Women’s gymnastics stages comeback against Arizona, wins first home meet of the season

Jan. 31, 2017, 12:38 a.m.

In its first home meet of the season, Stanford women’s gymnastics (4-5, 1-1 Pac-12) pulled off a come-from-behind victory to down Arizona (5-1, 0-1) 195.900-195.650 on Sunday.

The Cardinal entered their final rotation trailing 147.100-146.725 before scoring a season-best 49.175 on floor to capture the win. Five Stanford gymnasts earned season-highs on floor to propel the team forward, and junior Elizabeth Price captured a meet-best 9.925 on the apparatus to seal the victory.

Price continued to dominate the field, winning vault (9.900), bars (9.925) and floor in the meet. The reigning Pac-12 Gymnast of the Year has won seven of the nine events she has competed in this season.

This year’s freshman class impressed in its home debut. Kaylee Cole contributed in each of her three events, helping the team on vault (9.800), beam (9.750) and floor (9.775). Ashley Tai earned a second-place finish on beam with a 9.850 and delivered a strong 9.800 vault. Aleeza Yu came in clutch on vault, stepping into a vault position just before the rotation began and placing second with a score of 9.850. She would also score well on bars (9.775).

Stanford is usually consistent on vault, and this meet put the team’s power on display once again. Four gymnasts scored 9.800s to create a solid foundation, and Price and Yu’s first- and second-place finishes ended the rotation with the Cardinal holding the early lead.

Bars proved a challenge, with two of the first four gymnasts falling. Sophomore Dare Maxwell’s confident 9.800 put the team back on track before Price’s first-place finish. Despite the strong close, Stanford came out of the rotation trailing Arizona 97.900-97.75

Sophomore Taryn Fitzgerald led off the beam rotation well with her 9.775, but the team ran into trouble once again with a missed routine by senior Danielle McNair. Determined to not count a fall, Stanford hit its final four routines, including Cole and Tai’s clutch performances.

“Our beam team is really strong and we had a great week of practice,” head coach Kristen Smyth said. “I’ve been really impressed with our two freshmen on that event, Ashley [Tai] and Kaylee [Cole], because they have both been solid. To see the team have the grit and determination on beam after coming off bars and counting a fall, it showed some toughness from a young group.”  

Heading into their final rotation, the Cardinal would carry the momentum from beam to shine on floor and capture the comeback victory, highlighted by Danielle McNair’s career-best 9.825 and Price’s first-place performance.

“It was really nice to see the girls step up at the end,” said Smyth. “We prepared all week to be a much better floor team, and that showed today. The girls rose to the occasion and did beautiful work. The crowd was amazing and electric, and it added a lot to those final performances.”

Stanford will return to the floor next Sunday, when it hosts Washington at 1 p.m. in Maples Pavilion.


Contact Laura Anderson at lauraand ‘at’ stanford.edu.

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