Feb. 17, 2013
STANFORD, Calif. - After a three-week break from team competition, the fourth-ranked Stanford men's gymnastics team returned to the gym Sunday to take on No. 10 California in the 2013 installment of the Big Flip Off.
In addition to the rivalry matchup, the meet also served as the Pac-12 Networks' inaugural men's gymnastics live broadcast.
The Cardinal did not disappoint in its television debut, delivering an impressive 435.350-426.450 victory over the Golden Bears in Maples Pavilion.
Stanford outscored Cal on five of six events and recorded season-highs on floor (75.050), vault (74.900) and high bar (73.450).
The victory included four different Cardinal claiming individual titles on four events.
Stanford was led by senior Eddie Penev, who was coming off a big week after being named to the U.S. Gymnastics Senior National last Saturday after finishing fourth at the Winter Cup Challenge in Las Vegas and earning MPSF Gymnast of the Week honors.
Penev competed in the all-around and finished with a season-high 88.200. He opened the competition with a strong floor routine and claimed the event title, tying his season-high of 15.650.
Penev also earned season-highs on vault (15.300) and rings (14.450), for second- and third-place finishes. He finished the meet with third-place finishes on parallel bars (14.500) and high bar (14.500).
"I think he might have been a little better today than he was last weekend at Winter Cup," said head coach Thom Glielmi, when describing Penev's overall performance on the night.
Jordan Nolff set the tone early for the Cardinal on floor, delivering a career-best performance of 15.200 as the team's second performer on the night. Paul Hichwa contributed a season-best 14.650 to help give the Cardinal the early lead.
The Cardinal struggled on pommel horse, recording only one hit routine. John Martin tallied the highest Stanford score with a 13.900 and finished fifth.
It was a moment of adversity for the team as it saw its early lead evaporate and finished its second rotation down 142.450-143.600 to Cal.
Glielmi was disappointed with the team's performance on the event, especially compared to how the team has been executing in practice.
However, Glielmi was happy with how his team responded on rings, claiming the top-four scores.
Despite the strong performance, Stanford was still trailing Cal entering its fourth rotation on vault.
The Cardinal responded with a season-high team score of 74.900 that saw a career- or season-high from five different gymnasts.
Sean Senters led the group with a season-high 15.400 to claim the individual title and was followed by Penev's season-high of 15.300 to finish second.
Mike Levy and Chris Turner notched a season-best 14.600.
The Cardinal reclaimed the lead from the Golden Bears heading into the final two events and did not look back.
Cameron Foreman finished second on parallel bars with a 14.700, while Penev and Turner tied for third with 14.550s.
Hichwa delivered his best performance of the season on high bar, claiming the individual title with a 15.150. He was joined in the top three by Foreman (14.950) and Penev (14.500) who finished second and third.
Minus the team's difficulties on pommel horse, Glielmi was satisfied with his team's performance and is happy with where the team is at halfway through the regular season.
"The team is a good mix because we have solid difficulty with great execution so that's going to be a threat to any team out there as far as challenging for the championship," said Glielmi. "We've got a very good balance and I saw that tonight with the guys where their execution is starting to come together and they're not compromising the difficulty."
The victory was Stanford's third over Cal on the season and fourth consecutive dating back to the 2012 MPSF Championship Tournament on April 7.
The teams will see each other again in its next meet on Feb. 23, as Stanford again plays host to Cal in Burnham Pavilion at 7 p.m.