Two No. 2 gymnastics teams will compete over two days this weekend, and Stanford could walk out of both contests on top. The No. 2 Cardinal men defend Burnham Pavilion from a stealth mission by the No. 13 Air Force squad on Friday, the night before the No. 23 Cardinal women visit No. 2 UCLA in a chance to close the regular season with a major conference upset.
The Cardinal women are coming off a season-high score in their 196.525-195.250 home win over No. 25 Arizona, Stanford’s first victory since Jan. 11 and its first Pac-12 victory of the year. Though the Cardinal topped Arizona in every event — vault, bars, beam and floor — UCLA bested the same Arizona squad by a more convincing score of 198.025-194.975 on Feb. 16.
Ohashi walked away from Maples with the floor and beam titles in UCLA’s 197.225-195.125 victory over the Cardinal on Jan. 27. She is ranked No. 1 on floor and No. 2 on beam. And she isn’t the only star the Cardinal will see on Saturday, as the Bruin’s Kyla Ross is ranked No. 1 in all-around, No. 1 on bars and No. 2 on floor.
Stanford has a star of its own: sophomore Kyla Bryant. She is No. 19 in all-around and captured the all-around title in Stanford’s previous matchup against UCLA. Look for her performance to be a major factor in Saturday’s result. The challenge begins on Saturday at 1 p.m.
While the Cardinal women prepare their quest for revenge, or at least to avoid embarrassment, the men are looking to take care of business against Air Force on Friday.
The Cardinal men found themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time last Saturday, as No. 5 Illinois’ season-best performance led the Fighting Illini to a 413.050-411.650 home upset over No. 2 Stanford. Despite the loss, redshirt senior Ryan Sheppard and freshman Brody Malone both earned event titles for the Cardinal.
They and the other Cardinal leaders are more likely to be competing with each other than with an Air Force team, because an Air Force team’s top-season score is 402.900 compared to Stanford’s season low of 406.300. The battle in Burnham begins at 7 p.m. Friday.
Contact Holden Foreman at hs4man21 ‘at’ stanford.edu.