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Gymnastics: Pechanec notches career-best score in final Burnham meet

In the final regular-season meet at Burnham Pavilion of her career, senior Nicole Pechanec made sure to go out with a bang, as she won the overall competition with a career-best score of 39.450 points. She helped the No. 11 Cardinal earn its best score of the season (196.575) as well as the double victory against No. 17 Arizona (195.025) and No. 47 Cal (191.450).

Senior Nicole Pechanec recorded a career-best score of 39.450 points in the final home meet of her tenure on the Farm. (SIMON WARBY/The Stanford Daily

 

It was a day of record breaking for Stanford, which ended up setting 15 season-best and eight career-best scores by the end of the afternoon to extend its streak to 34 straight victories against conference opponents at home. The team has now won 26 straight meets over Cal, which hasn’t beaten the Cardinal since 2000.

 

Starting on vault, freshman Ivana Hong’s 9.900 led Stanford to a 49.200, 0.100 points shy of its season-best score in the event. Hong’s performance accounted for one of five scores of 9.900 or above for the Cardinal. Pechanec put up a 9.825 for the Cardinal, which got out to an early 0.375-point lead over second-place Arizona.

 

Entering the meet in the top 10 nationally in uneven bars, Stanford tied its season-best score in the event with a 49.400, the same score the team put up last time it faced Cal on Feb. 12. Pechanec led the charge, posting a 9.925 in the event for only the second time all season (the last time being against Cal as well).

 

The Cardinal managed to win the beam event despite four of its six competitors scoring under 9.800 and the team finishing shy of 49.000. Sophomore Amanda Spinner won the event once again, recording a 9.850. Pechanec followed close behind with a 9.800.

 

The Cardinal sealed the victory on the floor exercise, tying its second-best score of the season with a 49.000. Junior Ashley Morgan highlighted the event, scoring a career-high 9.950, the best individual score in any event all season for Stanford. Pechanec put up her second score of 9.900 or better in the event to round out her career-best performance.

 

Seniors Jenny Peter and Alyssa Brown were also honored and helped the Cardinal improve to 9-3 on the season. The Stanford women compete next against Arizona State on Friday.

 

Though posting a season-high score for the second straight week, the No. 4 Stanford men’s gymnastics team lost to No. 1 Oklahoma for the second time this season. The Cardinal was hoping to exact revenge for a loss to Oklahoma in Berkeley earlier this season, but the Stanford effort ultimately fell short, losing to the Sooners 356.950-351.400.

 

After the first two rounds, the Cardinal had a 0.200-point lead. The early going was highlighted by junior Eddie Penev’s 15.900 in the floor exercise, which earned him second in the event. Freshman Sean Senters also put up an impressive score, but his 15.200 was not enough as the team lost the event, 60.050-59.950.

 

It was on the pommel horse where the Cardinal made up its deficit, capitalizing on a poor performance by the Sooners. Stanford turned a 0.100-point deficit into a 0.200-point lead with a 58.550 on pommel horse, led by junior John Martin, who won the event with a 15.250.

 

However, Oklahoma took advantage of the rings in the third round to regain the lead — a lead it would not surrender for the rest of the meet. Although junior James Fosco earned the victory in the event with a score of 15.600, the Sooners outscored the Cardinal 60.550 to 58.550 to hold a 1.800-point lead going into the fourth round.

 

The Sooners were able to expand their lead, as Stanford score’s dropped in the final few rounds to let Oklahoma run away with it. Penev would ultimately finish second overall with a score of 87.900.

The loss dropped the Cardinal to 4-5 on the season, but the team is improving its score each week and looks poised to make a surge with playoffs around the corner. The team has two meets this coming weekend, as it competes at Ohio State on Friday and at the University of Illinois-Chicago on Sunday.