May 3, 2004
STANFORD, Calif. - One could use many words to describe the Stanford University women's gymnastics team's season, but two words will suffice - simply amazing.
Stanford's amazing season was culminated with a program-best third-place tie with Alabama at the Super Six. On top of that, the Cardinal garnered a program-best 15 All-American awards, easily eclipsing last season's program-high of eight. For guiding Stanford to its most successful season in school history, Head Coach Kristen Smyth swept the annual coaching awards, being named Pac-10 Coach of the Year, West Region Coach of the Year and NACGC National Coach of the Year.
With a school-best No. 6 preseason ranking, the Cardinal started the season by capturing first place in the Stanford Quadrangular. Despite earning back-to-back scores of 197.300 and 197.400 versus Arizona and Washington early in the season, the Cardinal didn't hit their stride until late February.
On February 20th, Stanford's five sensational seniors put on a show to remember in their final home meet, leading the Cardinal to an astounding 198.875-195.750 win over the Cal Bears. Senior All-American's Caroline Fluhrer, Lise L?veill?, and Lindsay Wing earned perfect 10s on the evening, while sophomore All-American Natalie Foley tied Wing for top honors in the all-around with a program-best-tying score of 39.825. Stanford's score of 198.875 established the national season-high score, while its scores of 49.925 on the floor and 49.750 on the beam were the best scores in the country.
The Cardinal proved that they were one of the elite teams in the country by posting back-to-back wins on the road. The week following its amazing 198.875 versus Cal, Stanford tallied a 197.850 in a dual meet at Oregon State. To show that its performance versus the Beavers wasn't a fluke, the Cardinal posted another score over 197 with a 197.775 at Maryland.
Bursting with confidence, the Cardinal headed to Tucson, AZ for the Pac-10 Championship. In one of the closest finishes in Pac-10 history, the No. 2 ranked Cardinal edged the top-ranked UCLA Bruins, 197.900-197.875, for their third overall Pac-10 title and their second in the last four seasons. Wing successfully defended her balance beam title, earning a 9.950 to tie five other performers on the night, including fellow Cardinal, Fluhrer. In defending her title, Wing became the only four-time beam champion in Pac-10 history. Not to be out-done, Foley captured first place in the all-around with a 39.800, becoming the first Stanford gymnast to win the Pac-10 individual all-around title.
With a Pac-10 Championship and a No. 2 national ranking in their pocket, the Cardinal entered the NCAA Regionals as arguably the hottest team in the country. Stanford headed to the North Central Region where they shined, capturing first place with a 196.575. L?veill? took home first place in the all-around, while Wing finished second and Fluhrer finished fourth.
Stanford headed to UCLA to compete in its fourth consecutive NCAA Championship and seventh overall. The Cardinal continued their string of impressive performances by tying Florida for first place in the competition's first session with a team score of 196.850 to advance to the program's second-ever Super Six. Once in the Super Six, the Cardinal didn't disappoint, tying Alabama with a 197.125 for a program-best third place finish.
The third place finish was a culmination of four years of hard work and dedication by five outstanding seniors. Kendall Beck, Fluhrer, Shelly Goldberg, L?veill? and Wing have accomplished more during their tenure on The Farm than any other class in program history.
The 2004 season was concluded with three Cardinal competing in the individual event finals on the last night of the NCAA Championships. Foley captured third place on the vault, while Fluhrer tied for fifth place in the floor exercise and Wing tied for sixth place on the balance beam.