The Stanford men’s gymnastics team had a dominant all-around performance in the NCAA Preliminary Round, finishing with a season best 366.100 and securing a spot in today’s NCAA Team Championship.
The Cardinal will square off against California, Oklahoma, Penn State, Illinois and defending champion Michigan in Columbus, Ohio.
Thursday night, Stanford started off strong with its best performance of the season on the parallel bars. Its score of 61.650 on the event was the highest in the country this year. It helped to have the defending champion on parallel bars in senior Ryan Lieberman—and it helped that he scored a career-best 15.650.
With a solid score on the horizontal bar from defending NCAA individual champion senior Alex Buscaglia, Stanford took a commanding lead in the afternoon session. When the team scored a season-best 61.700 on the floor exercise, it was clear that Stanford was in peak form.
Even on the pommel horse, an event that has given many on the team fits this year, Stanford performed well. And in the final event, the vault, Buscaglia had the top vault of anyone in the session and tied his career-best score of 16.400.
Lieberman was the sole Cardinal athlete in the all-around competition, and he finished second overall with a season-best score of 89.250.
Heading into the Team Finals, Stanford is trying to win its fifth NCAA title and second under head coach Thom Glielmi. In addition, the next NCAA title Stanford captures will be the school’s 100th in all sports and would make Stanford just the second university after UCLA to win 100.
The Team Finals begin tonight at 7 p.m.