Men's gymnastics heads to Minnesota for Big Ten Championships

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- After finishing an undefeated regular season two weeks ago at the University of Minnesota campus, the top-ranked Penn State men's gymnastics team will try to carry that momentum into the 2013 Big Ten Championships hosted by the Gophers April 5-6 at the Sports Pavilion.

Though the Nittany Lions sit atop the national rankings, they know that it will be no easy task if they want to return to Happy Valley with their third Big Ten Championship in program history. All seven teams in the Big Ten are ranked among the top-10 in the nation, with Michigan (No. 3) and Ohio State (No. 5) joining Penn State in the top-five.

Penn State will have a nice rotation order at the championships, starting with the parallel bars, high bar and floor exercise before having the bye rotation in the middle of the meet. They will finish out the competition by competing on the pommel horse, still rings and vault.

Since joining the Big Ten in 1992, Penn State has finished sixth (1993), third (1997 &2002) and runner-up (2007) at championships hosted by the University of Minnesota. Their two titles came at home during the 2008 championships and in Columbus, Ohio at the 2003 conference summit.

On the national lists, the Nittany Lions own the top team score - calculated by a four-score average with the top four scores averaged after dropping the highest score and not counting more than two home meets - on four events. Along with the top team score average in the country at 444.767, the Lions top the charts on the pommel horse (74.550), still rings (76.050), parallel bars (73.667) and high bar (74.800). They also rank second on the vault (74.440) and fourth on the floor exercise (74.183).

A trio of individuals also ranks atop the NCAA standings in their respective events, with Felix Aronovich (Kiryat Bialik, Israel), Wasef Burbar (Arlington Heights, Ill.) and Tristan Duverglas (West Orange, N.J.) topping the parallel bar, high bar and vault charts, respectively.

Burbar owns the nation's top individual score on the high bar to go along with his NCAA leading four-score average of 15.483. The junior is one of just four total gymnasts to record a score of 16.000 or better this season when he flew to a 16.000 mark to set a new school record vs. Springfield College on Feb. 23. The other 16.000 or better scores came on the floor exercise (twice) and the still rings.

Steady performers all season on their respective apparatus, Aronovich owns a four-score average of 15.217 on the parallel bars and Duverglas sits at 15.250 on the vault.

Freshman Trevor Howard (Columbus, Ohio) will look to continue his solid rookie campaign at the Big Ten Championships after winning eight Big Ten Freshman of the Week honors and winning at least one individual event or the all-around in all eight NCAA meets he competed in this season. The rookie ranks among the national leaders on the still rings (3rd, 15.483), vault (4th, 15.150) and parallel bars (2nd, 15.150). He owns the team's top individual score on the floor exercise (15.400), still rings (15.800) and vault (15.400) this season, while ranking second on the squad with a 15.350 showing on the parallel bars.

At the conclusion of the Big Ten Championships, Penn State will have two more weeks of training before turning its attention to hosting the 2013 NCAA men's gymnastics championships inside historic Rec Hall from April 19-21.

Contacts: 
Last Updated April 05, 2013