DAVIS, Calif. – No. 12 Stanford delivered the complete team performance it has been searching for this year, posting a season-best 197.275 to finish first in a quad meet Sunday at UC Davis.
The Cardinal (10-0, 2-0 Pac-12) kept its perfect record intact, finishing ahead of UC Davis (195.875), San Jose State (195.400) and Utah State (194.400).
It was a dominating performance by the Cardinal, which tied or recorded the highest team score in all four events and had gymnasts earn individual victories in each event.
Finishing competitions strong has been a common theme for Stanford this season and today was no different. The Cardinal delivered the highlight team-performance of the meet in its final rotation on beam, scoring a 49.600 – just 0.15 off the program-best score of 49.750.
Five Cardinal gymnasts scored 9.875 or higher on beam, with four in the 9.900 range. Shona Morgan laid the groundwork for a big team score in the leadoff position with a collegiate-best 9.950, while Amanda Spinner tabbed the meet’s top score with a collegiate-high 9.975.
“To perform that kind of routine with poise, confidence and competitiveness – it set the tone for everyone else to follow,” head coach Kristen Smyth said of Morgan’s opening performance. “It was a huge routine for us.”
Nicolette McNair and Kristina Vaculik turned in solid routines on beam, each earning a 9.900. Rachel Daum made her first collegiate lineup in the event and delivered a 9.875 in the anchor position to add an exclamation point and secure the first-place finish for the Cardinal.
Despite the multiple team and individual first-place finishes, Smyth was quick to note it did not come easy. The Cardinal was faced with obstacles throughout the competition but was able to persevere to post solid routines and scores.
“They faced a lot of situations where they really needed to rise up and show mental toughness and competitive greatness,” Smyth said. “To see them fight for everything was great.”
Stanford got off to a strong start on floor and was led by Pauline Hanset who tied her season best with a 9.875 and earned the individual victory. She was followed by freshmen Haley Spector and Rachel Daum, each scoring 9.825.
Melissa Chuang posted a 9.800 in the leadoff position on floor in her first routine in the event since Feb. 2, 2013. Jenna Frowein delivered a crucial routine in the third position after Stanford suffered a fall in the second spot and earned a 9.700.
The Cardinal had a great day on vault finishing with a 49.275. Nicolette McNair delivered an outstanding performance to earn a collegiate-best 9.925 and tie for the individual win. She was followed by her sister Danielle who also delivered a collegiate-best with a 9.900. Melissa Chuang continued to be consistent in the event, earning a 9.825 – her fourth consecutive meet with a 9.800 or higher.
Stanford maintained its momentum on bars to earn a season-best 49.375. Shona Morgan and Nicolette McNair opened with back-to-back scores of 9.850. After a fall in the third position, Danielle McNair got the Cardinal back on track with another 9.850.
Stanford closed out the event strong with Samantha Shapiro nailing her routine to earn a meet-best 9.925. Kristina Vaculik went 9.900 in the anchor position to give Stanford the lead heading into the final rotation.
The Cardinal took advantage of the momentum it had consistently been building throughout the meet and showcased its potential on beam with a season-best performance.
“We know we’re capable of scoring in the 197 range, so it was nice for us to finally do that and it builds confidence,” Smyth said. “The team will take that confidence with them into next week. This is who we are and what we’re capable of, and we’re going to embrace that.”
Stanford will travel to Oregon State on Monday, Feb. 3 to take on the Beavers at 7 p.m. in a meet televised on the Pac-12 Network.