UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Fresh off a successful representation at the 2014 Winter Cup Challenge, the entire Penn State men's gymnastics team is set to host its final home regular season dual meet of the season. The seventh-ranked Nittany Lions welcome Big Ten foe No. 6 Minnesota to Rec Hall Saturday, March 1 at 7 p.m. on senior night.
This weekend, the Nittany Lions will look to keep their 5-0 undefeated streak alive, while also honoring the contributions of graduating seniors Wasef Burbar (Arlington Heights, Ill.), Adrian Evans (Boulder, Colo.), Preston Gall (Columbus, Ohio) and Ingvar Jochumsson (Kopavogur, Iceland), as they compete in Rec Hall for the final time.
Penn State enters the weekend ranked within the top 10 as a team on every apparatus. The Nittany Lions are averaging 74.467 on the rings, which is the fourth best in the NCAA, while also coming in at fifth overall on the pommel horse with an average score of 71.900.
Additionally, their 433.167 team total ranks the seventh highest, nationally. Last weekend sophomore Trevor Howard (Columbus, Ohio) and junior Craig Hernandez (Libertyville, Ill.) turned in a pair of solid performances at the Winter Cup Challenge. Howard finished 17th overall in the all-around, while Hernandez captured the championship title on the pommel horse in the final round of the two-day event.
Howard enters this weekend of competition leading a group of five Nittany Lions who are presently ranked within the top 20 nationally in various events. Averaging a score of 15.117, Howard's slotted highest on the parallel bars, while also ranking fifth nationally on the rings (15.617).
Howard will go head-to-head in the floor exercise this weekend against the Gophers' Sean Bauer. Bauer is positioned 10th nationally (15.200), while Howard is sitting at 11th, (15.183).
Sophomore Alexis Torres (Catano, Puerto Rico) enters the weekend ranked with the top 20 in both the floor exercise and on the rings. He's currently 12th nationally on the rings after posting a second-place finish with a score of 15.400 his last Big Ten outing against then-No. 5 Illinois.Torres is ranked 15th in the nation in the floor exercise after securing an individual title in the even with a top score of 15.300 against the Fighting Illini.
Sophomore Tristan Duverglas also enters the weekend coming off of a successful performance in his last outing. Against Illinois, he put up a top score of 15.350 on the vault to lock up an individual title before recording a career-best score of 14.350 on the parallel bars. Following his impressive performance on the vault, Duverglas earned the Gene Wettstone award and heads into this week's competition ranked No. 1 nationally on the apparatus.
Following the final weekend at home, the Nittany Lions will hit the road, traveling to Puerto Rico to take on members of the Puerto Rican national team in an exhibition-type competition in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Penn State will compete Friday, March 7th before returning home to train for its final Big Ten showdown of the season at Michigan Friday, March 14th.