Gymnasts competing in the Olympics or the NCAA Championships all want to peak at the right time. For Stanford men’s gymnastics, that time was Saturday as the Cardinal captured its second-straight national championship and seventh overall with a season-high 414.521 points.
Oklahoma finished a little under three points behind Stanford with 411.591 points, and Michigan ended one point behind the Sooners with 410.358 points to round out the top three.
Junior Brody Malone staved off Minnesota gymnast Shane Wiskus in the all-around competition to earn his second all-around title in his illustrious career. The other Cardinal gymnast to compete in the all-around, sophomore Brandon Briones, finished right behind Wiskus in third.
Stanford started out the meet on vault — the same way as it did at the MPSF Championships, when it fell short of capturing the title two weeks ago. The Cardinal was not going to repeat that result this time around.
Junior Curran Phillips started out the rotation strong with a 14.733, finishing third overall. Sophomore Zach Martin closed out the rotation with a career-high 14.900, good enough for the silver medal. Sooner gymnast Gage Dyer claimed the vault title with a 15.033.
The Cardinal had the second-highest team score this season on this event with a 73.432.
Stanford then headed to the second rotation on another of its best events: the parallel bars. The Cardinal is ranked first nationally on the vault and the parallel bars.
Malone, senior Blake Sun and junior Ian Gunther were able to score at least a 13.800 on the event, increasing the Cardinal’s lead to over three points after two apparatuses.
The next two rotations — high bar and floor exercise — are where Stanford started to solidify its mark on the meet as those two apparatuses are the weakest for the Cardinal nationally. Stanford was ranked fourth on the high bar and ninth on the floor exercise heading into the competition.
Malone captured his second-straight title on the high bar with a 14.466. Sophomore Riley Loos scored a career-high 13.633 en route to a season-high team score of 67.931.
Loos and Martin earned career-bests on the floor exercise with a 14.866 and a 14.200, respectively. Malone also scored a season-high 14.666 to give the Cardinal its second-highest team score on the apparatus this season with a 70.598.
Heading into the final two rotations, the Cardinal held a one-point lead over the Sooners. Stanford could not afford any mistakes in the last third of the meet, where it was ranked third nationally on both the pommel horse and still rings.
Although there were no falls on the tough pommel horse led by Gunther’s fifth-place finish (13.633), Oklahoma took a three-tenths lead ahead of Stanford entering its final rotation — the high bar — where it is historically a lower-scoring event.
However, Stanford was heading to the still rings, typically a higher-scoring event for the Cardinal than the high bar. Barring any falls, it was almost certain that the Cardinal was about to secure the national title.
Junior Matthew Szot started out the rotation strong with a career-high 13.666. Then, counting a career-high 14.366 by Malone and a 14.166 by Loos — good enough for second and third, respectively — Stanford looked to Gunther to close out the meet.
Gunther stuck his routine for a 14.066 to clinch Stanford’s second national championship of the day after synchronized swimming captured its national title earlier on Saturday.