April 4, 2009
Complete Results in PDF Format
STANFORD, Calif. - The top-ranked Stanford men's gymnastics team proved why it's currently the best team in the nation, beating defending national champion Oklahoma and the rest of the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation at Maples Pavilion this evening in the annual MPSF Championships. The Cardinal last won the conference championship 14 years ago in 1995, which is also the same year they last won the NCAA title.
Redshirt senior Sho Nakamori was the star of the Stanford squad, taking four event titles (all-around, pommel horse, parallel bars, and high bar) in his final performance in front of a home crowd. Nakamori was named the MPSF Gymnast of the Year for his efforts tonight and over the course of the season.
The Cardinal began the night on vault, and scored a season-best 64.100. Sophomore Josh Dixon became the third Stanford gymnast to hit 16.400 on the apparatus, joining alumni David Sender and sophomore Tim Gentry. Dixon took second place in the event. Sophomore Alex Buscaglia and Nakamori also nailed career-bests, 16.050 and 15.550 respectively.
On the next rotation, redshirt junior Greg Ter-Zakhariants tied his own career high of 14.6 on parallel bars as the Cardinal went on to score 58.500 to keep the overall team lead after two rotations. Nakamori won the event with a 15.400.
On horizontal bar, it was all Stanford, as the Cardinal swept the top-three spots on the event. Nakamori shared the event title with sophomore Alex Buscaglia with an even 15.000. Dixon took third with a 14.850. Despite the stellar performance, California snuck in to take the overall lead after the third rotation.
That would be the last time any team other than the Cardinal would have the overall lead though, as Stanford shone on floor exercise and was the best team of the night in the event, scoring a 61.800. The nation's top tumbler, Dixon, nailed a career-best 15.9 to take the event title. His score is also an all-time team best. Junior Eric Hergenrader (14.550) and Nakamori (15.450) also posted career-highs while senior Bryant Hadden tied his own career-high of 15.000.
The Cardinal came through on pommel horse, an event the team can struggle with, to score a 58.75, its second-best total on the apparatus this year. Dixon (14.050) and Ter-Zakhariants (14.750) scored career-highs, while Nakamori improved upon his own personal best as well as the team's season-best with a 15.250 to win the event.
Stanford kept its momentum rolling, putting up its best still rings score of the season (61.500) to seal the team victory. Sophomore Ryan Lieberman (14.650) and Nakamori (15.200) turned in personal season-highs, while redshirt sophomore Nick Noone (15.200) and sophomore Kyle Oi (15.150), and Gentry (15.450) nailed career-bests. Hadden on the event with his personal and the team's season best of 15.650.
When all the final scores were tallied up, Nakamori was the best all-around gymnast with a career-best 91.85 and the Cardinal were the 2009 MPSF Champions with a final score of 363.750, its best mark of the season.
"Everything is coming together, said MPSF Coach of the Year Thom Glielmi. "There is still room for improvement, as we had some guys miss routines we would normally want to count, but we have good enough guys to back them up and cover them so we can still post pretty solid scores. As far as the guys, they just have been working so hard. It's just coming together and that's the way it should be."
"We just got together before the meet and talked about performing and being aggressive," added Nakamori. "We had nothing to lose and we knew we had to go big to be able to win."
Commenting on participating on his last performance in front of a home crowd, Sho said, "It was amazing. It was so great to end on a high note. To win as a team is what we strive for every day in the gym. It's so much better than winning as an individual."
Stanford will next compete at the NCAA Championships. The event will be hosted by the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers in Minneapolis from April 16-18.