UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Following an outstanding winter athletic campaign, highlighted by an NCAA Wrestling Championship most recently, Penn State sits third in the most recent 2011-12 Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup Standings. This is the third-straight year Penn State has finished in the top three after the winter season and has finished in the top five the last seven years.
Penn State will be looking for its 14th Top 15 finish in the 18-year history of the Directors’ Cup, placing in the Top 25 every year, with eight Top 10 finishes. Stanford, who won its 17th consecutive Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup for 2010-11, currently sits in first place. Penn State is one of five Big Ten schools that sit in the current Top 10 (Ohio State 2nd, Michigan 5th, Minnesota 6th, Wisconsin 10th). With all 15 winter NCAA championships now completed, Penn State has accumulated 529 total points including 265 points from this winter. The first spring Division I standings will be released on May 31.
In men’s gymnastics, Penn State finished in third place at the team finals of the 2012 National Collegiate Men’s Gymnastics Championships, which were held at Oklahoma’s Lloyd Noble Center in Norman. The Nittany Lions recorded a team score of 354.800. Seven Penn State men’s gymnasts, Felix Aronovich (Kiryat Bialik, Israel), Adrian Evans (Boulder, Colo.), Craig Hernandez (Libertyville, Ill.), Nihir Kothari (Malvern, Pa.), Parker Raque (Louisville, Ky.), Nestor Rodriguez (Guaynabo, P.R.), and Scott Rosenthal (Clearfield, Pa.) earned All-America honors with top eight finishes in the individual finals. The seven Nittany Lion All-Americans is the most since the 1959 national championship team equaled that number.
Penn State women’s gymnastics junior Sharaya Musser (Colorado Springs, Colo.) earned NACGC/W All-America status at the NCAA Championships. Musser now has six NACGC/W All-America honors for her career. Musser secured Second Team All-America status on beam and floor to bring her career honors to six. Musser was awarded First Team All-America honors on vault and in the all-around, as well as Second Team All-America laurels on beam and floor in 2010 as a freshman.
The Penn State Nittany Lion wrestling team added three new individual champions to its ledgers to complete a stellar run to the 2012 NCAA National Championship. Senior Frank Molinaro (Barnegat, N.J.), sophomore David Taylor (St. Paris, Ohio) and sophomore Ed Ruth (Harrisburg, Pa.) all claimed crowns as Penn State won its second straight NCAA team title. The Nittany Lions outdistanced second place Minnesota by 25.5 points. The Nittany Lions checked in with 143.0 points while the Gophers were second with 117.5.
Led by junior Alex Bentley (Indianapolis, Ind.) and sophomore Maggie Lucas (Narberth, Pa.), the Lady Lions returned to the national stage with their first Big Ten regular-season title and NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen bid since 2003-04. Penn State, which compiled a 26-7 overall record and 13-3 mark in conference play, finished the season ranked ninth in the ESPN/USA Today poll and 11th in the AP poll.
Penn State is one of only nine programs nationwide that has finished in the final Top 25 in every Directors’ Cup Standings, being joined by: Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio State, Southern California, Stanford, Texas and UCLA.
Penn State has won 21 NCAA Championships since 1993-94, its first full year in the Big Ten Conference, more than double every other Big Ten institution. Iowa and Minnesota are tied for second with nine. The Nittany Lions’ 11 NCAA Championships since March 2007 lead the nation.
The Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup standings were developed as a joint effort between the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) and USA Today. Points are awarded based on each institution’s finish in up to 20 sports — 10 women’s and 10 men’s.