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Men’s gymnastics sets nation-leading marks at Southwestern Cup

Brandon Briones, Brody Malone produce top all-around scores

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Stanford men’s gymnastics displayed its talented and capable roster on Saturday, posting the new, national-best score of 420.400 to win the Southwestern Cup hosted by Arizona State (ASU). The No. 2 Cardinal toppled No. 5 Ohio State, No. 11 Cal and a pair of ASU teams to remain undefeated this season. 

The Buckeyes finished runner-up with a score of 408.150. Cal placed third at 396.400, followed by Arizona State Gold at 388.950 and Arizona State Maroon at 363.800. 

Stanford jumped the 420-point barrier for the second time this season, improving its previous season high of 420.050 set at the Stanford Open on Jan. 25. Similar to their showing at the home opener, the Cardinal relied on their top performers to build a healthy lead over their counterparts on Saturday. 

“It was a good competition overall,” said head coach Thom Glielmi. “While some of our potentially higher-scoring routines didn’t materialize, the team had each other’s back. We put together almost all hit routines that counted for the team score.”

Competing just a few miles from his hometown of Gilbert, Arizona, freshman Brandon Briones produced the highest score in the national in the all-around, 85.300, to claim the event title. Briones is in the midst of a spectacular rookie season, having twice been named the MPSF Gymnast of the Week and once the College Gymnastics Association Gymnast of the Week. 

In addition to his nation-leading performance in the all-around, Briones produced the top score in the nation in the rings on Saturday as Stanford became the first team to break the 70-point barrier in the event. Briones’ career-best of 14.900 won him the event title and helped Stanford to a nation-leading 71.500 in the event. 

Stanford also combined for the best score in the nation in the parallel bars. The team’s 72.650 was led by a career-best 14.800 from sophomore Brody Malone, who finished runner-up in the all-around. Malone’s all-around score of 84.200 stands as the second-highest mark in the nation, only eclipsed by Briones’ performance on Saturday. 

“Briones was solid on all events, but has room to improve,” Glielmi said. “Malone was right on his tail, but Briones separated himself on rings.”

In addition to Malone, four other Cardinal athletes set career bests in the parallel bars, including Biones (14.450), junior Thomas Lee (14.400), sophomore Ian Gunther (14.300) and junior Blake Sun (14.700), who was the runner-up to Malone.

Malone also paced the Cardinal in the pommel horse, posting a team-high 13.750. Collectively, Stanford set a new season high in the event at 68.350. Malone, senior David Jessen, Gunther, Joey Ringer and Briones all placed in the top seven overall in the event.

“What I was most pleased about was the pommel line-up,” said Glielmi. “They did their job. They looked confident from start to finish.”

Stanford closed the meet on the floor exercise, registering a team score of 73.600. Sophomore Curran Phillips claimed the event title with a career best 14.850. 

The Cardinal will step away from team competition for the USA Gymnastics Winter Cup from Feb. 20-22 in Las Vegas. Stanford will be represented by Briones, Gunther, Malone and freshman Riley Loos, along with alumni Akashi Modi ’17 and Grant Breckenridge ’19.

The reigning champions will return to team competition on Feb. 29 when they host Cal, Norway and Olympic Champion Japan at the International Collegiate Open in Burnham Pavilion.

Contact Alejandro Salinas at asalinas ‘at’ stanford.edu.

Alejandro Salinas '21 is a Senior Staff Writer after serving as the Managing Editor of Sports for two volumes. Hailing from Pasadena, CA, he studies computer science and biology as a junior. In his free time he enjoys running, playing with dogs and watching sports. Contact him at asalinas 'at' stanford.edu.