STANFORD, Calif. – Saturday’s meet at Burnham Pavilion felt like the Olympics with Japan, Canada, Finland and Norway joining the two Bay Area schools, Stanford and Cal.
Members of each countries national teams were on hand to put on a show in front of over 1,000 screaming spectators.
“The crowd is one of the reasons the international teams come to this meet, because it is so different than how things are run internationally,” said head coach Thom Glielmi. “We try to make it a great experience for the crowd through our competition. The guys get energized off the crowd.”
Japan’s collegiate all-star team took first place in the end, besting Stanford by just under four points to take the team title. The Cardinal finished with 443.65 points for second place, leaving the weekend with a 1-0 record after scoring over 14 points more than Cal’s total of 429.20.
“Our guys get a chance to see what gymnastics looks like internationally,” said Glielmi. “They realize that what they are doing here at Stanford is right there with competition around the world. Hopefully it is motivating.”
Although Japan took home first place, it was freshman Akash Modi who stole the show individually. Modi captured his fourth all-around title of the season with the top NCAA score of the season at 91.35. He finished .05 ahead of Japan’s Shohei Fujiwara for the crown. It was the second time he has scored 90 points or more. He is the only gymnast in the NCAA to top 90 points.
“It started off real well in vault and parallel bars,” said Modi. “I tried to do what I do every day in practice. I still have room for improvement. The energy level in the gym, along with my teammates, was great. It was nice to compete against some of the best teams in the world.”
Modi had the top score in the parallel bars with a 15.8 and scored at least a 15 in five of the six events. He had the second best floor score (15.35), the fourth best pommel horse (15.1) and tied for third in the vault (15.1). He has scored above a 15.0 in all four of his floor routines this season.
“Akash had a great day,” said Glielmi. “He was one of our top scorers in almost every event. He put some things back in after the Winter Cup and was big for us.”
Sophomore Dennis Zaremski put on a show on the rings, finishing in second place with a 15.8. It was his third 15.8 or better in five tries. Senior Chris Turner put together a career-best performance on the pommel horse with his 15.4 for the second highest mark on the day. Junior Brian Knott also tallied a career best, scoring 14.95 on the high bar.
Stanford will be back at home for its final meet of the regular season next Saturday, March 8 at 4 p.m. The Cardinal will host Ohio State, Arizona State and Cal.