BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Three Stanford gymnasts combined for four top-10 finishes Sunday at the NCAA Individual Event Finals.
Stanford had a great showing on bars with all three gymnasts earning top-10 finishes. Samantha Shapiro earned a 9.925 to place second, followed by Kristina Vaculik in third with a 9.900. It is the first time Stanford had two gymnasts earn top-three results in the same event at the Individual Event Finals.
“They were as steady as they always are but where they really stood out was their artistry, their lines and toe-points,” said head coach Kristen Smyth. “It was beautiful work and a lot of the credit goes to our bars coach [associate head coach] Chris Swircek.”
Swircek has coached Stanford gymnasts to 17 All-American honors on bars since joining the program in 2004.
Shapiro’s second-place finish is the second of her collegiate career after earning the same result at the 2012 Individual Event Finals. Her score of 9.925 on bars is tied for the second-highest of any Stanford gymnast at the event finals.
“She showed incredible leadership as a junior going into her senior year, and showed grit and confidence,” said Smyth. “To see her perform the way she did today was pretty special.”
Shona Morgan, normally Stanford’s leadoff performer on bars, fittingly led off the event finals and scored 9.8375 to finish ninth.
It was an impressive performance for the trio which competed early in the finals rotations, filling the first, third and fourth slots. However, each gymnast was able to score well enough for their results to hold throughout the competition.
Vaculik capped the afternoon with a 9.875 on beam to finish seventh. Her 9.875 on beam is tied for the third-highest of any Stanford gymnast at the Individual Event Finals in program history.
“She’s a leader in every way and it was great to see her perform the way she does in practice every day,” said Smyth. “She’s always the hardest worker in the gym and leads by example. She earned it and deserves it.”
The competition officially wrapped up the 2014 season for the Cardinal. It was a season full of accomplishments for Stanford which finished with a 25-8 record – tying for the third-most wins in program history. The Cardinal placed second at the Pac-12 Championships, recorded its second-highest team score at an NCAA regional competition (197.275), and qualified to its seventh NCAA Championships in the past eight years and 14th time overall.
“It was a strong finish to the year. We took steps in the right direction and it’s encouraging for next year,” said Smyth.