Howard paves way with all-around title as No. 1 Penn St. beats No. 5 Ohio St.
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- It was the Big Ten opener for the No. 1 men's gymnastics team and when the dust settled Penn State claimed a 444.300-432.300 decision against No. 5 Ohio State on Saturday. The Nittany Lions posted the top team score on five of the six events, won five of the six individual events, and Trevor Howard won the all-around title.
"I wanted to see us stay healthy and have less than four misses [Saturday night]," Penn State head coach Randy Jepson said, "and we were able to do that. Overall I am very pleased, but we have a lot of points that we can get back on landings. We only stuck three landings [Saturday night] and that is something we are going to have to get better at. The good news is there is a lot of room for fine-tuning."
The Nittany Lions posted a season-best score right from the start when they compiled a score of 74.550, behind strong efforts from the freshman Howard and seniors Matt Chelberg and Parker Raque. Howard was competing on the floor for just the second time this season and boasted the top score in the event with a mark of 15.400. His mark is the highest on the team this season, while Chelberg boasted a 15.000 score for the second time in 2013. A 14.900 tally for Raque gave Penn State the top three scores in the event.
After taking the early lead on the team score, Penn State added to its lead throughout the meet, winning every team event and tying the Buckeyes on the high bar. It was the second-highest team total of the season for Penn State and makes it 7-0 with an average score of 444.305 through three competitions.
"I was really pleased with Trevor," Jepson said. "He had only done high bar and floor one other time this season. The biggest thing I saw with Trevor [Saturday night] was that he competed on pommel horse. He didn't just participate, he competed in that routine. He has had some trouble before on the pommel horse and even though it is not a big score it is a key development for him as a gymnast."
Craig Hernandez won his second consecutive pommel horse title when he tied with Ohio State's Michael Newburger atop the charts with a 15.400 score. It is the second-highest score of the season for the Nittany Lions, while senior Felix Aronovich and junior Adrian Evans added 14.900 scores on the pommel.
Howard opened the meet with a win and, after posting his lowest score of the meet on the pommel horse, shined on the still rings to win the second of his third individual titles. He boasted the top score of 15.100 and was followed by junior Nestor Rodriguez (15.000) and Aronovich (14.950) to sweep the top-three spots in the event. Howard finished fifth on the vault (14.900), won the parallel bars (15.350) and finished eighth on the high bar (14.200). He trailed in the all-around entering the parallel bars, but outscored his lone opponent, Ohio State's Jake Martin, on the final two events to earn his second all-around title of the season.
The all-around competition finished with Howard posting a total score of 88.250 and Martin ending with 88.000.
Sophomore Tristan Duverglas won the fifth of the Nittany Lions' individual titles when he topped the field on the vault with a score of 15.150. It was the second vault title that Duverglas has won this season, claiming the top spot on the podium two weekends ago at the Navy Open.