Men's gymnastics wraps up Big Ten Championships

Sophomore Craig Hernandez (Libertyville, Ill.) headlined the contingent of Nittany Lions competing during the individual finals at the Big Ten Championships on Saturday (April 6) inside the Sports Pavilion on the campus of the University of Minnesota when he claimed his second straight pommel horse championship.

Penn State also picked up the Big Ten Freshman of the Year award when Trevor Howard earned the top rookie honors. Howard earned the program's third freshman of the year honor after winning eight Big Ten Freshman of the Week honors and claiming at least one individual event or the all-around in all eight NCAA regular season meets he competed in this season. He also ranked among the top-five in the NCAA on the still rings, vault and parallel bars.

Howard joins teammate Felix Aronovich (Kiryat Bialik, Israel) and former Nittany Lion Mike Dutka as the only freshman to claim the award. Aronovich was the co-freshman of the year in 2010, while Dutka earned his billing in 1997.

Hernandez becomes the first Nittany Lion to rock his way to consecutive titles on the pommel horse when he boasted a winning score of 15.475. The sophomore topped the charts by over one-half of a point and led a contingent of four Penn Staters in the top five of the event. He won the title as a true freshman last season with a tally of 14.850 and bested that effort this season to earn first team All-Big Ten.

Adrian Evans (Boulder, Colo.) claimed third place in the event with a tally of 14.700, followed by Preston Gall (Columbus, Ohio) in fourth at 14.675 and Mackenzie Dow (Cranford, N.J.) in fifth with a score of 14.500.

Howard finished fourth on the vault, tied for fourth on the floor exercise and finished fifth on the still rings. The rookie posted scores of 15.200 on the floor, 15.100 on the rings and 15.025.

Matthew Felleman (Medway, Mass.) grabbed a third place showing on the still rings with a mark of 15.375 and followed that with a fourth place finish on the high bar in 14.900.

Aronovich was also named to the first team All-Big Ten squad after placing fifth in the all-around with a score of 84.200 on Friday night.

Senior Scott Rosenthal (Clearfield, Pa.) was the Penn State sportsmanship award recipient for the second straight season.

Michigan won three of the six individual titles, while Illinois, Iowa and Penn State each claimed one. Michigan's Stacey Ervin won the floor exercise, Syque Caesar claimed the parallel bars title and Sam Mikulak topped the high bar charts. Illinois Fred Hartville topped the vault rotation and Javier Balboa of Iowa won the still rings.

Penn State will now turn its attention to hosting the 2013 NCAA Men's Gymnastics Championships inside historic Rec Hall from April 19-21.

Contacts: 
Last Updated April 08, 2013