After a rough start on beam and floor, No. 11 Stanford women’s gymnastics finished strong on vault and bars to place fourth at the NorCal Classic on Monday. Stanford’s team score of 193.250 was enough to edge out San Jose State (192.600), but not to overcome tournament host No. 10 California (195.325), Sacramento State (194.475) or UC Davis (193.875).
The Cardinal struggled in the first half with mistakes on beam and floor. The team has a history of slow starts to the season and is known for comeback efforts, displayed once again in this campaign.
A pair of misses put a damper on Stanford’s beam performances, but bright moments included a team-high and career-best 9.725 for senior Danielle McNair and a strong 9.675 in sophomore Taryn Fitzgerald’s first competition back from injury.
Floor also proved difficult for Stanford. The team recorded three misses, and had trouble maintaining control throughout, posting a team score of 46.925 in the event.
Despite freshman Kaylee Cole’s strong collegiate debut of 9.725, the team was unable to keep momentum throughout the rotation.
Stanford bounced back in the third rotation with the meet’s second-best score on vault (49.175), finishing with the top two scores of the meet. Cole continued her impressive first meet, tying for second with a 9.875.
Reigning Pac-12 Gymnast of the Year Elizabeth Price won the event with an explosive 9.950.
The Cardinal again impressed on their final event, recording the night’s highest score of 49.150 on bars. Price earned an individual victory with another 9.950 score in the team’s turnaround effort.
A missed routine to start the rotation was overcome with five straight performances of 9.750 or better by Price, senior Nicolette McNair (9.875), freshman Aleeza Yu (9.825), senior Rachel Daum (9.750) and sophomore Dare Maxwell (9.750).
“I told the team the way they rebounded on vault showed resiliency and said a lot about what the future is going to be like for this team,” said head coach Kristen Smyth. “For us to finish on bars the way we did says a lot about the character of this team.”
In their first test of the season, the Cardinal showed that a slow start would not determine the event’s finish. Daum finished third overall in the all-around with a 38.700 in her first time competing in all four events in one competition. Talented freshmen Cole, Yu and Ashley Tai each showed promise in their collective debuts, and Price once again proved why she is a top gymnast in the country.
The team will have another opportunity to prove itself before the week ends. The Cardinal will head to Davis, California on Friday for a 7 p.m. meet against UC Davis, Boise State and Yale.
Contact Laura Anderson at lauraand ‘at’ stanford.edu.