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Men’s gymnastics dominates in season opener against Cal
Senior Akash Modi started a Cardinal momentum swing that eventually led the No. 2 Stanford men's gymnastics to a season opening victory at the Big Meet. The Cardinal returned home after relatively dominating the No. 8 California Golden Bears. (Shirley Pefley/isiphotos.com)

Men’s gymnastics dominates in season opener against Cal

No. 2 Stanford men’s gymnastics opened up its season with a series of individual and event victories, allowing the team to prevail in the Big Meet against rival No. 8 Cal last Sunday. The competition, held in Berkeley, ended with an all-around score of 418.100 for the Cardinal and 403.150 for the Golden Bears, with Stanford remaining comfortably ahead throughout the series.

The first rotation of the day for the Cardinal was on pommel horse. After starting on a rough note that left the team farther behind than anticipated, senior Akash Modi got the ball rolling with a 15.050 score that ultimately won him a first-place medal.

“I strongly believe we have the most exceptional pommel horse lineup in the country,” sophomore Luke Sturm said about the event. “Our routines have large amounts of difficulty, and while we struggled a bit to get started on pommel horse we have enormous potential to set ourselves apart from other teams on this event.”

Modi’s teammates came to his aid to solidify the event, earning a team score of 66.900. Contributors included sophomore Grant Breckenridge (13.150), freshman Joey Ringer (13.150), senior Drew Willoughby (12.850) and senior Andrew Misiolek (12.700). These performances combined propelled Stanford to take the team title in the event, beating out Cal’s overall score of 64.200.

The second event for the Cardinal provided a tougher contest, but Stanford narrowly prevailed on floor, overtaking Cal 70.250-70.150. Seniors Jordan DeClerk (14.760) and Modi (14.550) claimed first and second in the event. The Cardinal were challenged, as the Golden Bears’ Aaron Mah earned third place with 14.350, while teammate Nicholas Del Junco netted fourth with a 14.250. The event, at this point, was up for grabs, until junior Jacob Barrus secured a 14.200, allowing the Cardinal to slide away with the title.

Next up was vault, which the Cardinal won by strides. Sophomore Barrett Weiss triumphed with a 14.700 in his vault debut. Breckenridge earned second place (14.600) with Modi close behind in third (14.500) as Stanford dominated.

Ultimately, the Golden Bears put up a good fight, with three competitors earning 14.250 scores to tie for fourth, but they were not able to keep up with the Cardinal. The event finished 72.100-70.200 in Stanford’s favor. Having surpassed the halfway point, the Cardinal took on the still rings, once again outdoing their competitors and taking the event title. Sophomore Josiah Eng found himself at the head of the pack with a 14.400. His closest competitor was DeClerk, who obtained second place with 13.700.

The depth of the team was demonstrated as junior Robert Neff got a first on the high bar with a 14.600. Neff’s teammates followed up his routine with second-, third- and fourth-place places. With this, the Cardinal put yet another event under their belts.

The final rotation, parallel bars, was dominated by Modi with a 15.450. Supporting his teammate’s success, Barrus netted a 14.150 for second place. Freshman David Jessen competed for his first time, tallying a 14.000 score that put him in fourth place. At the closure of this event, the Cardinal were unbeaten.

Stanford will have a week to rest before taking on Cal and Washington at the Stanford Open on Saturday in Burnham Pavilion.

 

Contact Laura Sussman at laura111 ‘at’ stanford.edu.