Stanford secures top score
Cardinal post best score of season to advance at Championships
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Stanford moved one-step closer to an NCAA title, winning its section of the prelims on Thursday night. The Cardinal scored a season best of 366.100 to easily take its section and secure the top score of the day.
The Cardinal advanced to Friday's team finals along with California (361.800) and defending champion Michigan (360.650) from its section. Oklahoma, Illinois and Penn State advanced from the morning session with the Sooners having the top morning score of 363.500.
The Cardinal began on parallel bars with its best performance of the season. Stanford had five of six competitors score over 15 points on the way to a team score of 61.650. The score was the highest in the nation so far this season. Defending NCAA champion on parallel bars Ryan Lieberman led the way with a career-best score of 15.650 that was the top score of the session. Nicholas Noone (15.400), Alex Buscaglia (15.350) and Josh Dixon (15.200) completed Stanford's scoring as Buscaglia also came through with a career best.
Stanford then moved onto the horizontal bar where it scored 59.300. Buscaglia, the NCAA leader in the event continued to dominate with a score of 15.750, tops in the session. Cameron Foreman scored 14.600 in a solid performance, while Dixon (14.500) and Lieberman (14.450) rounded out Stanford's scoring.
Moving onto the floor, the Cardinal again had its best showing of the season with a score of 61.700. Eddie Penev scored a season best of 15.600 to lead the way. Tim Gentry also had his best performance of the year, scoring 15.450. Buscaglia (15.350) and Dixon (15.300) performed well to help the Cardinal to the high score.
After its break, the Cardinal competed on the pommel horse, an event it has struggled with at times. However, the Cardinal would not struggle on Thursday, scoring 58.700, which was its second-best effort of the year. John Martin anchored the squad with a solid 14.900, while Abhinav Ramani (14.750) and Chris Turner (14.700) also came through. Jason Stevens completed the scoring as the fourth competitor over 14 with a score of 14.350.
Stanford shifted to rings where Jordan Nolff was the top Cardinal competitor with a score of 15.300. James Fosco and Noone were not far behind, each scoring 15.250. Lieberman scored 14.800 to give Stanford a total of 60.600 for the event.
The Cardinal finished up on the vault with a score of 64.150. Buscaglia had the top vault of the session with a career-best tying 16.400. Gentry scored 16.100 and Lieberman had a score of 16.000 to give Stanford three with a score of 16 or higher. Ramani scored 15.650 to finish the Cardinal scoring in the event.
Lieberman was the lone Stanford competitor in the all-around as he finished second overall with a Stanford season-best score of 89.250.
The Cardinal will now move to the NCAA Team Finals on Friday night at 7:00 p.m., PT. Stanford is looking to wins its fifth NCAA title in program history and the second under head coach Thom Glielmi. An NCAA title would also be the 100th in Stanford athletics history, becoming just the second university to accomplish that feat.