The Stanford men’s gymnastics team will look to end another strong season with a push for its sixth national title at the NCAA Championships in Norman, Oklahoma this weekend.
Stanford ranks second in the country behind only the hosts, Oklahoma, who edged the Cardinal in the MPSF championships on March 28. As the top two seeds in the championships, the Cardinal and Sooners will be in opposite semifinals. Stanford’s preliminary, which will take place on Thursday, also features Cal, Penn State, Minnesota, Nebraska and Air Force. The top three schools in each semifinal will move to the team finals on Friday. The top 10 individual finishers in each event advance to the event finals on Saturday.
As expected from a team of Stanford’s caliber, the Cardinal has several gymnasts capable of placing highly in the individual events. The Cardinal’s runner-up finish in the MPSF championships was punctuated by three titles from sophomore Akash Modi. Modi, the two-time MPSF Gymnast of the Year, won the all-around, parallel bars and floor, and is ranked in the top-10 nationally in all three events. Senior Michael Levy, a specialist in floor and rings, will look to replicate the success he had at last year’s NCAA Championships, where he made All-American with a personal best of 15.4 on floor.
“In my four years being here, this is the best chance we have to take the national title,” Levy said. “We want to go out there and put pressure on the other teams because that’s how we’re going to leave this season with no regrets.”
Junior Dennis Zaremski has been a consistent top scorer all season in parallel bars and rings. Like Levy, Zaremski had a stellar championship meet last season, finishing fifth in the country on rings. Senior Brian Knott, twice an All-American in parallel bars, has shown tremendous improvement in pommel horse over the course of the season, regularly posting scores over 15.
Stanford’s final senior, fifth-year Sean Senters, has been nearly undefeated on vault this season. His lone blemish came when he finished fourth in the conference championships. Senters has had a knack for producing high scores in big meets during his Stanford career, especially on floor and vault.
Despite the Cardinal’s considerable individual talent, the NCAA meet is structured in a way that rewards consistency across the board.
Levy said, “With this format, one miss can end a team, one miss can open the door for everyone else.”
Contact Sanjay Srinivas at ssri16 ‘at’ stanford.edu.