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Rising to the Occasion
Courtesy: Stanford Athletics  
Release: 03/22/2014

UPDATE: This article has been updated with results after the conclusion of both sessions of the Pac-12 Champoinships. A complete recap of Pac-12 Session I is below.

• No. 10 Stanford finished second at the Pac-12 Championships – the Cardinal’s best finish since 2010 when it finished second.

• California made a strong push in the second session to finish third (196.550), passing Oregon State and UCLA.

• Nicolette McNair was named the Pac-12 Freshman of the Year.

• Seven Cardinal gymnasts combined for 10 top-10 finishes at the Pac-12 Championships.

Final top-10 results:

Vault
Nicolette McNair, T-5th, 9.925
Taylor Rice, T-7th, 9.900

Bars
Nicolette McNair, 2nd, 9.950
Kristina Vaculik, t-3rd, 9.925
Samantha Shapiro, t-3rd, 9.925

Beam
Kristina Vaculik, t-9th, 9.875
Nicolette McNair, t-9th, 9.875
Rachel Daum, t-9th, 9.875
Amanda Spinner, t-9th, 9.875

Floor
Shona Morgan, 10th, 9.875

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BERKELEY, Calif. – Seven Cardinal gymnasts combined for 14 top-10 finishes Saturday to lead No. 10 Stanford to a second-place result in Session I of the Pac-12 Championships.

The Cardinal (15-4, 7-3 Pac-12) posted its second-highest team-score on the season with a 197.175 to finish ahead of No. 7 UCLA (196.525) and No. 11 Oregon State (196.275) which finished third and fourth in the session, respectively. No. 5 Utah finished first in the group with a 197.925.

Stanford was outstanding on three of four events, punctuating its second-place result with a season-best 49.450 on bars to close the meet. The Cardinal recorded its second-highest event scores of the year on beam (49.350) and vault (49.400). As a team, Stanford finished first on beam, tied for first on vault and second on bars.

The Cardinal’s performance on bars in the final rotation was particularly impressive considering Stanford suffered a fall in the fourth position. Samantha Shapiro and Kristina Vaculik responded with scores of 9.925 to solidify Stanford’s second-place finish. Shapiro’s score tied her season best and Vaculik’s tied her collegiate best. The duo tied for third in the event overall.

To finish on bars the way we did shows a lot of maturity and character for the team,” said head coach Kristen Smyth. “It really bodes well as we prepare for regionals and nationals.”

Freshman Nicolette McNair had a terrific conference championships debut, recording second-place finishes on bars (9.950) and vault (9.925), and tying for fifth on beam with a 9.875. McNair’s 9.950 on bars was a career-best and crushed her previous high of 9.875. Her 9.925 on vault tied her career-high.

“She’s so poised in any situation under pressure,” said Smyth. “It’s been great to have such a strong, steady and consistent contributor as a freshman. The sky’s the limit for her in collegiate gymnastics.”

Shona Morgan left a strong impression in the final Pac-12 Championships of her collegiate career, scoring 9.825 or higher in three events. Morgan tied her season best to finish seventh on floor with a 9.875, tied for 10th on beam (9.850) and went 9.825 on bars. Her performances in the leadoff position on each event were particularly crucial to the Cardinal’s success because she ensured Stanford started with a strong score.

“I can’t say enough about Shona Morgan and what she’s done for this team and her leadership on her three events,” said Smyth. “Her artistic work and leadership have been terrific this year. She’s always been a great gymnast and performed well, but she’s added a whole new dimension in how she leads the younger gymnasts.”

Stanford has excelled on beam all season and continued its momentum, posting a meet-best 49.350 in the first rotation. Shona Morgan delivered a 9.850 in the leadoff position, followed by a 9.800 from Rebecca Wing. McNair, Vaculik, Amanda Spinner and Rachel Daum followed with four consecutive scores of 9.875 to tie for fifth on the event.

The Cardinal’s meet-opening performance was good for second place, just 0.050 behind Utah. Stanford would remain in second place after each of the remaining rotations.

“I was really proud of how we started the meet on balance beam,” said Smyth. “It’s not an easy thing to do in the one-at-a-time format, which is great, but a bit challenging in terms of having the mental and physical endurance to focus that long. I was really proud of how my team handled that.”

Stanford ran into a bit of adversity on floor when it had a pair of stumbles and had to count a score of 9.675. Morgan got the Cardinal off to a strong start by tying her season-best of 9.875 in the leadoff position. Jenna Frowein followed with a 9.800 and Taylor Rice earned a 9.850 to tie for eighth overall. After stumbles in the fourth and fifth spots, Melissa Chuang got the Cardinal back on track with a 9.775.

The gap between Utah and Stanford widened after the second rotation but the Cardinal maintained its position in second with a 98.325-98.300 lead over third-place UCLA.

Stanford seemed unfazed by the difficulty faced on floor when it headed to vault, posting a 49.400 to tie Utah for the top team score on the event. Fresh off her strong floor performance, Chuang led Stanford off with a 9.825. Daum followed with a 9.875 to tie for eighth overall.

Rice tied her career-high of 9.900 to tie for fourth and was followed by McNair’s second-place performance with a 9.925. Vaculik provided the Cardinal’s fifth score, tying for eighth with a 9.875.

Stanford continued its momentum on bars and earned a season-best team score of 49.450. Morgan and Rice opened with scores of 9.825, followed by a team-best 9.950 from McNair. Shapiro and Vaculik capped the competition with scores of 9.925 to secure Stanford’s second-place finish.

Stanford’s official Pac-12 Championships result will be determined after Session II, which begins tonight at 6:30 p.m. PT. If Stanford’s placement in the second position were to hold, it would be the Cardinal’s best finish at the Pac-12 Championships since 2010 when it finished second.


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