By Jenny Peter
No. 1 Stanford hosted the Big Flip Off men’s gymnastics meet on Saturday night and boosted their record to 2-0 with a win over California at Burnham Pavilion. This was Stanford’s second win of the season over its archrivals, which scored lower than the Cardinal on every event except the pommel horse to end nearly nine points behind Stanford (349.65 – 340.85).
The team’s first home meet certainly gave them an experience to remember.
“To have Burnham filled up with our friends, classmates, and family really helped us put on a good show,” said redshirt sophomore and captain Abhinav Ramani.
Redshirt senior and co-captain Greg Ter-Zakhariants, who is also a Daily business staffer, agreed.
“The crowd at our first home meet was the largest I’ve seen it,” he said.
The Cardinal began the meet on the floor with solid routines from freshmen Eddie Penev and junior Alex Buscaglia. Both scored a 15.15 to tie for first. Junior Josh Dixon also put up a high score of 15.05 to help Stanford get an early lead over Cal.
The Stanford men did not do as well as they had hoped on pommel horse, which was likely due to a fairly new lineup of inexperienced competitors.
“I think the excitement and nerves got the better of some of the guys,” Ramani said. “We’re going to be working hard on fixing this and proving to the nation that we have the best pommel horse line-up.”
Stanford gained their pride back on the rings with standout routines from junior Ryan Lieberman and freshmen James Fosco. According to the captains, Fosco promises to earn even higher scores in the future as he gains more experience. One of the highlights of the night came from junior Tim Gentry’s ring routine, which procured a 15.7 and aided a three-point lead on the event for the Cardinal.
“He’s definitely going to be challenging for a national title on that event,” Ramani said of Gentry.
Vault was another high-scoring event, in which the team put up a 15.8 by Buscaglia, a 15.45 by Penev, a 15.2 by senior Eric Hergenrader and a 15.2 by Dixon.
Stanford stepped it up further on the parallel bars, beginning with a great set from redshirt freshmen Cameron Foreman. Foreman led the team with a 14.9, followed by a solid routine from Lieberman for a 14.7.
On the last event, Foreman improved his high bar routine from last meet and posted a 13.85. Gentry also faired well with a 13.6. Buscaglia’s routine ended the night on a high note for the Cardinal, as he performed some of the most difficult skill connections in the world to score a 15.25. He, too, will challenge for a national title come April.
“Every guy did his job to make sure we beat Cal and we posted good enough scores to overtake them,” Ramani said of the win. “I hope more people around campus realize how much fun gymnastics meets are and will show up at our home meets.”
The next chance to see the Stanford men in action will be the Stanford Open at 7 p.m. this Friday at Burnham Pavilion.