Dec. 19, 2012
STANFORD, Calif. -
The Stanford women's gymnastics team was picked to finish third in the Pac-12 preseason coaches' poll, announced today by the conference.
The Cardinal was selected behind fellow perennial powerhouses, UCLA, picked to finish first in the Pac-12, and Utah, voted to finish second. All three teams competed in last season's NCAA Super Six finals.
The Cardinal is followed by Oregon State at No.4. All four teams are ranked in the preseason national top 10, showcasing the strength of the Pac-12 Conference and the competition the Cardinal will face this season.
Expectations are high for Stanford entering 2013 after putting together a remarkable fourth-place Super Six finish last season when it recorded its highest team score of the year (197.500) and finished just 0.35 points out of first place. It was the Cardinal's highest point total and closest margin to first place at the NCAA Championships in school history.
The Cardinal has reached the Super Six finals six times since head coach Kristen Smyth took over the program in 2002 and has four top-four finishes.
The team returns an experienced core with five All-Americans in seven events, and will welcome back sophomore, Kristina Vaculik, who took last year off to prepare for and compete in the 2012 London Olympics for Canada.
The Cardinal opens its season on Jan. 4 at the NorCal Quad Meet, hosted by San Jose State, and will host its first home meet on Feb. 2 against Pac-12 rival UCLA. Stanford has won five conference team championships since 1998.
Here is the coaches' predicted order of finish, with first place votes in parentheses:
1. UCLA (4)
4. Oregon State
7. Arizona State