STANFORD, Calif. – Stanford continued to showcase its status as one of the nation’s elite programs in 2014, earning its eighth top-three finish at the NCAA Championships in the past nine seasons.
The Cardinal completed the season with a third-place finish at the national championships for a second consecutive year. Stanford went 15-7, registering 15 wins over top-10 opponents, including six ranked in the top five. Five Cardinal gymnasts combined for eight All-America honors.
There were plenty of highlight team performances throughout the season, including knocking off No. 1 Oklahoma at the Metroplex Challenge, 445.150-442.400, and breaking the 440.0 team score mark for the first time in program history, doing so in three consecutive meets (Feb. 14, March 1, March 8).
The future remains bright for the Cardinal which will return 16 of 19 gymnasts and 25 of 30 routines from this year’s NCAA Finals.
“It was a good learning year,” said head coach Thom Glielmi. “We had a young team that was heavy with freshmen and sophomores. The upperclassmen showed great leadership, which was encouraging and helpful in preparing the team for the championships.”
Among the returners is freshman Akash Modi, who was named the 2014 Mountain Pacific Gymnast of the Year and earned All-America honors in the all-around, parallel bars and pommel horse. He finished second in the all-around and parallel bars, and third on pommel horse at the NCAA Championships.
Modi led the nation with four Collegiate Gymnastics Association Gymnast of the Week awards and paced the MPSF with four Gymnast of the Week honors.
Modi spent a majority of the year ranked first in the nation in the all-around and was one of two gymnasts to break the 90.0 mark in the event, registering two of the nation’s three scores above the benchmark.
“He’s one of the hardest workers we have,” said Glielmi. “He continues to improve his execution and difficulty and he’s a leader by example.”
Despite returning a majority of its routines from the 2014 season, the Cardinal will have leadership voids to fill as it graduates seniors Paul Hichwa, Cale Robinson and Chris Turner. The trio held regular lineup spots throughout their time with the team and carried a wealth of experience gained beginning in their freshman year when they claimed the team’s most recent NCAA title.
Stacked with talent and an additional year of experience, Glielmi believes the younger gymnasts will be ready to fill those leadership gaps and continue to meet the examples the seniors set this season.
“The foundation and expectation level has been set,” said Glielmi. “There is still room for improvement, but as a team I think the season was a good learning experience for them.”
With the core group of competitors intact, Stanford will continue to pursue its sixth national championship in 2015.
The following is a rundown of honors accumulated by the team and individual from the 2014 season:
- Third-place NCAA finish
- 16th consecutive NCAA Championships appearance, 31st overall
- Ninth straight appearance at the NCAA Championships Finals
- Eighth top-three finish in the past nine years at the NCAA Championships
- Fifth third-place finish in program history
- Five Cardinal gymnasts combined for eight All-America honors
- 103 All-America honors since 2002 (Head coach Thom Glielmi’s first season.)
- Two MPSF Championships individual event winners
- Conference-best nine MPSF All-Academic awards
- Akash Modi is Stanford’s 21st U.S. Senior National Team member
- Chris Turner became Stanford’s 21st Nissen-Emery Award Nominee