STANFORD, Calif. – Stanford has firmly established itself as one of the country’s elite men’s gymnastics programs and enters the 2014 season poised to challenge for another national title.
The Cardinal finished third at the 2013 NCAA Championships, recording its seventh NCAA top-three finish in the past eight years. It was the team’s 15th consecutive NCAA Championships appearance and 30th overall.
Six gymnasts earned nine All-America honors and Eddie Penev was named the Nissen-Emery Award winner, as the top senior gymnast in the country – Stanford’s fourth recipient of the award.
The third-ranked Cardinal returns 10 letterwinners, including five All-Americans, and welcomes a talented group of seven freshmen for the 2014 campaign.
While there are just six upperclassmen on the squad – Paul Hichwa, Sean Senters, Cale Robinson, Chris Turner, Brian Knott and Michael Levy – each has been a significant contributor during their time on The Farm. The experienced group will be tasked with delivering consistently during competitions and providing leadership to the 13 underclassmen.
The Cardinal opens the season Saturday at 1 p.m. at No. 7 California in a meet that will be televised on the Pac-12 Network. Stanford will see the Golden Bears the following week on Jan. 18 for its own home-opener in the Big Flip Off at 4 p.m. in Burnham Pavilion.
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Head coach Thom Glielmi discussed the upcoming season and the type of gymnastics Stanford will deliver this season.
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Cardinal by Class
Seniors: This year’s seniors represent the final group of gymnasts that were a part of the program’s most recent NCAA title in 2011. Hichwa, Senters, Robinson and Turner will look to return to the top of the podium and will provide leadership to the wealth of young talent on the roster.
Hichwa was a regular contributor in 2013 on floor and high bar, and made appearances on vault and parallel bars.
Senters had a strong season on floor and vault last season, earning All-America honors in both events.
Robinson returns to the lineup after missing 2013 due to an injury sustained just before the 2012 NCAA Championships. Prior to the setback, he was having a terrific 2012 season and excelled on vault, floor and parallel bars.
Turner is one of the Stanford’s most consistent performers and appeared in the second-most events of any Cardinal gymnast in 2013. He competed in the all-around twice and is particularly strong on pommel horse, rings and parallel bars.
Juniors: The smallest of the classes on the team, Knott and Levy are expected to provide significant contributions in multiple events. Knott claimed his first All-America honor in 2013 on high bar and recorded two of Stanford’s top four scores on parallel bars.
Levy earned a 10th-place finish on rings at the 2013 NCAA Championships Semifinals and competed for the Cardinal on floor in every meet last year.
Sophomores: With a year of experience, including a trip to the NCAA Championships Finals, under its belt, the sophomore class will be looked upon to deliver big results and provide depth in lineups. The six gymnasts include Kevin Baker, Jonathan Deaton, Dennis Zaremski, David Frankl, Brandon Beckhardt and Wilson Patton.
Baker, Deaton and Zaremski led the way for the group as freshmen, consistently making lineups throughout the season. Baker competed in all 10 meets on vault and made seven rings lineups. Deaton became a regular in the vault lineup and had strong performances on floor and high bar.
Zaremski had an outstanding freshman campaign, highlighted by earning All-America honors on parallel bars. He also recorded three of Stanford’s top-six scores on rings.
Freshmen: The seven freshman gymnasts are expected to make an immediate impact and challenge for lineup positions throughout the season. The talented group includes Akash Modi, Cam Backes, Jordan DeClerk, Andrew McCabe, Andrew Misiolek, Taylor Seaton and Drew Willoughby.
While each member of the class will challenge for spots in lineups, Modi will be an especially important gymnast to keep an eye on. Modi, a member of the U.S. Senior National Team, could potentially fill the all-around position Penev held last year.
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Taking on the Best
Stanford will compete in seven regular season meets before beginning postseason competition at the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Championships and the NCAA Championships. The Cardinal will face a variety of elite opponents, including four teams ranked in the preseason top-15 coaches poll.
Stanford opens with back-to-back meets against No. 7 California with the first competition taking place in Berkeley and the latter at Stanford. The two programs will see each other for a third consecutive weekend on Jan. 25 at the Stanford Open, along with defending national champion No. 1 Michigan.
The Cardinal hits the road the following weekend to take on No. 2 Oklahoma on Feb. 8 before heading to the Metroplex Challenge on Feb. 14.
Stanford wraps up the regular season with two home meets, beginning with the Collegiate Challenge on March 1 when the Cardinal takes on California and national teams from Japan, Finland, Canada and Norway. The Cardinal welcomes No. 4 Ohio State and California the following weekend in the final meet of the regular season.
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Below is a list of accomplishments accumulated by the team from the 2013 season:
Third-place NCAA finish
15th consecutive NCAA Championships appearance, 30th overall
Eighth consecutive appearance at the NCAA Championships Finals
Seventh NCAA top-three finish in the past eight years
Fourth third-place finish in program history
Fourth Nissen-Emery Award winner, 20th nominee
Six gymnasts garnered nine All-America honors
95 All-America honors since 2002
20th U.S. National team member
Two MPSF Championships individual event winners
Eight MPSF All-Academic honors