April 15, 2011
Columbus, Ohio - After falling just short a year ago, Stanford came through with the clutch performance necessary to capture its second NCAA title in three years. The Cardinal scored 363.450 to defeat second-place Oklahoma (361.600) and third-place Illinois (360.150). The NCAA title was also the 100th in Stanford athletics history, as the Cardinal became just the second university to accomplish that feat.
"I am ecstatic that men's gymnastics was the team to reach the 100th title for Stanford," said head coach Thom Glielmi. "It is an incredible achievement for Stanford and the fact that it was men's gymnastics that won it is just icing on the cake."
Stanford men's gymnastics has now won five NCAA titles with the others coming in 1992, 1993, 1995 and 2009. It was the second under Glielmi who took over the program for the 2003 season and has rebuilt Stanford until a perennial title contender.
"The team was led by the six seniors who have been here before," said Glielmi. "They are going out with two NCAA titles and tonight helped the younger guys along for a complete team effort."
The Cardinal began on the parallel bars for the second-straight night, but did not fare as well this time around. In Thursday's prelims, the Cardinal scored an NCAA season best of 61.500. Friday, Stanford scored a solid 59.950, but knew it might need to make up points in other events. Cameron Foreman and Ryan Lieberman led the Cardinal in the event, both scoring 15.200. The score for Foreman was a career best, which came at the right time, as he was sixth in the rotation with his team needing him to nail the routine. Alex Buscaglia was also solid with a 15.150, while Josh Dixon completed Stanford's scoring with a 14.400.
Stanford then shifted to the horizontal bar, which it was the NCAA leader coming into the event. The Cardinal scored a 59.300 led by Buscaglia who came through with a score of 15.400. Buscaglia's score was tied for the best of the night. Dixon also had a big effort in the event, scoring a 14.900. Lieberman scored 14.750 and Tim Gentry scored 14.250 to round out the rotation. After two rotations, Stanford sat in fourth, although it had some of the higher scoring events yet to come.
Next up was the floor exercise where the Cardinal had its best effort of the season. When the Cardinal looks back on the night, it will be this rotation that might have been the difference maker for the national title. The score of 62.450 was the second best in the NCAA this season as Eddie Penev came through with a season-best score of 15.950. Dixon was also outstanding in the event with a 15.850. The depth was the difference though as Gentry (15.350) and Buscaglia (15.300) gave Stanford no weak link.
The Cardinal then moved to pommel horse where it faltered enough to make the meet very interesting after four rotations. Stanford scored 56.500, which was over two points off the prelims, but the exact same score as the MPSF Championships, won by the Cardinal. Freshman Chris Turner had the top score of the rotation with a 14.550. Jason Stevens (14.350) and Abhinav Ramani (14.050) were also solid, while Lieberman competed the scoring with a 13.550.
Moving to the still rings, Stanford started slowly, but James Fosco and Gentry came through big to give Stanford a score of 60.700. Fosco scored 15.250, before Gentry came through with a huge 15.800 that was the second highest score of the day. Jordan Nolff (14.850) and Nicholas Noone (14.800) completed the scoring, leaving Stanford in a comfortable spot for the final rotation.
Stanford finished on vault in what surely felt like a victory lap. Lieberman and Ramani opened with solid vaults to help Stanford take over the lead, scoring 15.850 and 15.950, respectively. The Cardinal then added to the lead as Dixon scored a 16.000 and then Buscaglia stuck a landing for the top vault of the day with a score of 16.350. Gentry added a 16.250 and to give Stanford a score of 64.550, the best of the day and enough for Stanford to win the NCAA title comfortably.
The finals of the all-around were also contested as part of the team finals with Lieberman and Dixon placing seventh and eighth, respectively. Both will earn All-America honors for their effort, in what surely pales in comparison to the team title.
The Cardinal is not done, as it will be back for the individual event finals on Saturday night. Competition begins at 7:00 p.m., PT, as the Cardinal will have six athletes complete in a total of 13 events.
Stanford Event Finalists