No. 17 women’s gymnastics and No. 2 men’s gymnastics posted big scores this past weekend, earning both teams victories and marking new season-high scores.
The women’s team posted a season-high total of 196.675 to best both No. 23 California and unranked San Jose State in its home opener on Sunday in Burnham Pavilion. In addition to the team victory, sophomore Elizabeth Price took home a third consecutive Pac-12 Gymnast of the Week award for her 39.550-point show in the all-around competition.
The strength from the women came from their performances on beam and vault. Fifth-year senior Ivana Hong captured the individual title on beam with a 9.925, while senior Melissa Chuang followed with a 9.875 to earn second place.
“Ivana Hong did what was in my opinion a perfect routine,” head coach Kristen Smyth. “Absolutely beautiful and gorgeous.”
On vault, five of the six gymnasts for Stanford scored above a 9.800, with the highlight being Price’s 9.925 performance. This event gave the Cardinal an early lead with a combined score of 49.175.
A big story of the meet was junior Nicolette McNair. She had been battling sickness throughout the week, was unable to practice on Wednesday and only practiced modified routines on Thursday and Friday. Despite illness and limited practice, McNair posted a 9.825 on beam, 9.800 on vault and a 9.875 on bars — a score that would earn her second place in that event.
“It’s a really great feeling as a coach to have your starter be as aggressive and consistent as [Nicolette] is and to know that she can do that without feeling great,” Smyth said. “She is an amazing person and competitor.”
The No. 2 men’s team had its own record-breaking weekend, beating both No. 3 Ohio State and No. 5 California on the road. The team gathered a season-high 445.550, its best road score since 2012. Junior Akash Modi took individual titles in four events as well as the all-around title.
The team had strong performances in both pommel horse and floor this weekend, setting new season highs. Modi delivered a career-best 16.000 performance on floor, in addition to earning his second individual title on pommel horse with a score of 15.400.
Ohio State got the best of the Cardinal on rings. Junior Taylor Seaton put up a career-best to take second in the event with a score of 15.050, but it was not enough to overcome the Buckeyes’ team score of 73.800.
Sophomore Ryan Sheppard and Modi both posted season-bests on parallel bars of 15.000 and 15.250, respectively, to give Stanford its push over Ohio State. It was no different on high bar, where the Cardinal also posted a team season-best of 75.050 to bring the men’s final score to 445.550, the team’s highest score since March 2014.
Stanford men’s gymnastics will return to The Farm this weekend to host the Stanford Open on Saturday, Jan. 30 at 7 p.m. in Burnham Pavilion. The women’s team will travel to Fort Worth, Texas for the Metroplex Challenge, where it will take on No. 2 Oklahoma, No. 6 LSU, No. 16 Missouri and unranked Washington next Saturday at 5 p.m.
Contact Taylor Duarte at taylor3 ‘at’ stanford.edu.