As a tumultuous season for the Stanford women’s gymnastics team came to an end this weekend in Fort Worth, Texas, one word stood out as a description for the team’s final performance: super.
The Cardinal competed in the NCAA individual and team finals over the weekend. On Friday night, Stanford turned in an inspiring team performance and posted a score of 197.175, tied for its second highest of the season. The score was good enough for third in the first semifinal, which vaulted Stanford into the Super Six.
In the Super Six, Stanford turned in yet another outstanding effort, posting a 197.250 that put the team in fifth place in an unbelievably competitive six-team field. Florida claimed its third straight national championship with a 197.850, with Utah, Oklahoma, Alabama, Stanford and Auburn rounding out the rest of the standings.
Stanford’s Super Six performance was highlighted by stellar performances all around. Senior Ivana Hong turned in a 9.950 on bars and claimed an individual event victory with a 9.975 on beam. Freshman Elizabeth Price competed like a true veteran en route to scoring above 9.900 in all four events. Fifth-year senior Kristina Vaculik also greatly contributed, ending her Stanford career by scoring a 9.900 on both bars and beam.
Hong and Vaculik contributed to an incredible team effort on the bars. The 49.575 team score in the event is tied for third highest in program history, and the fact that all six Stanford gymnasts scored at 9.875 or higher highlights the depth that Stanford carried into the event. Along with the 49.575 on the bars, Stanford put up a 49.250 in vault, a 49.550 on beam and a 48.875 on floor.
It was a strong finish for a team that made it further than most expected. No. 11 Stanford was the lowest-ranked team in the Super Six, with the other five being ranked Nos. 1, 2, 3, 5 and 8.
However, success for Stanford extended beyond the Super Six. On Sunday, in the individual finals, Price continued to make her first experience in collegiate finals a memorable one by winning the individual vault title with a score of 9.9333.
It was Stanford’s first individual championship since 2010, and one of three individual championships taken home by Pac-12 schools on Sunday. Aside from Price’s victory on the vault, Utah’s Georgia Dabritz took honors on bars with a 9.9625, UCLA’s Samantha Peszek won on beam with a 9.9500 and Kytra Hunter of Florida took the floor title with a 9.9650.
For Price, the remarkable weekend is just a taste of what’s to come. The 2012 U.S. Olympic team alternate has three years left as a member of head coach Kristen Smyth’s team, and as the only individual winner with eligibility for next year, it will be exciting for Stanford fans to see what Price can accomplish in the years that follow.
All in all, the Stanford women’s gymnastics team has come a long way from the 193.450 that the group posted in its first event of the year. The Cardinal’s fifth-place finish, as impressive as it is, doesn’t properly represent Stanford’s extraordinary weekend. The team returns back home for the offseason with an individual title and a tremendous upside among its belongings.
Contact Sandip Srinivas at sandips ‘at’ stanford.edu.