April 17, 2009
MINNEAPOLIS - After coming in second by just 45-hundredths of a point in last season's NCAA Championships, the Stanford men's gymnastics team had only one thing on their minds for this season; redemption in the form of winning the 2009 title. Tonight, the Cardinal achieved that goal, scoring a 362.800 to win the program's fourth national championship by 1.3 points.
Stanford recorded team season-bests on still rings and parallel bars and two individual event titles to help boost itself atop the pack. Michigan came in second with a 361.500 and defending national champion Oklahoma followed in third with 361.200.
The Cardinal began the night on vault, scoring a 63.250. The total was second only to the Sooners, who posted three individual scores over 16.000 on its way to a 64.050. Sophomore Tim Gentry earned the highest individual score for Stanford, notching a 15.950 for sixth place. Fellow sophomore Alex Buscaglia tied for ninth place with a 15.850.
On parallel bars, the Cardinal turned it up a notch, posting a season-high 59.300. Stanford was led by the nation's top-ranked gymnast on the apparatus, redshirt senior Sho Nakamori, who won the event with a 15.200. Sophomore Ryan Lieberman tied for sixth (14.750) and redshirt sophomore Nick Noone tied for ninth (14.700).
In the third rotation, Buscaglia and Nakamori shined for the Cardinal on horizontal bar. Buscaglia turned in a 14.8 to tie for fourth, while Nakamori tied for sixth with a 14.750. Stanford finished with a 58.700.
On floor exercise, the Cardinal put up a 61.300. Nakamori tied for fourth place with a season-best 15.550 while redshirt junior Greg Ter-Zakhariants tied for eighth with a 15.500.
In the fifth rotation, Stanford gymnasts hit five of their six routines on pommel horse to record a 58.450, but only Ter-Zakhariants posted a top-10 finish, tying for seventh with a season-best 14.900..
Then in the final turn, the Cardinal, which was trailing California by 1.1, showed the crowd why they are the top-ranked still rings squad in the nation, providing a clutch 61.800 performance on the apparatus to clinch the title. Senior Bryant Hadden took the event title with a 15.550, while his teammates Noone and Gentry tied for third with 15.450s. Sophomore Kyle Oi tied for sixth with a 15.350.
"That's the great thing about this sport: you never know who the winner is going to be until that last guy in that last event," head coach Thom Glielmi said. "It's a lot of fun."
"The strength of this team is depth," Glielmi said. "Some of the guys had some breaks or falls, but generally our top six guys can put together four solid routines and the difficulty is high. They knew that coming in, so there was never an issue of feeling they were out of it."
Even after winning the national championship, the season is not yet over for Stanford as several Cardinal gymnasts will participate in tomorrow night's individual event finals. Athletes who posted top-10 scores on each apparatus from this evening's competition will compete tomorrow for individual national titles and All-American accolades.
The eight Stanford gymnasts competing tomorrow are Ter-Zakhariants (floor exercise), Nakamori (floor exercise, parallel bars, horizontal bar), Buscaglia (vault, horizontal bar), Gentry (vault, still rings), Lieberman (parallel bars), Noone (parallel bars, still rings), Hadden (still rings), and Oi (still rings). Competition will begin at 7 p.m. CT.