STANFORD, Calif. – No. 4 Stanford led for the majority of the meet but finished third after a tough final rotation at the Stanford Open Saturday night in Burnham Pavilion.
The Cardinal scored 429.900 to finish behind No. 2 Michigan (433.050) and No. 6 California (430.300) in front of a sold out and raucous crowd that featured a strong contingent of fans from each school. Washington’s club team also participated in the meet and placed fourth with a 363.650.
Stanford entered the final rotation on high bar poised to knock off defending national champion Michigan and earn its tenth consecutive victory over California, holding over a three-point advantage over both teams. However, the Cardinal was unable to overcome significant holes in its high bar lineup and was passed by both opponents.
Stanford entered the meet planning on only five gymnasts competing on high bar with each of their scores counting. However, the Cardinal had to pull Akash Modi from the lineup after he suffered a fall on parallel bars in the fifth rotation and needed stitches for a cut on the top of his head.
Modi was replaced on high bar by Andrew Misiolek who competed on the event for the first time in his collegiate career, earning an 11.900 and a round of high-fives from teammates. Cale Robinson led the way in the event, tying his collegiate best of 14.600 to finish second.
“It was good to see the guys step up when we had to pull Akash from the competition, especially Misiolek who isn’t in the high bar lineup but felt comfortable getting out there and do a routine for the team,” said head coach Thom Glielmi. “It was very impressive to see that from a freshman.”
Despite the difficulties encountered during the final two rotations, the night was filled with highlight performances from Stanford gymnasts. Nine Cardinal athletes delivered at least one collegiate-best routine.
Dennis Zaremski had a terrific night, setting a collegiate best on rings (15.950) to place first and earning the individual victory on parallel bars with a 15.350.
“Hopefully the guys will see their potential,” Glielmi said. “We were right there with Michigan and ahead of them. We were having a decent meet with a lot of the bigger difficulty routines not competing. If the guys start doing the math, they’re going to realize they’re in the mix. Then, it’s a matter of making sure everything comes together at the end of the season.”
The Cardinal got off to a strong start on floor and was led by Michael Levy who tabbed a collegiate-best 15.450 to finish tied for third. Modi delivered the Cardinal’s second-highest score with a 15.250 and was followed by Jonathan Deaton (14.300) and Robinson (14.150). It was Robinson’s first performance on floor since April 7, 2012 at the MPSF Championships, after which he sustained an injury that kept him out the rest of the season and the 2013 season.
Modi continued his hot start on pommel horse with a collegiate-best 15.100 to place third. Chris Turner notched a 14.300 and Misiolek earned a collegiate-best 14.050 to help give Stanford the early lead.
The Cardinal had a big day on rings, highlighted by Zaremski’s 15.950. He was followed by Levy (14.850) and Modi (14.800). Jordan DeClerk (14.750) and Brandon Beckhardt (14.150) each delivered collegiate bests to help Stanford extend its lead.
Modi finished third on vault with a 14.900, and was followed by Taylor Seaton (14.850) and Turner (14.600).
Stanford had a strong start on parallel bars with David Frankl (14.500) and Cameron Backes (14.850) earning collegiate bests. However, the Cardinal lost a big routine in the rotation when Modi suffered a fall in the fourth position. Zaremski got the team back on track with a meet-best 15.350 and DeClerk closed the event with a 14.400.
The strong finish on parallel bars kept Stanford in the top spot heading into the final rotation. However, with a majority of the starting high bar lineup sidelined, the Cardinal did not have quite enough difficulty in its routines to hold off Michigan and California.
Stanford will have next weekend off and head to Oklahoma for a dual meet on Feb. 8 at 5 p.m. PT.