March 4, 2009
STANFORD, Calif. -
The top-ranked men's gymnastics team will be competing this Saturday evening, March 7, against No. 7 Minnesota and No. 2 Oklahoma in Minneapolis. The tri-meet is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. CT (5 p.m. PT) at the Golden Gophers' Sports Pavilion, and will be televised (tape-delayed) on March 11 at 6 p.m. ET.
The meet marks the first time the Cardinal will square off against the Sooners, who narrowly edged Stanford in last year's NCAA Championships at Maples Pavilion by forty-five hundredths of a point, and the second between Minnesota, the hosts of the 2009 NCAA Men's Gymnastics Championships.
Stanford (6-3 overall against NCAA D-I schools) recently overtook Oklahoma in the GymInfo National Rankings for the No. 1 spot, and is the top-ranked team in three events (floor exercise, still rings, and horizontal bar). The Cardinal also has top-five rankings in the three other events, checking in at second on vault, fourth on pommel horse, and fifth on parallel bars.
Individually, redshirt senior Sho Nakamori is ranked in the top 10 on four apparatuses. The Albany, Calif. native is the top gymnast on parallel bars, fourth in all-around, seventh on floor exercise, and eighth on pommel horse.
Sophomore Josh Dixon and redshirt junior Greg Ter-Zakhariants are thrice-ranked, as Dixon is second on floor exercise, sixth on high bar, and ninth on vault. Ter-Zakhariants is third on floor exercise, seventh on high bar, and eight in all-around.
Senior Bryant Hadden owns the only other individual top-ranking on the team, and is the nation's best ring man. Sophomore Tim Gentry follows him on rings in second, and is also second on vault. Fellow sophomores Alex Buscaglia and Kyle Oi also earned top-10 rankings, with Buscaglia coming in at fifth on high bar and 10th on vault, and Oi in 10th on rings.
The Sooners are currently undefeated, notching two wins against Nebraska, one against Iowa, and taking the Rocky Mountain Open title. Oklahoma leads the nation on vault and parallel bars, but trails Stanford in every other event. The Sooners are led by Steven Legendre, who is the nation's best all-arounder and leads the NCAA on floor exercise and vault. Legendre also scored a No. 2 ranking on parallel bars and No. 6 on rings. Following this weekend's match, Oklahoma will take on Ohio State and Penn State in preparation for April's MPSF Championships at Stanford.
The Golden Gophers are 8-6 against NCAA D-I teams, and posted a big win over Penn State early in the season (Jan. 31). Statistically, Minnesota's best events are pommel horse and vault, indicated by its No. 5 ranking on each event. The Golden Gophers are led by Kit Beikmann and Aaron Fortunato. Beikmann is the nation's No. 3 gymnast on pommel horse and was an All-American last season, while Fortunato is rated seventh on parallel bars.
Following this weekend's competition, the Cardinal will return home to take on Illinois-Chicago at the end of the month (March 28) at Burnham Pavilion.