Feb. 5, 2008
STANFORD, Calif. -
The second-ranked Stanford men's gymnastics team will be traveling to the Las Vegas Sports Center to compete in the 2008 USA Gymnastics Winter Cup Challenge. Preliminary competition will begin on Wednesday, with the finals continuing on Friday.
Stanford will compete against fellow MPSF conference athletes from Nebraska, California, and Oklahoma at the Winter Cup Challenge, as well as NCAA athletes from Minnesota, Penn State, Ohio State, Iowa, Michigan, Illinois, and Temple. Stanford last competed two weeks ago, defeating fourth-ranked Cal and No. 14 Nebraska in the Stanford Open at Burnham Pavilion while recording an NCAA season high total score of 361.350.
The Winter Cup Challenge features approximately 84 male athletes competing in one age division. Participants from the 2007 Visa Championships, members of the Senior and Junior Elite National Teams, NCAA, and other approved athletes will all be featured at the two day contest.
The Winter Cup Challenge will consist of three sessions. Preliminary competition on day one is broken into two sessions of approximately 42 athletes each. Stanford will have five men in the first session, beginning at 12 p.m. Junior Bryant Hadden, senior Eli Alcarez, freshman Josh Dixon, freshman Alex Buscaglia, and freshman Tim Gentry will all start their rotation at the pommel horse. Each man will be competing in all-around, with the exception of Alcarez, who will compete in floor exercise and vault.
Buscaglia has proven to be a force from the start in his first year at the Farm, as he has captured at least a share of the vault title in his last two competitions, as well as floor exercise, and high bar titles in the dual meet against Cal. Stanford will look for Hadden and Gentry to provide exceptional performances on still rings, while Dixon and Alcarez are strong on vault.
The second session on Wednesday will begin at 6 p.m. as senior David Sender
, freshman Ryan Lieberman
, senior Dylan Carney
, and redshirt junior Sho Nakamori
will begin their rotation at still rings. Again, each man will be competing in all-around, with the exception of Carney, who will compete in floor exercise, vault, and high bar.
Sender is currently ranked first in the nation in high bar and all-around, as well as second in floor exercise, rings, and vault. Nakamori, another terrific gymnast who is ranked third in all-around, joins Sender as one of Stanford's Olympic hopefuls and has participated in two meets this season, highlighted by a second place finish of 89.400 in the all-around at the Stanford Open. Carney, a specialist in high bar, is currently ranked seventh in that event, tallying his season high score of 15.450 at the Stanford Open. Lieberman has also been a strong first-year gymnast for the Cardinal, recording the parallel bars title against Cal on January 18.
On Saturday, the top 42 athletes qualifying according to Men's Program Committee (MPC) approved points system will move on to the third and final session. Final all-around and individual rankings will be based on combined scores from both days. Along with the finals, the third session will feature the New Skills Competition, an open contest for men's gymnasts to showcase a special talent or newly learned skill.
Stanford fans should keep an eye on Sender and Nakamori, as the results of the 2008 Winter Cup Challenge will be used to select seven members for the Senior National Team. Four of those seven athletes will be determined using the MPC approved National Team Points Program, and three will be selected by the MPC.
For a complete list of participants, as well as more information on the Winter Cup Challenge, please visit http://www.usa-gymnastics.org/men/ and http://www.dustyritter.com/.