From a shorthanded performance at the beginning of the season to a second-place finish at the MPSF Championships two weeks ago, Stanford men’s gymnastics will look to defend its 2019 NCAA Championship this weekend.
Entering the Championships as the No. 3 seed based on its national qualifying score of 409.400, the Cardinal hopes to close out this unusual season with a second-straight title and seventh championship overall.
Stanford will look to its two all-arounders — junior Brody Malone and sophomore Brandon Briones — to put up solid routines across the six apparatuses and set the tone for the NCAA Championships.
Malone and Briones went one-two in the all-around competition at the MPSF Championships, so their routines are crucial for the success of the Cardinal this weekend.
Supplementing the prowess of Malone and Briones is two-time CGA Specialist of the Week junior Ian Gunther. Gunther’s season-highs on the pommel horse (13.900) and still rings (14.350) hopefully will provide some assurance for the Cardinal as it is ranked third nationally on both apparatuses.
Stanford, however, must be solid on its two best events — vault and parallel bars — to have a shot at hoisting the title on Saturday. The Cardinal’s uncharacteristic performance on the parallel bars in the MPSF Championships was one of the main reasons the team was not able to snap Oklahoma’s dominance at this meet.
“There is still room for improvement,” said head coach Thom Glielmi. “What I see in training looks really good, so it’s just a matter of showing [the judges] what they do in training.”
Stanford will head to Minneapolis to compete in the two-day event. On Friday, the Cardinal will be competing in the second session of the NCAA Qualifying meet with No. 2 Michigan, No. 6 Penn State, No. 7 Iowa, No. 10 Minnesota and No. 11 California.
The first session headlines No. 1 Oklahoma, No. 4 Nebraska, No. 5 Ohio State, No. 8 Illinois, No. 9 Navy and No. 12 William and Mary.
Teams must place in the top three in their respective sessions to advance to the NCAA Finals.
The first routines for the Cardinal will begin at 5:00 p.m. PT and can be viewed here.