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M. Gymnastics: Sparring with familiar foes

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Cardinal set to take on Cal once again

Stanford will square off against Cal for the fourth time this season at this weekend’s Gold Country Classic. The Cardinal have won all three previous meetings, with its most recent victory two weeks ago at the Stanford Open.
(MASARU OKA/Staff Photographer)

This weekend, the No. 4 Stanford men’s gymnastics team will once again have a chance to flex its strength and test its lineup against Bay Area rival California. The two teams will duel it out at the Gold Country Classic meet in Livermore, Calif. during the elite and collegiate session at 7 p.m. on Saturday.

The Gold Country Classic was previously hosted on the pier in San Francisco and has now moved to the Robert Livermore Center–a new, multi-million dollar complex with a 13,000 square-foot gymnasium.

“I think it’s beneficial to compete in different environments and get comfortable in any situation,” said redshirt freshman John Martin.

Though Cal beat the Cardinal last year at the event, this season Stanford has won every time it has faced the Golden Bears and plans to follow that trend all the way until the NCAAs. This meet will be no exception.

“If Cal doesn’t rest too many guys, then it will be a good competition,” said senior captain Abhinav Ramani. “Our guys have been working hard on refining the routines, and I think we’re going to have a good showing this weekend.”

Senior captain Greg Ter-Zakhariants agreed.

“Since we are not going to see major competitors other than Cal till the end of the season, Cal is a good measure by which to gauge how we are doing,” he said.

The captains still stress that no matter whom they compete against, the preparations and the goal in mind are the same for each meet.

“We’re competing against ourselves, so we focus on our own gymnastics so as to stream toward our full potential,” Ter-Zakhariants said.

The team realizes that it can only control what it does, and therefore does not pay much attention to the other team.

“It does not matter against whom we compete, as long as we maintain a clear head and don’t get worked up about the good and bad routines the other team puts up,” Ter-Zakhariants reiterated.

The team is on track in its training for this time of year. Soon, its training focus will shift as it approaches the halfway point in its season.

“At this point, we are starting to focus on details in presenting and perfecting our routines,” said junior Tim Gentry.

As a short-term goal, the Cardinal is hoping to improve upon its team performance from the Stanford Open two weeks ago. The lineups from both meets are very similar in that they will give underclassmen a chance to earn their spots to compete. Juniors Gentry, Alex Buscaglia, Ryan Lieberman and Josh Dixon competed at last week’s Winter Cup Challenge and will take a weekend of rest while their teammates take their place on the mat. Those competing are eager to experience more action and have a chance to demonstrate what they are capable of.

“We’re ready to show the rest of the country how deep our team really is,” Martin, who will be competing on the pommel horse, parallel bars and high bar, said. He and his fellow underclassmen are also excited to be contributing more this season.

“I feel like our class and the freshmen have a lot to offer this year,” Martin continued. “My class has really stepped up since last year. We watched as our teammates won the national title, and we have learned what it is going to take to do that again.”