Jan. 28, 2002
This Week's Action
Fri., Feb. 1...vs. No. 7 Arizona...7:30 p.m...Stanford, CA
Sun., Feb. 3...vs. No. 15 Denver...2 p.m...Stanford, CA
Currently on a two-meet winning streak, the Cardinal is back on track after dropping its season opener to Minnesota. Stanford's latest victim was Pac-10 rival Arizona State, who the Cardinal defeated 195.775-195.450 in Tempe las t Friday to improve to 2-1 overall on the year. The Cardinal will attempt to keep that momentum going this weekend, when it plays host to No. 7 Arizona and No. 15 Denver in a two-game homestand at Burnham Pavilion on Friday and Sunday. Following this weekend's meets, Stanford will not compete on The Farm until Feb. 22, when it hosts California in a marquee matchup.
Stanford in the National Rankings
The Cardinal (2-1) solidified its status in the national rankings with last week's road victory against Arizona State. Stanford checks in at No. 12 in the latest edition of the GymInfo National Rankings, after placing at No. 14 last week. The top five programs in the nation are as follows: No. 1 Utah, No. 2 Georgia, No. 3 Oklahoma, No.4 Nebraska and No. 5 Alabama. Other Pac-10 schools in the rankings include No. 7 Arizona State, No. 8 UCLA and No. 19 Arizona State. The Cardinal finished the 2001 season at No. 8, as it advanced to the NCAA Championships and ended with a 12-3 overall mark.
Scouting the Wildcats
Arizona (6-1), ranked No. 7 in the country, grabbed a victory in its first Pac-10 meet of the season last Friday, defeating the defending champion UCLA Bruins 195.175-195.100. The win was the first over UCLA since 1996, as five Wildcat gymnasts each set or tied season-high and career-high marks in the meet. Arizona is led by stellar freshmen Katie Johnson and Monica Bisordi, along with senior Randi Lijenquist. The Wildcats are led by head coach Bill Ryden, currently in his fourth season.
Scouting the Pioneers
No. 15 Denver (2-1) is coming off a 195.675-195.225 loss to No. 5 Alabama last weekend in Tuscaloosa, Ala. before 7,206 fans at Coleman Coliseum. The Pioneers had one gymnast tie for top honors in the vault and posted its highest team score in a road dual meet in program history in the loss. Sophomore All-American Ashley Shible leads the Pioneers on the vault apparatus, and scored a 9.900 to tie for top honors against Alabama. The Pioneers are guided by Melissa Kutcher-Rinehart, who is in her fourth season with the team.
The Smyth File
Kristen Smyth begins her first year at the helm of the Stanford women's gymnastics program. Smyth came to The Farm in June of 2001 after previously serving as the associate head coach at Arizona State during the last five seasons. Smyth came to Tempe as an assistant coach prior to the 1997 season, and was promoted to associate head coach in 2000. She was named the 1998 Regional Assistant Coach of the Year after helping the Sun Devils to a sixth-place finish at the NCAA Championships. During her tenure, Arizona State advanced to the NCAA Super Six in three of her five seasons.
Cardinal Makes It Two Straight
Stanford recorded its second consecutive Pac-10 victory, edging Arizona State 195.775-195.450 in front of 1,320 fans at Wells Fargo Arena in Tempe, Ariz., last Friday. The win was the first of the road variety this year for the Cardinal, while the Sun Devils endured only their fifth regular season home loss since 1992. The Cardinal outscored the Sun Devils in just one event- a season-high 49.225-48.100 advantage on the beam- but placed in the top-3 individually in each of the other three categories. Sophomore Caroline Fluhrer was first place in the All-Around with a 39.175, while sophomores Kendall Beck (vault) and Lise L?veill? (floor) and junior Abby Gair (bars) each posted season-high scores in their respective events for the Card.
Their Best Yet
Last weekend's meet against Arizona State was perhaps the best effort yet in 2002 by the Cardinal. Stanford set team season-highs in three of the four events (bars, beam, floor), and notched its best overall score of the year at 195.775. Stanford bested the Sun Devils on the beam,with Cardinal gymnasts finishing in five of the top six spots. Abby Gair and Caroline Fluhrer posted individual season high scores on the balance beam and floor exercise.
A Balanced All-Around Lineup
With three meets in the books, the Cardinal find themselves ranked among the top-20 nationally in all four categories. Stanford is currently ranked No. 8 on the uneven bars at 48.842 and No. 11 on the vault, notching an average score of 48.708. The Cardinal is also ranked sixth on the balance beam at 48.683 and 23rd on the floor exercise (48.558.)
It Won't Be Easy
Seven of the 12 opponents Stanford faces this season are ranked in the latest edition of the top-25. The Cardinal faces non-conference foes Florida, Penn State and Minnesota, along with its usual competitive Pac-10 slate. Stanford University will also be the host site for the 2002 Pac-10 Championships on Mar. 23.
Sophomore Caroline Fluhrer has picked up where she left off in her freshman campaign. Fluhrer has competed in the All-Around in each of the first three meets, and her 9.875 tally last weekend at Arizona State is the highest floor exercise score of any Cardinal gymnast this season. The 2001 All Pac-10 selection also holds the top All-Around score for Stanford this season, netting a 39.225 against Minnesota in the season opener.