No. 1 Stanford men’s gymnastics (10-1, 7-1 MPSF) honored its six seniors and four super seniors in its final home meet of the season. With dominant performances across all six events, the Cardinal catapulted to another season-best team score of 419.000, emerging victorious over No. 8 California (5-4, 2-4 MPSF) and No. 12 Air Force (0-9, 0-6 MPSF).
The Golden Bears finished runner-up to the Cardinal with a team score of 390.500, and the Falcons ended the night with 380.600 points.
Before the meet, all attendees inside Burnham Pavilion took a moment of silence to honor senior goalkeeper Katie Meyer, who passed away on Tuesday. Stanford gymnasts wrote the initials “KM” and the number “19” on their shoulders to remember the impact Meyer had on the Stanford community.
The Cardinal kicked off their final home campaign of the season on the floor exercise. Led by a career-best 14.600 from true freshman Nick Kuebler, Stanford ended the rotation with three straight scores of 13.800 or higher across the rotation to take more than a five-point lead over Cal.
The Cardinal then moved on to their second rotation with the daunting pommel horse. Kuebler added another career-high to his resumé with a 13.750. Fresh off his successful business trip to Germany by earning three medals at the Cottbus World Cup, senior Brody Malone led the field with the only 14.000+ score on the event, earning a 14.100.
With a third of the meet completed, Stanford extended its lead to seven points.
The Cardinal did not slow down on their third event, the still rings. After a solid leadoff routine with senior Christopher Osgood’s 13.600, the last four routines surpassed the 14.000 mark. Career-bests from senior Thomas Lee (14.650) and true freshman Mark Berlaga (14.600) catapulted Stanford to a season-best team score of 71.650 on the event and solidified their No. 1 standing in the meet.
Kicking off the second half of the meet on the vault, Stanford almost repeated scores from the last rotation with four gymnasts earning scores of 14.300 and above. True freshman and U.S. Senior National Team member Khoi Young took the event title with a 14.850. A tenth behind Young, senior Bryan Perla lit up the Burnham crowd with a stuck landing to end another successful rotation.
After a couple of uncharacteristic mistakes, head coach Thom Glielmi encouraged his gymnasts to “finish with a great meet.”
“They got after it on the parallel bars and the high bar,” Glielmi said. “I was so happy with their efforts on the last two events.”
After scoring over 16.000 on both nights of the Winter Cup, senior and newly-named U.S. Senior National team member senior Curran Phillips showed why he is one of the best in the nation on this event with a 14.150, despite clipping the bar with his feet. All the Cardinal gymnasts’ routines eclipsed the 14.000 mark with Malone squeaking out the event title with 14.400.
On making the U.S. Senior National team, Phillips said he is grateful for the opportunity to compete for Team USA.
“It has been a goal of mine for a long time,” Phillips said. “It is really exciting to come into fruition.”
The last rotation started off strong with a stuck landing by senior Blake Wilson, earning him a 13.550 on the event. Fellow senior Ian Gunther continued the momentum for the Cardinal with a 13.450. Malone ended the meet for Stanford with the highest score on the event overall with a 14.400.
“The team had a collective great effort,” Phillips said. “I am really proud of how we finished the competition.”
Glielmi added: “In each competition, we are getting better. They were not super sharp tonight, but what was encouraging was how they handled it and how mature this team is.”
If this meet was not Stanford’s peak, then the rest of the NCAA must watch out when the postseason rolls around.
The Cardinal will travel up north to take on Cal for the sixth time this season on Saturday, March 12. First routines are set for 2 p.m. PT.