No. 2 Stanford men’s gymnastics (2-0) kicked off its season with flying colors at the Cal Benefit Cup on Saturday, as the Cardinal (402.150) swept No. 10 Cal (398.850) and SC United (375.650), and senior Robert Neff earned three titles including the all-around.
Neff seized the all-around with an 82.850, the pommel horse with a 13.900 and the high bar with a stunning 14.200. Neff was also accomplished on floor, earning a 13.900 — Stanford’s highest score in the event.
In his collegiate debut, freshman Thomas Lee secured a 13.900 on rings to claim the meet event title. Lee outswung the competition and stood out even among his older teammates. The next-highest scoring Cardinal gymnasts, Neff and junior Grant Breckenridge, were each 0.350 points behind Lee.
Even more significant than Neff and Lee’s personal successes were the team’s overall accomplishments that earned Stanford the meet title. The Cardinal claimed the highest cumulative team scores in four of the six events: floor, pommel horse, rings and parallel bars.
On five of the six events, every Stanford gymnast competing scored a 12.000 or higher; on two of those five (floor and vault), every Stanford gymnast competing secured at least a 13.000.
This consistency is particularly impressive considering that this year’s team is comprised of a group of both underclassmen and upperclassmen. Regardless of class year or collegiate experience, freshmen and juniors alike seemed to contribute to the team’s victory across the events.
On vault, freshman Bryan Perla made his impressive debut with a 14.050, the second-highest score at the meet, behind only Cal’s star Aaron Mah. Following Perla, junior Gareth Weiss clinched a powerful 13.950, sophomore Connor Lewis earned a strong 13.900 and freshman Andrew Bitner delivered a 13.800 point performance.
On parallel bars, Breckenridge led the Cardinal with a 13.850, while Neff and Bitner — a senior and a freshman, respectively — followed up closely with 13.800 each.
Neff and his team of rising stars will compete again on Sunday, Jan. 21 at 12 p.m. PT, when Stanford travels to Chicago to take on UIC and No. 8 Iowa.
Contact Sylvie Ashford at sylviash ‘at’ stanford.edu.