Jan. 13, 2012
BERKELEY, Calif. - The No. 4 Stanford Cardinal began the 2012 season with a loss to the California Golden Bears, 340.900-334.800. The meet allowed the Cardinal to assess where it stands after its first competition since winning the NCAA title last season.
Opening on pommel horse, Stanford finished with a score of 54.700. John Martin led the Cardinal with a 14.500. Gabriel Alvarado followed with a 14.200 and Eddie Penev contributed a 13.400. Sean Senters, in his first collegiate competition, posted a 13.400 to round out the scoring. The Cardinal trailed by 2.800 after the first rotation as Cal began on floor exercise with a score of 57.500.
Floor exercise saw Paul Hichwa post a career-best 15.000. Senters followed with a 14.700, Penev scored a 14.500 and Brian Knott finished with a 14.100. The Cardinal cut the Cal lead to .300 after posting a score of 58.300 in floor exercise.
Jordan Nolff led Stanford in rings with a 14.200. Only four athletes competed in the event, with Knott (14.200), James Fosco (14.100) and Penev (13.800) posting counting scores.
Senters posted the highest individual score of the evening for the Cardinal in vault with a 15.200. Penev scored 14.500, Knott 14.300 and Hichwa 13.900. After four events, the Cardinal led by less than a point, 227.400 to 226.600.
Senters made his presence felt in his first event with the Cardinal.
"It was great to see Sean compete," said head coach Thom Glielmi. "He injured his knee his senior year of high school after we had signed him and sat out all of last season. For his first meet, he did a fantastic job and we're very happy with his performance today."
After a strong start, the lack of depth and endurance began to show for Stanford.
"The first half of the meet was really encouraging," said assistant coach Brett McClure. "The guys were fresh and they showed some of their best gymnastics. They're not quite in shape yet and we saw that show up in the last two events."
John Martin had a strong routine on high bar, posting a 14.600 to lead the squad. Penev (13.900), Hichwa (13.500) and Cameron Foreman (12.200) rounded out the scoring.
The final event, parallel bars saw Penev post a 14.100 in his sixth event of the evening. Cale Robinson (13.600), Knott (13.400) and Nolff (12.100) posted counting scores for Stanford.
Glielmi knows there's work to be done to get back to the level that has defined the program in recent years.
"Their fitness needs to improve and they know that if they want to challenge for a national championship they're going to have to push themselves," he said. "The guys on this team have finished first and second and they like first better, and I like that they like that better."
The Cardinal doesn't need to wait long to have a re-match with Cal. The teams will meet again Saturday, January 21st at 7:00 p.m. at Burnham Pavilion.