By Sam Fisher
The No. 9 Stanford women’s gymnastics team started off its 2014 season with a bang, taking first place at the five-team NorCal Meet in Sacramento on Sunday.
Stanford edged out No. 22 Cal, the only other ranked team in the meet, 194.825 to 194.650, with Sacramento State, UC-Davis and San Jose State trailing from third to fifth respectively.
The Cardinal had 13 team members compete in the event, with only sophomore Taylor Rice attempting all four events.
The key event for the Cardinal was the uneven parallel bars. On the bars, Stanford scored a 49.050 — the best score in the meet and .375 clear of Cal, which more than accounted for the final score difference — propelled by a first-place finish from senior Kristina Vaculik and a second-place finish from freshman Nicolette McNair. Freshman Danielle McNair, senior Shona Morgan and junior Samantha Shapiro all finished in a tie for seventh with a score of 9.775 to finish out the scoring for the Cardinal.
Stanford also had a meet-high score of 48.875 in vault. Freshman Sophia Lee and sophomore Melissa Chuang tied for first with Serena Leong of Cal to lead the Stanford charge. Freshman Rachel Daum also grabbed a top-five finish while Rice and Nicolette McNair tied for 10th.
The young Cardinal team will look to build off its first-place finish as the competition heats up in the weeks to come. Stanford will host four teams currently ranked in the top 25 during the regular season, starting with tough matchups during the next two weeks.
Stanford hosts No. 8 Georgia this Sunday in the Card’s season opener, which will provide an opportunity for the standout underclassmen to show how they can perform under the pressure of stiff competition. The following Sunday, Stanford will host another tough meet when No. 17 Arizona and Sacramento State come to the Farm.
The dual meet between Stanford and Georgia is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. on Sunday at Burnham Pavilion.
Contact Sam Fisher at safisher ‘at’ stanford.edu.