Clearfield's Scott Rosenthal making a name for himself at PSU|
Tuesday, June 26, 2012
By Jon Christoff Sports Writer
World-class athletes will gather in London for the summer Olympic games next month, and trying to compete against the world's best four years down the road isn't something that Clearfield's Scott Rosenthal has ruled out.
Rosenthal, fresh off an appearance at the U.S. National meet, has one more thing he'd like to check off his long list of goals at the collegiate level.
The Nittany Lion junior has a Big Ten title and runner-up finishes within the conference and at the NCAA meet in the still rings, and has 22 wins in the event and 34 top three finishes.
There's just one thing eluding Rosenthal - a national title.
Rosenthal bested the Illinois' C.J. Maestas, the Illini's top still rings competitor, five out of six times this past season.
Maestas didn't have an answer for Rosenthal in their first five meetings, but proved the persistence paid off on the biggest stage of the season.
Rosenthal, who eclipsed the 16.000 mark on five occasions this season, was the favorite going in, but Maestas edged him out to win the NCAA championship.
Rosenthal is understandably motivated more now than ever - even though he doesn't hold a grudge over his rival.
"It really helps me by giving me something to shoot for," said Rosenthal of missing out on a national championship.
"I'm doing everything I can do this year to make sure I'm on top next year, no matter what. It gives me purpose everyday to go to the gym and something to drive for.
"I beat him five out of six times last year - the exception being at nationals. He showed he can be a threat the whole way through, and he proved that at the end."
At the NCAAs, Rosenthal performed his routine to the best of his ability, but Maestas' mark of 15.300 was .050 better.
"We were really close throughout the season," said Rosenthal. "It wasn't a let down. I knew it was possible at the end of the season. I have no regrets. I did my routine the best I could, so I was pretty happy with it.
"If I would have went out there and made a mistake, I might feel differently. I did the best I could do, though, and that's all you can really ask for going out there."
Rosenthal set the tone for a big junior season early in the year, as he bested three-time All-American Tommy Ramos' school mark in emphatic fashion in a meet at Springfield College. Ramos' mark of 16.000 was nowhere close to the 2009 Clearfield graduate's mark of 16.300.
As if that wasn't impressive enough only one other gymnast in the NCAA scored a 16.000 or better, and he only did it once.
"It was a really good learning experience," Rosenthal said of his junior campaign. "It was a successful season. The way I train and compete, it leads to the accomplishments and the awards.
"It was a really good experience to build for next year."
After winning a qualifier to get the chance to compete at U.S. Nationals, Rosenthal saw where he stacked up against the nation's best - against college gymnasts, past and present.
Rosenthal finished fifth in the still rings, but only the top 15 gymnasts overall advance to the Olympic trials where the top six qualify for London.
"If I would have had a good shot at qualifying, (an Olympic redshirt) would have been a reasonable option," said Rosenthal of potentially forgoing his junior year to train for the trials.
"Since I only compete in the still rings, it makes me a weak candidate for making the team. They really need guys that can fill in all the events."
Rosenthal will wrap up his undergraduate studies in Kinesiology next spring, but has no plans of joining the work force in the immediate future after being accepted into Penn State's masters program.
Depending how things develop, both physically and professionally, over the course of the next four years will determine if Rosenthal gives the next Olympiad a serious look.
As for now, however, Rosenthal is focused on leaving his college career at the top - both individually and team-wise.
"I want to win individually and I want a team title," said Rosenthal, whose Nittany Lions host the 2013 NCAA Championship Meet.
"I'd love to have that victory. My last competition of my career and my last competition in that building (Rec Hall), that would be the best time to win it."