Gymnasts Rosenthal, Hernandez capture Big Ten titles
IOWA CITY, Iowa — Penn State junior Scott Rosenthal (Clearfield, Pa.) and freshman Craig Hernandez (Libertyville, Ill.) were crowned Big Ten champions on Saturday, taking their place alongside eight other former Nittany Lion greats who also achieved the feat. The duo’s title wins highlighted an evening of solid overall performances by a group of 10 Nittany Lions that competed in the individual finals of the 2012 Big Ten Men’s Gymnastics Championships.
Rosenthal won the still rings (15.900) while Hernandez tied for first place in the pommel horse (14.850), sharing the title with Ohio State’s Ty Echard. The pair are Penn State’s first conference champions since 2008 when Tommy Ramos claimed his second still rings title and Casey Sandy won the all-around and parallel bars. Rosenthal secured Penn State’s seventh still rings title while Hernandez is the program’s first pommel horse champion since Mike Dutka in 1998.
Rosenthal’s title win adds another chapter to a brilliant regular season throughout much of which he was ranked No. 1 in the nation in the still rings. A year ago, he placed second in the event at the conference championships, earning Second Team All-Big Ten honors. Hernandez anchored Penn State’s formidable pommel horse line-up throughout the season, taking over the reins as the nation’s No. 1 pommel horse competitor late in the year. Penn State is currently ranked No. 1 in both the still rings and the pommel horse.
Junior Felix Aronovich (Kiryat Bialik, Israel), after earning First Team All-Big Ten honors with a fourth place finish in the all-around on Friday night, medaled in one event, placing third in the still rings (15.250). Aronovich also placed fourth in the parallel bars (14.700) and sixth in the high bar (14.300).
Redshirt sophomore Nihir Kothari (Malvern, Pa.) also medaled, sharing third place with Aronovich in the still rings.
Also competing for Penn State were junior Mackenzie Dow (Cranford, N.J.) (4th in pommel horse, 5th in high bar), freshman Tristan Duverglas (West Orange, N.J.) (5th in the vault), junior Parker Raque (Louisville, Ky.) (6h in floor exercise), sophomore Preston Gall (Columbus, Ohio) (9th in parallel bars), senior Miguel Pineda (Galloway, Ohio) (10th in still rings), and sophomore Adrian Evans (Boulder, Colo.) (10th in pommel horse).
In less than two weeks, the Nittany Lions will seek their NCAA-record 13th national title when they travel to Norman, Okla. for the 2012 National Collegiate Men’s Gymnastics Championships. From April 14-16, the nation’s elite collegiate gymnastics competitors will descend upon the Lloyd Noble Center and the campus of the University of Oklahoma to vie for team and individual glory. The competition begins on Thursday, April 19 with two qualifying sessions, scheduled for 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. ET. The top three teams from each qualifier then advance to vie for the national championship at 8 p.m. ET on Friday, April 20. The nation’s top all-around performer will also be crowned that evening. On Saturday, April 20, the individual event finals will be held at 8 p.m., with six national titles and All-American status at stake.