State, as Trevor Howard (Columbus, Ohio) won his 13th title of the season when he topped the rings rotation with a score of 15.150 and Tristan Duverglas (West Orange, N.J.) notched his fourth victory of the year on the vault with a score of 15.200.

Also on the rings senior Parker Raque and Scott Rosenthal tied for third place with identical scores of 14.900, while Torres (14.600) and Felleman (14.250) gave Penn State all five competitors in the top seven of the event standings. Raque and Howard helped the Lions collect the sweep on the vault, with scores of 14.900 and 14.850, respectively.

The Saturday contest will be aired on the Big Ten on tape delay, with the complete meet being shown on Sunday, Feb. 24 at Noon Eastern. Another broadcast of the event will also be shown on Tuesday, March 26 at 11 a.m. Eastern.

The dual meet with the Gophers marks the close of the regular season and the postseason begins on April 5-6 when the Nittany Lions travel back to Minneapolis to compete in the Big Ten Championships. Following the Big Ten summit, Penn State will turn its attention to hosting the 2013 NCAA men's gymnastics championships inside historic Rec Hall from April 19-21.

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Last Updated March 27, 2013