Stanford gymnastics leaped into their seasons with strong starts this past weekend, with the No. 8 women’s team taking home a second-place finish in the NorCal Classic and the No. 3 men’s team besting Bay Area rival No. 7 Cal in the Big Flip-Off on Monday night.
Sophomore standout Elizabeth Price took home the all-around title with a final score of 39.500. For the men, juniors Akash Modi and Taylor Seaton both finished their nights with two individual event titles apiece.
Price’s strong performance on Sunday earned her the honor of Pac-12 Gymnast of the Week, the first time she has received this award in her collegiate career. Price swept all of the individual events with meet-best scores in vault (9.850), bars (9.900), beam (9.850) and floor (9.900).
Junior Nicolette McNair finished top-three on bars (9.875), vault (9.800) and beam (9.800). Additionally, four Stanford gymnasts combined for 10 top-three finishes. No. 14 California took first in the meet, followed by Stanford, Sacramento State, San Jose State and UC Davis.
Head coach Kristen Smyth followed a pattern similar to past season-opening meets. This first competition was meant to build confidence and composure to take the team through the rest of the season and establish momentum. The routines weren’t as difficult as usual either, allowing gymnasts to turn their energy towards consistency.
An equally talented performance by No. 3 Stanford men’s gymnastics pushed them to a dominating win over No. 7 Cal. Modi, last year’s NCAA all-around champion, won all-around at this meet with a career-best 15.700 on floor. But it was the pommel horse where the Cardinal dominated, posting a score of 73.550 to Cal’s 66.450.
Junior Drew Willoughby led the way with a 14.900 on pommel horse, followed by Modi’s 14.850. Stanford felt a lull in parallel bars and made some mistakes, but high bar was where California was able to best the Cardinal, 70.300 to 70.050. Golden Bears Kevin Ko and Aaron Mah, who scored 14.300 and 14.200 respectively, were able to give Cal the win on the high bar.
Stanford women’s gymnastics will look to continue its strong performance at No. 9 Georgia. The Bulldogs dropped their season opener to No. 7 Michigan in a close 196.925 to 195.200 meeting. Georgia struggled on beam, which is where Stanford recorded some of its best scores this past weekend. A key event for Georgia is bars, led by freshman Sydney Snead, who posted a 9.900 in her collegiate debut.
The No. 8 women’s gymnastics team will travel to take on No. 9 Georgia in Athens next Monday at 11 a.m, while the men will be back in action this Saturday, Jan. 16, competing in the Cal Benefit Cup at Berkeley.
Contact Taylor Duarte at taylor3 ‘at’ stanford.edu.