Jan. 13, 2010
Stanford, Calif. - The No. 1 Stanford men's gymnastics team is set to open the 2010 regular season on Friday night when they travel to Berkeley to face No. 2 California. The Cardinal will and Golden Bears will renew the Bay Area rivalry at 7:30 p.m. at Cal's Haas Pavilion.
The meet will give the Cardinal a chance to unveil some new routines and its revamped lineup for 2010. Several gymnasts will be making their Cardinal debut.
"This is our first meet in a long time," said head coach Thom Glielmi. "A lot of our guys did not compete last year and for some it is their first time in a Stanford uniform. It is important to see how they handle the pressure of a meet, but also how they react to being part of a lineup."
This year's team has six different All-Americans returning, including Tim Gentry and Nicholas Noone, who each won a pair in 2009. The Cardinal will miss Sho Nakamori, a three-time All-American last year for a total of eight times in his career.
However, the solid group of returners and a talented freshmen class earned the Cardinal a preseason No. 1 ranking. Stanford will now look to carry the early season promise into a NCAA title for the second consecutive season.
Other returning All-Americans from 2009 are Josh Dixon, Ryan Lieberman and Kyle Oi. In addition, Greg Ter-Zakariants was an All-American in the floor exercise in 2008.
The loss of Nakamori as well as All-Americanm, Bryant Hadden creates an opportunity for several returning athletes looking to break into the lineup this season. The Cardinal will also introduce a freshmen class that includes James Fosco, Paul Hichwa, Eddie Penev, Benjamin Rudolph and Jason Stevens.
The meet should preview two of the main competitors for the NCAA title in April. Both Stanford and Cal have the talent and depth to keep the title in the Bay Area and Friday's action will be a good preview of where the programs are in the very early going of 2010.