For the third weekend in a row, Stanford’s gymnastics teams split one win and one loss between the men’s and women’s squads — except this time, the winners and losers swapped roles.
Having gone 0-3 in its past two meets, including two losses to rival Cal, it might appear as though the Stanford men’s gymnastics team was reeling and in serious trouble. On Sunday afternoon, however, the No. 4 Cardinal dispelled these worries by posting a season-high score in its convincing victory over the No. 8 Michigan Wolverines.
In its first meet of the season in which it did not face off against Cal, Stanford was ready to prove that it was a force to be reckoned with in the NCAA. The Cardinal was able to accomplish this feat, as it managed to sweep all six events en route to a 351.050-341.700 win at Burnham Pavilion.
The team was again led by junior Eddie Penev, who won the overall competition with a score of 87.350, including a victory in floor exercise (15.500) and counting scores in all five other events. Penev sits atop the leaderboard in the country for the best average individual all-around score — thanks in large part to the vault, which is his strongest event.
Penev is followed closely in the vault by freshman Sean Senters, who is second in the country in the event. On Sunday afternoon, however, it was sophomore Cale Robinson who won the vault with a 15.400 score, his best score in any event on the season. The Cardinal is ranked first nationally on vault and put up a season-high 59.700 in the event to pull away from the Wolverines.
Redshirt junior Cameron Foreman also had quite the afternoon, winning both the parallel bars (15.000) and high bar (14.650). Both scores were season highs for the junior. The Cardinal put up team scores of 58.650 and 56.900 respectively in the two events.
The team’s total score of 351.050 was the first time all season that Stanford reached the 350-point mark, eclipsing its previous best score of 345.200 by nearly six points and its average total score by over seven points. The team improved to 4-4 against NCAA teams with Sunday’s win and hopes to carry this momentum as it travels to Oklahoma to compete against the Sooners, who beat Stanford 351.600-343.700 earlier in the season.
Coming off three victories in its past two meets, the No. 12 Stanford women’s gymnastics team seemed ready as ever to take on No. 5 Utah in front of 14,756 fans in Salt Lake City on Friday night. Though the meet was highlighted by many strong individual performances by the Cardinal gymnasts, the team fell just short with a 196.300-196.100 loss to the host Utes, the smallest margin of defeat of the season for Stanford.
Starting on the bars, the Cardinal posted a team score of 49.000, led by a pair of 9.850’s by senior Nicole Pechanec and junior Ashley Morgan. The team trailed after the first round by 0.300 points, but managed to take the lead going into the third round thanks to a 49.175 on vault, the team’s second-best score in the event of the season. Junior Nicole Dayton led Stanford on vault with a 9.900.
In the third rotation, Morgan’s 9.900 on floor was good enough to give her the victory in the event, but was not enough to make up for a fall and two out-of-bounds penalties from her teammates. The team’s 48.750 in the event was tied for its worst of the season on floor, and this opened up the door for the Utes to take the lead for good.
Though the team’s 49.175 on beam tied its season-best score for the event and narrowed the margin of deficit, it was still 0.200 points short of tying the Utes. However, the team was able to take away a bright note from the event, as sophomore Amanda Spinner, who has battled injuries throughout her career, earned her first collegiate victory with a 9.875. Not including a fall, every Cardinal gymnast put up a score of at least 9.800 in the event.
The team fell to 7-3 with the loss, but remains optimistic as the season continues. Stanford hosts Arizona and Cal next week at Burnham Pavilion for its last home meet of the season.