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Vaculik, Modi lead Cardinal squads to victory

It was a good weekend for Cardinal gymnastics, with both the men’s and women’s teams putting on a show in front of the home crowd. On Saturday, the No. 3 men’s squad took down No. 4 Cal for the second time in as many weeks. Then, on Sunday, the No. 12 women’s team picked up a comeback win in a tri-meet with Arizona and Sacramento State.

For the second straight week, freshman Akash Modi shined, taking the all-around title. Modi won the parallel bars in impressive fashion with a 15.850, which is the fourth-highest collegiate score since 2008. The freshman also picked up the win on the floor with a 15.400 en route to the all-around victory.

(isiphotos.com)

Senior Kristina Vaculik (above) used strong floor and bar routines to help Stanford snag a come-from-behind victory.  (isiphotos.com)

“No matter how good you are in the junior ranks, there’s a transition period into the senior and collegiate ranks, and [Modi] hasn’t missed a step,” head coach Thom Glielmi told GoStanford.com. “He’s into the team concept and clearly a big contributor.”

The Cardinal’s big event was the pommel horse, which saw Stanford beat Cal 72.250 to 66.150 to take a lead that it would not relinquish. Senior Chris Turner picked up the individual victory with a 15.100 and Modi finished second with a 14.850, but the key for Stanford was its depth. Every player in the Cardinal’s top five finished with a score above 14.000, while Cal only had one gymnast break the 14.000 barrier. Turner also tied for the individual crown with a 14.950 in the high bars, matching the score of Cal’s Don Bailey.

Freshman Taylor Seaton earned an individual title in the vault with a 15.300, a full .200 clear of second place. Seaton’s win helped give the Cardinal the team victory in the vault. Stanford won four of the six events, and kept the margin to a narrow 0.050 in one of its two losses. That, paired with domination in the pommel horse, led Stanford to a fairly comfortable final margin of victory.

In Sunday’s women’s meet, the Cardinal found itself in a dogfight. Heading into the final event of the meet, the floor exercise, Stanford trailed No. 19 Arizona 146.975 to 146.550. Strong performances from top to bottom, led by dual 9.925 scores from junior Pauline Hanset and senior Kristina Vaculik, propelled the Cardinal to a 195.925-195.850 victory. Sacramento State finished in third with a final score of 192.450.

Freshman Nicolette McNair, Vaculik, and senior Amanda Spinner led the Cardinal in the vault, bars and beam, respectively, demonstrating the balanced depth across all class years.

Both squads had one all-around performer. Stanford’s Vaculik won the all-around with a score of 39.425. Vaculik’s scores of 9.925 in both the floor and vault were too much for Kalliah McCartney (38.550) of Sacramento State and Jordan Williams (39.225) of Arizona to overcome.

The men’s squad has one more home meet before heading on the road for three consecutive meets in the month of February. Stanford will host Michigan, Cal and Washington on Saturday at 7 p.m. The women’s team has a three-meet road trip beginning Sunday at UC-Davis.

Contact Sam Fisher at safisher ‘at’ stanford.edu.

About Sam Fisher

Sam Fisher is the managing editor of sports for The Stanford Daily's Vol. 244. Sam also does play-by-play for KZSU's coverage of Stanford football, Stanford baseball and Stanford women's basketball. In 2013, Sam co-authored "Rags to Roses: The Rise of Stanford Football," with Joseph Beyda and George Chen.