No. 2 Stanford men’s gymnastics escaped with second place at No. 5 Illinois’ three-team, senior day meet on Saturday. While Illinois upset the Cardinal with a season-best performance, Stanford walked over a No. 4 Minnesota Golden Gophers team that revealed many holes.
The Cardinal kept things close in the 411.650-413.050 defeat to Illinois. Both teams earned three event titles on the day, leaving the Gophers decidedly behind with 404.750 total points and zero titles to show for their effort.
Leading Cardinal performances in the rings, parallel bars and high bar were supplemented by a second-place finish in the vault, though the Cardinal were tripped up on the floor and pommel, finishing last in both events.
It was all Stanford and Illinois on the rings, as only 0.400 points separated the two teams for first. Illinois senior Alex Diab claimed the title and his school’s all-time record with 15.200 points, but the Cardinal held on to win by a score of 68.900-68.500, as redshirt-freshman Trevor DiGerolamo and redshirt-junior Josiah Eng notched 14-plus point performances of their own.
Even fewer points separated the Cardinal and Fighting Illini in the vault, as Stanford fell 71.200-71.450. Freshman Brody Malone spearheaded the Cardinal effort with a score of 14.450, but he conceded the event title to Illinois freshman Clay Stephens and his career-high 14.600 points.
The parallel bars event was the tightest between all three teams, as only 1.450 points separated the top-scoring Stanford squad (70.950) and the last-placed Gophers (69.500). Red-shirt senior Ryan Sheppard edged out Illinois senior Johnny Jacobson for the title, with a score of 14.600 to Jacobson’s 14.500. Their teams’ scores were also close, as Illinois put up 70.050 points.
Malone led a dominant Cardinal performance on the high bar, as he secured the title with 14.600 points in an event where each of Stanford’s five scorers landed more than 13 points. Stanford’s 68.600 points topped Illinois’ 66.600 and Minnesota’s 65.000.
Though Stanford proved less than dominant on the floor and pommel, Cardinal juniors Connor Lewis and Joey Ringer mustered top-three individual performances. Lewis placed third on the floor with 14.250 points, as Ringer’s score of 13.750 on the pommel notched him second place.
Stanford will look to recover from Saturday’s upset when the team competes in its first one-on-one match since Feb. 9: Air Force comes to Maples on Friday.
Contact Holden Foreman at hs4man21 ‘at’ stanford.edu.