Gymnastics: Both teams notch encouraging wins

Jan. 24, 2012, 3:03 a.m.


Coming off a victory in the NorCal Quad Meet, the Stanford women’s gymnastics team continued its success by beating the Washington Huskies in its second meet of the season. However, unlike last week, this victory was not so comfortable.


While the Cardinal never trailed in last week’s meet and had a relatively easy time putting away its three opponents, Sunday’s meet was a nail-biter to the very end, which makes it all the more gratifying. The Cardinal, despite trailing early in the meet, ultimately pulled out a 195.925-195.725 victory over its in-conference opponents to keep its perfect record intact.


Starting on the vault, the Cardinal was led by junior Ashley Morgan’s 9.850 score and freshman Ivana Hong’s 9.800. Hong, coming off an ankle injury that kept her from competing in last week’s match, was making her collegiate debut on Sunday, but is certainly no stranger to pressure.

Gymnastics: Both teams notch encouraging wins
Senior Alyssa Brown scored a crucial 9.700 from the anchor position on the beam to help secure Stanford's narrow victory over Washington. (NICK SALAZAR/The Stanford Daily)


A member of the 2009 U.S. team that won a gold medal at the World Championships, Hong earned a bronze medal on the beam in the event. Though she competed in just the vault on Sunday, she is expected to participate in more events as the season continues and her ankle improves.


Through the first event, the Cardinal trailed by 0.300 points, as the Huskies put up a very strong performance on the bars with a 49.050 team score. Competing on the bars, Stanford looked to narrow the deficit as the Huskies took to the vault.


Stanford posted its best score on the bars, thanks to freshmen Rebecca Wing (9.900) and Sam Shapiro (9.850), as well as senior Nicole Pechanec (9.850). Wing, who made her collegiate debut last week, has also had her fair share of pressure situations, as she competed for Great Britain in the 2008 Olympics. She was the team’s first competitor in the bars, as well as on the beam and floor in the later rounds, a responsibility designated generally for the more consistent performers, but one that does not faze her.


“It’s definitely an honor to have the leadoff position, especially as a freshman,” Wing said. “It’s always been my favorite position though, and it’s where I feel most comfortable.” Her 9.900 score was tied for the team-high on the afternoon and helped cut Washington’s lead to just 0.175 as the third round began.


Wing also excelled on the beam, earning a 9.875 to improve her score by 0.300 from last week. Morgan’s 9.900 led the team in the event, as they put together a team score of 49.100 and took a 147.000-146.975 lead going into the fourth event.


Morgan and Pechanec helped the Cardinal seal its victory in its final event as the team scored a combined 48.925. Morgan’s 9.900 (her second 9.900 on the floor in as many weeks) gave her a score of 9.850 or above in three of the four events she competed in, while Pechanec’s 9.875 meant she was the all-around winner for the afternoon, the first all-around victory of her collegiate career.


The Cardinal’s victory improved its undefeated streak to 32 matches against conference opponents inside Burnham Pavilion. And it was a good day for the team to do so, as a group of former Stanford gymnasts was in attendance after being honored before the event. The Cardinal goes on the road for its next meet, as it competes against Oregon State on Friday.


After losing to rival California in its opening meet just last week, the No. 8 Stanford men’s gymnastics team looked to avenge the earlier defeat as it hosted the Bears on Saturday.


The No. 4 team in the country going into its opening meet against Cal, the Cardinal lost 340.900-334.800 to Cal and, as expected, saw a subsequent drop in the national rankings. Stanford was able to avenge its loss, earning a 345.200-340.450 victory and evening the season series with their rivals.


As was the case in the teams’ previous meeting, it was a close score in the first couple of rounds until one team pulled away. This time, however, it was the Cardinal’s turn to come out with the victory.


Starting on the floor, Stanford got off to a 58.350-57.250 lead against the Bears, in large part due to junior Eddie Penev’s 16.000, which tied his career-high score in the event and was the high score for the team on the day.


Cal fought back to take a 115.600-113.800 lead after the pommel horse. Junior Gabe Alvarado led the team in the pommel horse with his 14.750 score, followed by Penev (14.100) and junior John Martin (13.450). Stanford would then take control of the lead after the rings, a lead it held onto for the rest of the meet. Junior James Frosco, a rings specialist, led the team in the event, posting a 15.450 to help the Cardinal score a 58.350 as a team.


From there, it was just a matter of the Cardinal maintaining its lead to finish out the meet. Its performance on the vault helped it do just that, as all four Stanford competitors posted qualifying scores. The team was led by 15.300 scores from freshman Sean Senters—his second straight career-high score (topping his 15.200 from the previous meet)—and Penev to earn a 59.450 team score and extend its lead to 231.600-228.250.


The Cardinal went on to extend its lead to 3.600 points after the parallel bars and ultimately won by a margin of 4.850 points, a huge change from the 3.900-point loss the team suffered to start the season. Penev scored an overall 88.550 to win the all-around competition for the second meet in a row (improving his score from 84.200), while freshman Brian Knott finished in third overall again, improving his score from 80.400 to 84.000.


Like the women’s team, the men will be back in action this weekend as they host the Stanford Open on Saturday night from the Farm.

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