The Stanford women’s gymnastics team defeated Utah in Salt Lake City for the first time in program history last Friday, winning three out of four events to squeak by with a 196.825-196.5 victory. The showdown between the No. 2 Cardinal and the No. 4 Utes came down to a nail-biting balance beam performance that helped the Cardinal (8-0) defeat previously unbeaten Utah (3-1).
The Utes trumped the Card’s vault score of 49.225 with a 49.275 mark of their own, but they fell to Stanford in every other event by at least one tenth of a point.
As the meet narrowed down, the match became dependent on Stanford’s performance on the balance beam. The third gymnast in the Cardinal’s lineup, freshman Kristina Vaculik, suffered a fall during her routine, putting more pressure on Stanford’s remaining beam competitors.
In order for Stanford to clinch the win, senior captain Allyse Ishino would have to perform a solid routine, and she did just that, scoring a near-perfect 9.900. Ishino tied for first on the balance beam with Stanford sophomore Ashley Morgan and Utah freshman Mary Beth Lofgren.
Stanford’s other top-finishers included senior Shelley Alexander on the vault with a score of 9.900, Ishino on the uneven parallel bars with a score of 9.900, Ishino and Morgan on the balance beam, each with a score of 9.900, and Morgan on floor exercise with a score of 9.925.
Stanford placed first in every event after the vault, and Ishino left Salt Lake City with the highest all-around score at 39.475, followed by Utah junior Stephanie McAllister’s mark of 39.400.
Ishino’s all-around score from the Utah meet was the best of her season and her career, and her score helped her earn Pac-10 Gymnast of the Week honors. Ishino and Alexander were previously tied for the all-around season best score for the Cardinal, each with marks of 39.350.
The win in Utah is the most recent in a banner season for Stanford, with a solid record of eight wins and no defeats with ten more events left on the schedule.
Stanford will compete against San Jose State back on the Farm on Saturday, with competition beginning at 4 p.m. in Burnham Pavilion.