This Week in Sports: A four-peat for men’s gymnastics

April 16, 2023, 9:08 p.m.

Welcome to This Week in Sports. We are The Daily’s sports editors, Madeline Grabb and Ells Boone, and we’ll be walking you through the major games, events and stories from the past week, as well as providing a brief preview of what’s coming up this week.

By far the biggest storyline for Stanford Athletics this week was No. 1 men’s gymnastics. The team appeared firmly in control from the opening vault to the last stuck landing at this weekend’s NCAA Championships, beating out No. 3 Michigan to clinch its fourth consecutive national title by a margin of 422.458 to 419.889. The meet’s many highlights included individual titles on vault and floor for freshman Asher Hong and sophomore Nicholas Kuebler, respectively, along with a dozen All-America nods. This title is the ninth in program history and the sixth for head coach Thom Glielmi. Beginning with the 1976-77 school year, at least one Stanford athletic team has now captured an NCAA Championship in every single one of the last 47 years. 

No. 1 women’s golf tied for first with Pepperdine on Tuesday at the Silicon Valley Showcase. Freshman Kelly Xu and junior Sadie Englemann stood out from the crowd on a difficult course, tying for second individually. The reigning national champions now head to Phoenix, Ariz. to defend their podium spot at the Pac-12 Championships from a year ago.

No. 8 men’s golf marked the end of its regular season on Wednesday by placing fourth out of 14 at the Western Intercollegiate. In the same play-six, count-five setup they will encounter at the upcoming conference tournament, the Cardinal were led by junior Michael Thorbjornsen to an 18-over finish. Stanford will play host at the Pac-12 Championships, which are just under a fortnight away, looking for another strong showing after finishing second in 2022.

A women doing a flip on a beam
Senior Chloe Widner competes during the NCAA Regionals on March 30. The Texan tied for fourth in the country on beam at last week’s NCAA Championship meet. (Photo: DAVE BERNAL/ISI Photos)

For women’s gymnastics, the National Championship meet was all about senior Chloe Widner. Though the team failed to advance to the NCAA finals, Widner progressed individually and tied for fourth on the beam on Thursday. Along with being named a First Team All-American on the apparatus, the program confirmed that Widner will return to compete for Stanford next season.

Lacrosse came up short on the road this week. In the squad’s final nonconference matchup of 2023, the Cardinal were again beaten down by No. 3 Denver 15-8 on Friday. It was a monumental day for junior midfielder Ailish Kelly, however, who scored the 122nd goal of her collegiate career and tied for the school record. Next, Stanford is slated for a pair of conference games at home against Colorado and Oregon this coming weekend.

No. 10 beach volleyball bested North Florida and upset No. 5 LSU at the Battle on the Bayou in Baton Rouge, La. last week. The Cardinal fell to Houston Christian in a tight 3-2 loss before inclement weather canceled their dual match against Nicholls State. Stanford returns home for its final stretch of matches before the Pac-12 Championship, and is scheduled to play two duals this Friday and another pair on Saturday.

No. 11 women’s tennis extended its win streak to 14 this week on the way to claiming its first Pac-12 title since 2019. After a comfortable 6-1 win over No. 19 Washington on Friday, the Cardinal took down Washington State the next day to improve to 9-0 in the Pac-12. The squad will take to the courts at Taube Family Tennis Center this Friday for a rival dual match against Cal.

A man hitting a tennis ball
Junior Arthur Fery chases a backhand during a dual match against USC on April 7. His victories in singles and doubles, with Samir Banerjee, contributed to Stanford’s victory over Cal on Saturday. (Photo: LYNDSAY RADNEDGE/ISI Photos)

In its home finale, No. 20 men’s tennis prevailed over rival No. 29 Cal 4-3. Led in the first slot by No. 5 junior Arthur Fery, who remains undefeated in Pac-12 matches this season, the Cardinal clinched the doubles point and then ultimately outplayed the Bears in singles to earn the dual win on Senior Day. Next up for Stanford this week are the team’s final two regular season conference matches before the Pac-12 Team Championships later this month. 

No. 2 women’s rowing held its first home race since 2019 on Saturday and did not disappoint in the Big Row against Cal. Redwood Shores played host to five Stanford vs. Berkeley faceoffs, of which the Cardinal won four. Stanford even left the Bears nine seconds in its wake in the varsity eight and varsity four (coxed) events. Next for the Cardinal is a Pac-12 Dual Event on April 29, once again on Stanford’s home waterway. 

A woman running on a track
Freshman Juliette Whittaker carries the baton during a relay event at the Stanford Invitational earlier this month. Whittaker set the school record among freshmen in the 1500 meters this week. (Photo: JOHN LOZANO/ISI Photos)

Track and Field journeyed to Southern California, where athletes were spread across two meets. Among a collection of impressive finishes, Juliette Whittaker set a school record for freshmen in the 1500 meters event, with the top seven in the race including no less than five Cardinal runners, at the Mt. SAC Relays. Sophomore Udodi Onwuzurike also won for Stanford in the men’s 200 meters. Meanwhile, freshman Alyssa Jones and fifth-year Max McKhann won the women’s long jump and men’s hammer competitions, respectively, at the Bryan Clay Invitational. This week brings the team back to the Farm, where it will host the Payton Jordan Invitational on Friday and Saturday.

With the 2-seed at the upcoming conference championships on the line, No. 8 men’s volleyball traveled to Provo, Utah for a doubleheader against No. 8 BYU. The Cougars fended off the Cardinal in four sets on Friday before sweeping them on Saturday, and closed out the regular season undefeated at home. Stanford will return to the Farm to host next week’s MPSF tournament and is scheduled to begin postseason play against 6-seed USC on April 19 in Maples Pavilion.

Two water polo players
Freshman driver Jenna Flynn during a home game against UCLA in March. Avery Aquatics Center played host on Saturday to Stanford’s Senior Day, which saw the Cardinal swim away with a 22-1 win. (Photo: RICHARD ERSTED/ISI Photos)

Avery Aquatic Center hosted its own Senior Day on Sunday, this one for No. 2 women’s water polo. Showcasing both offensive prowess and the depth of their bench, the Cardinal notched goals from no fewer than 14 athletes as they cruised to a commanding 22-1 victory over No. 20 San Jose State. Stanford will finish out its MPSF regular season next Saturday in the rival pool of the Cal Bears. 

No. 5 softball struggled to close against No. 25 Utah this week, falling in all three of the series’ games at the Utes’ Dumke Family Stadium. Sunday’s loss was especially close, as Stanford had a 1-point advantage going into the seventh inning before getting edged out 5-4. The Cardinal have one more game in Utah against BYU before a home series against Cal this coming weekend.

No. 7 baseball had a busy week with no less than five games. After going 1-1 with No. 21 Texas Tech at home early in the week, the Cardinal hit the road to take on Pac-12 opponent Oregon. Though the team lost its first two matchups against the Ducks, it staged a comeback while down 0-4 on Sunday to finish with a 6-4 win. Stanford is back at Sunken Diamond to start a stretch of home matches, the first of which is against Sacramento State on Tuesday.

Madeline Grabb '25 is a senior staff writer from Sagaponack, New York who previously served as Sports Managing Editor for Vol. 263. She is studying communication and history. Contact her at sports 'at' Boone is the former managing editor for the sports section, serving for Volumes 262 and 263. He is a senior from Virginia Beach, Virginia, studying communication. You can usually find him chasing after rebounds in Maples Pavilion or recording a podcast with Jibriel Taha. Contact him at eboone24 'at'

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