Feb. 14, 2008
STANFORD, Calif. -
Stanford gymnasts senior David Sender and redshirt junior Sho Nakamori were named to the Senior Men's National Gymnastics team on February 12, at the conclusion of the Winter Cup Challenge this past weekend. The two are attempting to qualify for the men's gymnastics Olympic squad that will descend on Beijing, China in August for the 2008 Summer Olympic Games.
The results of the 2008 Winter Cup Challenge were used to select seven members for the Senior National Team. Four of those seven athletes were determined using the Men's Program Committee (MPC)-approved National Team Points Program, and three were selected by the MPC. Going into the Winter Cup, Nakamori knew that his spot on the national team had already been secured through the next World Championships, Sender, however, had to re-earn his spot, and through his sixth place finish, he successfully did so.
Sender finished the competition with a combined all-around score of 175.200 (=87.800+87.400). Sender was the highest-placing collegiate athlete, with only Team Chevron members finishing ahead of him, including 2004 Olympic gold medalist Paul Hamm, who captured the Winter Cup Challenge crown. Sender's top score of the competition came on vault, where he recorded an outstanding 16.100. Sender is currently second only to Penn State's Casey Sandy in all-around and floor exercise in NCAA national rankings, averaging 88.937 and 15.617, respectively. Sender is also in the second spot in still rings (15.962) and vault (15.062).
Nakamori placed 21st at the Winter Cup, recording a 156.400 in all-around for both days. He was unable to participate in floor exercise in the preliminary competition and recorded an all-around of 68.700, but completed all events in the final round, notching a 87.700 in all-around on the second day of competition. In the NCAA national ranks, Nakamori is within the top-ten positions in floor exercise (No. 7), pommel horse (No. 9) and parallel bars (No. 3). Nakamori is also ranked fourth in all-around, averaging a score of 88.550.
The two gymnasts will head to Doha, Qatar to take place in the First Doha ART Gymnastics World Cup A on March 4-6. Following that, they will participate in the Visa USA Championships May 22-24 in Houston, Texas and the Olympic Trials on June 19-22 in Philadelphia.
Their selection to the Olympic squad will depend on how they fare in the USA Championships and the Olympic Trials. Scores, history of success, and event preparation will factor into whether or not they are successful in making the team. The competitions will be a good chance for Sender and Nakamori to perform in front of judges who will be at the 2008 Summer Olympic Games, and for the judges to become familiar with the gymnasts.
The two men missed Stanford's earlier meet against California in Berkeley due to training obligations at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. They will be missing future meets against Michigan on March 2, and California again on March 8 in The Big Flip Off at Maples Pavilion on the Stanford campus due to traveling to and from Qatar.
A complete release from the USA Gymnastics Website on those named to the Senior Men's National Team can be viewed here http://www.usa-gymnastics.org/news/2008/feb12-mensnationalteam.html.