By Jenny Peter
The No. 3 Stanford men’s gymnastics team will have a chance to challenge its depth this weekend at the Stanford Open. Many gymnasts will make their debuts on Saturday against Cal at Burnham Pavilion. Juniors Alex Buscaglia, Josh Dixon, Tim Gentry and Ryan Lieberman will have a weekend to rest for the Winter Cup m
eet next Thursday in Las Vegas. Competing in their place for the team and also as individuals will be their underclassman teammates and others fighting for spots in the lineup.
“With such a large team full of great gymnasts, it’s hard for anyone to make the lineup,” said redshirt senior captain and Daily business staff member, Greg Ter-Zakhariants. “It’s even harder for the freshmen, since they must prove themselves to the coaches and the rest of the team.”
In men’s gymnastics, only six men are allowed to compete in each event and the four highest scores count toward the team score. The men will have their opportunity to prove themselves on Saturday and contribute to the team score. The freshmen and sophomores will also gain some much-needed competition experience.
“Coming into NCAA gymnastics as a freshman is always a big change from the junior level and it takes some time to adjust,” said redshirt sophomore captain Abhinav Ramani. “The freshmen have been working hard and with more meets under their belt, they’re going to be prime for greatness as we near conference and NCAA Championships.”
Ramani, too, will be competing this weekend after recovering from hand surgery.
“Also, since none of the sophomores competed last year, every intrasquad and competition serves to show the freshmen that everyone on the team is fighting for a spot,” Ter-Zakhariants said.
The members of the sophomore class — John Martin, Gabriel Alvarado, Cameron Foreman and Jordan Nolff — all redshirted last year and are ready to make their mark. They attribute much of their improvements to hard work and great upperclassmen to look up to.
“We have a big junior/senior class that has a great deal of competing experience,” Ramani said. “We have dealt with a national title loss and a win so we know what it takes to be the best. We’ve been teaching and showing the younger guys what it is going to take to win another national title and they’ve been really good about trusting us and following along with the coaches’ plan.”
The team’s goal this week is to do what they have being practicing in the gym.
“As each week goes by we work on refining our execution and improving out hit ratio,” Ramani said. “In a few more meets we’ll start to figure out our pace and we’ll be able to perform even better.”
The meet will run from Friday night until Saturday night with competitions between members in the junior levels and will conclude with the collegiate competition between Stanford and California. The Cardinal men will compete against Cal Saturday at 7 p.m.