March 2, 2013
STANFORD, Calif. -
After being recognized for his contributions to the Stanford men's gymnastics team as part of Senior Night, Eddie Penev did his best to ensure his final performance in Burnham Pavilion was a memorable one.
Penev did just that, claiming individual victories on floor, vault and in the all-around with scores that were not only personal season highs, but the highest of any Stanford gymnast this season.
His standout performance helped lead No. 5 Stanford (7-1) to a second place finish Saturday night in the Collegiate Challenge, trailing only the Japanese Collegiate National Team - comprised of Japan's top collegiate gymnasts - by a score of 438.850-431.200. Stanford finished ahead of No. 9 California (422.750), Arizona State (389.900) and Washington (357.700).
The victory over Cal (1-7) marked Stanford's fifth on the season and sixth consecutive dating back to the 2012 MPSF Championship Tournament on April 7.
Seniors Paul Hichwa and James Fosco were also honored in a pre-meet ceremony celebrating their commitment to the program. Hichwa had a strong night, delivering impressive performances on floor, parallel bars and high bar. Fosco, ranked 13th in the nation on rings, used the night to rest and did not compete.
Along with competing against four other teams, the competitors also had to adjust to the new "five-up, five-count" scoring format that was enacted March 1, in which each gymnasts' score would count toward his team's overall total. The previous format saw six gymnasts perform, with only five scores counting and the lowest being dropped.
Penev and Hichwa got Stanford started on floor with season-best performances. Competing in the anchor position, Penev provided the exclamation point to the Cardinal's first-place team score of 74.300, with a season-high 16.000. It is the highest score on floor by any Stanford gymnast this season.
Hichwa performed in the third slot and delivered a season-best 14.800. Sophomore Sean Senters contributed a 14.850 while classmate Michael Levy added a 14.500.
A week after posting its highest score of the season on pommel horse, Stanford had some difficulty on the event. Gabe Alvarado and Chris Turner led the way, posting 14.500s.
Stanford would get back on track on rings, paced by the emergence of freshman Dennis Zaremski. After two solid routines by Kevin Baker (14.450) and Turner (14.350), Zaremski delivered a career-best 15.350. Zaremski's score is the highest by any Stanford gymnast this season.
Performing again in the anchor position, Penev capped off the event by tying his season-high of 14.450. Stanford seemed to regain its momentum as it headed to vault, one of its strongest events.
However, the Cardinal would need to overcome a shaky start after its first competitor suffered a fall. Hichwa and Baker followed the missed routine with good performances, earning scores of 14.450 and 14.000, respectively.
That set the stage for Penev, who delivered a season-best 15.600 to claim first in the event. His score is the highest of any Cardinal gymnast on vault this season. Penev was followed by Senters who earned a 15.100.
Cameron Foreman led Stanford on parallel bars with a top team score of this own, earning a career-high 15.600. His score ranks first among Stanford gymnasts this season on parallel bars. Hichwa made his 2013 debut in the event with a solid performance, earning a 14.250.
Foreman continued to deliver in the bars events with a season-high 15.100 to pace the Cardinal. Penev contributed the second-highest Stanford score with a 14.650 and secured the all-around title with a season-best total of 88.950. Turner set a season-high with a 14.600.
Stanford will hit the road for its next meet as it heads to West Point, N.Y. to take on Army and Springfield on March 9 at 4 p.m. (PT).