Lawson captures floor exercise title at NCAA Championships

April 16, 2015

NORMAN, Okla. -- Freshman Thad Lawson (Chesapeake, Va.) etched his name into history Saturday night as he captured the 2015 NCAA individual title on the floor exercise inside the Lloyd Noble Center. Along with Lawson, four other Nittany Lions recorded All-America finishes.

"It was great showing by our five All-Americans tonight," head coach Randy Jepson said. "I am proud of all five of them and especially Thad Lawson, competing as a freshman."

Lawson captured the individual title on the floor exercise with his career-high score of 15.725, which is his third score of 15.700 or higher on the floor exercise this year. Last night, he posted a mark of 15.700 for the top spot in the team finals. His score of 15.725 ranks No. 5 all-time in the Penn State record books.

"It's always been a dream," Lawson said. "It definitely was in the back of my mind going through the season, and I was just trying to work to make that a reality."

Lawson becomes Penn State's 53rd NCAA champion and he is the fourth Nittany Lion to bring home the individual floor exercise title. He is also the second freshman to win the NCAA floor exercise title in the past three years (Trevor Howard -- 2013).

"I knew last night I came in first and was leading, and I knew I had to take it one skill at a time and not get ahead of myself," Lawson added. "The biggest thing was sticking the dismount and getting two tenths back. I told myself, 'I'm not moving after this triple full. I'm not moving.' I just did the same thing and came through." 

The Nittany Lions recorded a pair of All-America finishes on the still rings from senior captain Tristan Duverglas (West Orange, N.J.) and Alexis Torres (Catano, Puerto Rico). Torres tallied a score of 15.750 for third and Duverglas tied for fourth with his score of 15.600. Torres repeats as an All-American on the still rings, while Duverglas secures his first All-America finish.

Leroy Clarke, Jr. (Maplewood, N.J.) captured his first All-America finish Saturday night with a sixth-place finish on the parallel bars; Clarke, Jr. posted a score of 14.725.

Adding to the Nittany Lion All-America citation tally was senior Matthew Felleman (Medway, Mass.). After finishing fourth on the high bar in 2013, Felleman posted a fifth-place finish on the high bar Saturday night with his score of 14.900.

"We thought we were underrated heading into the season and demonstrated we our strength throughout the season," Jepson added. "We made a strong statement towards our future."

The Penn State men's gymnastics team closes the 2015 season with a Big Ten team title, two Big Ten champions, a third-place finish at the NCAA meet, one national champion and six All-Americans.

With the five All-America citations Saturday, the Nittany Lions have now garnered 311 All-America citations since 1938. 

Last Updated April 16, 2015