Penn State Gymnastics ready for NCAA Championships

The Penn State's Christian McSwain competes on the pommel horse against Iowa on March 25, 2017. The Nittany Lions won 420.400 - 414.000 . Photo/Craig houtz

The Penn State men’s gymnastics team is in search of its nation-leading 13th National Championship Friday, April 21-Saturday, April 22 at Army West Point.

The Nittany Lions will compete in session I with the first event slated for 1 p.m. The top three teams of session I and session II will qualify for the team event finals on Saturday, April 22 starting at 7 p.m. at the Holleder Center.



Penn State will be in the first session today and will compete to earn a top-three spot for the team finals on Saturday, April 22. The Nittany Lions will go up against No. 2 Stanford, No. 3 Ohio State, No. 7 Nebraska, No. 9 Michigan and No. 11 Air Force to compete for a spot in the team finals.


Penn State will start on the parallel bars before moving to the high bar and finishing the third rotation on the floor exercise. The Nittany Lions will compete on the pommel horse in rotation four, the still rings in the fifth rotation and close out the meet on the vault.



The Nittany Lions have competed for a championship on the campus of Army West Point six times, dating back to the 1940 Intercollegiates. Penn State finished eighth in its most recent trip to West Point, New York for the 2010 NCAA Championships and garnered back-to-back fourth-place finishes in 2005 and 2006 at Army West Point. Prior to the 2005 campaign, the Blue and White competed in two regional finals at Army with third-place finishes in the 1994 and 1997 regional. Finally, Penn State finished eighth in the 1980 NCAA Championships and 10th in the 1950 championships.


Penn State has competed at West Point on multiple occasions throughout the years with its seniors competing at the Holledar Center all four years of their collegiate careers. The Nittany Lions have won the annual West Point Open 18 times, including the past four years while sweeping the individual event titles in the 2016 campaign. Overall, Penn State has seen 83 individual event champions inside Holledar Center and will be looking for its first National Championship inside the historic facility.



Redshirt-sophomore Noah Roberson is one of the 2017 men’s gymnastics Elite 90 nominees after exhibiting hard work on the mat and in the classroom. The ELITE 90, an award founded by the NCAA, recognizes the true essence of the student-athlete by honoring the individual who has reached the pinnacle of competition at the national championship level in his or her sport, while also achieving the highest academic standard among his or her peers. The Elite 90 is presented to the student-athlete with the highest cumulative grade-point average participating at the finals site for each of the NCAA’s 90 championships.

Roberson has a 4.0 cumulative grade point average as a double major in biomedical and mechanical engineering. The Williamsville, N.Y. native has competed six times for Penn State in his redshirt-sophomore campaign on both the floor exercise and the still rings.




After earning Big Ten Conference Freshman of the Week honors four time in the regular season, freshman Sam Zakutney garnered Big Ten Freshman of the Year honors as announced at the Big Ten Individual Event Finals. Zakutney is the first Nittany Lion to earn the honor since Trevor Howard captured it in the 2013 campaign. Furthermore, the Ottawa, Ontario native is one of just four Nittany Lions to earn the award as Felix Aronovich earned it in 2010 and Mike Dutka captured the honor in 1997.

In his first year donning the Blue and White, Zakutney captured nine titles and saw 21 podium finishes. Zakutney earned titles in four separate events, including: floor exercise, parallel bars, high bar and the all-around. For his efforts in his freshman season, he earned Big Ten Freshman of the Week honors on four occasions Zakutney competed in the all-around eight times in his first season as a Nittany Lions, while earning the victory twice.




Sophomore Wyatt Tyndall was named Second Team All-Big Ten as well as garnering the Big Ten Sportsmanship Award after competing in two individual event finals at the Big Ten Championships. Tyndall notched a podium finish in his first Big Ten Championship Individual Event Finals on the floor exercise Saturday, April 8 at Illinois. Overall, Penn State had six gymnasts compete in the individual event finals with Tyndall competing in a team-best two events. Tyndall earned a podium finish on the floor exercise, placing third overall with a 14.425 in the event. The Saskatoon, Saskatchewan native rounded out the championships with an appearance on the parallel bars.



The Penn State men’s gymnastics team placed fourth at the 2017 Big Ten Championships, scoring a 411.200 Friday, April 7 at the State Farm Center. Ohio State captured its second-straight Big Ten title scoring a 418.600 behind a first-place all-around finish from Sean Melton, while Illinois placed second overall with a 416.400. The Golden Gophers of Minnesota rounded out the top three with a 413.300 and Penn State came in fourth overall with its 411.200. Nebraska, Iowa and Michigan closed out the Big Ten Championships with 410.000, 402.150 and 401.250, respectively.



Penn State student-athletes continue to add onto their academic achievements with the announcement of the 2016-17 Winter Academic All-Big Ten honorees. The Nittany Lions tallied 76 honorees, the second-highest winter total in school history, just shy of last winter’s record total of 79.

The Nittany Lions ranked third among all Big Ten institutions in 2016-17 winter Academic All-Big Ten honorees. The gymnastics team had 12 Academic All-Big Ten recipients including junior Noah Roberson, who owns a 4.0 GPA in biomedical engineering. Led by Coach Randy Jepson, the Nittany Lions were second in the Conference in honorees. Also earning Academic All-Big Ten honors for the Blue and White were Joseph Boyle, Michael Burns, Franz Card, Colin Coates, Benjamin Cooperman, Dominic DiFulvio, Christian McSwain, Jeremy Munn, Chris Sands, Alex Thomason and Wyatt Tyndall.