Howard wins rings title, Penn State third at Big Ten Gymnastics Championships

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Sophomore Trevor Howard (Columbus, Ohio) headlined the group of Nittany Lion competitors in the individual finals of the 2014 Big Ten Championships with his first conference title of his career on the still rings Saturday evening at the Bob Devaney Center in Lincoln, Neb. 

On Friday night, the Nittany Lions took a third place team finish.

Howard swung to a career-high score of 15.825 to finish with the top score on the rings. The title marks the eighth time in program history a Nittany Lion has claimed the top spot on the rings in the individual finals at the Big Ten Championship, and first since Scott Rosenthal in 2012.

Howard also added another top-five finish, as he recorded a fifth place finish on the vault with a score of 14.875. The three-time Big Ten Gymnast of the Week earned First Team All-Big Ten honors for his performances this season.

Junior Craig Hernandez (Libertyville, Ill.) closed out the weekend with a runner-up finish on the pommel horse, recording 15.175 to place second behind Minnesota's Ellis Mannon. Hernandez earned Second Team All-Big Ten honors for his standout performances on the pommel horse this season.

Competing on the vault, junior Tristan Duverglas (West Orange, N.J.) recorded a ninth-place finish with a score of 14.375. Redshirt junior Nestor Rodriguez (Guaynabo, Puerto Rico) competed on both the vault and the parallel bars, placing highest on the bars with a score of 14.825, which slotted him eighth. Senior Wasef Burbar (Arlington Heights, N.J.) also claimed an eighth-place finish with a score of 14.575 on the high bar.

Led by a top score on the vault from Duverglas, Penn State opened its postseason run on Friday night with a third-place team finish.

The Nittany Lions' total team score of 438.00 ranked third behind Ohio State (441.050) and eventual Big Ten Champion, Michigan (448.200). Illinois and Minnesota rounded out the top five finishers with scores of 435.350 and 429.150, respectively.

As a team, Penn State finished within the top five in all six events. The Nittany Lions registered a second-place finish on the vault (75.100) and a third-place finish on the parallel bars (73.900), while also finishing fourth on the floor exercise (73.700), pommel horse (71.450), rings (74.00) and high bar (69.850).

Although he did not compete in the individual finals, senior Preston Gall (Columbus, Ohio) earned conference recognition as he was selected as Penn State's sportsmanship honoree.

Ohio State led the way with three top finishers in the second session, securing individual titles on the vault, high bar and parallel bars. Illinois, Minnesota and Penn State grabbed one individual title each on the floor, pommel horse and rings, respectively.

Next up, Penn State will return home from the road to focus on training for the upcoming NCAA national championships. The Nittany Lions will head to Ann Arbor, Michigan to compete in the three-day event April 10-12 at Cliff Keen Arena.  

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Last Updated April 03, 2014