By Jenny Peter
The No. 4 Stanford men’s gymnastics team placed second with a team total of 354.7 at the Pacific Coast Classic in Oakland last Saturday. The meet is considered one of the premier gymnastics competitions in the U.S. and serves as a platform to support men’s collegiate athletic programs. The competition featured the defending national champion Cardinal against Cal, Iowa, Arizona State and Washington, along with the Japanese Collegiate All-Star Team, who won the meet with a 358.8. Cal came in third with a 349.45.
Japan’s top gymnasts, excluding national team members, competed at the event for the international competition and cultural experience. The team has close ties with Stanford since its coach, Mutsumi Harada, a Japanese Olympian in 2000, was previously an assistant coach at the Farm.
Juniors Tim Gentry and Josh Dixon had a consistent meet on all six events. Gentry placed second individually in the all-around with an 88.5 while Dixon placed fifth.
“As a team, we put up a good score with a mediocre competition,” Dixon said. “We were consistent with what we had shown in practice; however, that being said, there is still a long way to go, and work to be done.”
“354.7 is a great team score for this point in the season,” Gentry added. “We didn’t have the greatest meet, but still put up a decent score, and we will be looking to build on that score from here on out.”
Highlights from the No. 2 nationally-ranked floor team included Dixon’s 14.8 and Gentry’s 14.85. Freshmen Eddie Penev is ranked No. 2 nationally on floor and put up the team’s highest score at a 15.4.
Redshirt junior Lucas Hughes hit his routine for a 14.45 on pommel horse and No. 1 nationally-ranked Gentry flashed the highest score of the night with a 15.45 on rings. Standout high bar routines came from Dixon’s 14.8 and redshirt sophomore Abhinav Ramani’s 14.4.
On the parallel bars, redshirt freshman Cameron Foreman and redshirt junior Nick Noone hit solid routines for a 14.4 and 14.3 to help Stanford pull ahead of the other NCAA teams. Another highlight of the meet was Hughes’ clean parallel bar set that produced a 14.1.
Stanford is known for its high scores from its No. 3 nationally-ranked vault group, and this meet was no exception. Junior Alex Buscaglia procured a 16.05 with his half twist entry onto the vault and one-and-a-half twists off (Yurchenko half on rudi off is the technical name for it). Penev also did well for a 15.95. All-arounders Gentry and Dixon scored a 15.9 and 15.7, respectively, to aid the Cardinal in scoring the highest event score of the night.
The team will continue to assess the aspects it needs to improve on after each meet and will build upon its performances each week as the men gear up for NCAA Nationals in April.
“We show so much promise because we have so much depth in multiple lineups,” Dixon said. “This is something that we all take comfort in; however, it keeps us all on our toes and pushes us to be even better than we were the week before.”
“Our routine hit percentage is going up, and our execution is getting better, as well,” Gentry added. “We have a few minor things to work out, but as long as we stick to the training, we will be ready for the post season.”
The Cardinal men are gearing up for their next meet against No. 1 Michigan at home in Burnham Pavilion on Saturday at 7 p.m.