Cardinal win national team title
Stanford becomes second school with 100 all-time crowns
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- After falling just short a year ago, Stanford came through with the clutch performance necessary to capture its second NCAA title in three years on Friday. The Cardinal scored 363.450 to defeat second-place Oklahoma (361.600) and third-place Illinois (360.150).
The NCAA title was also the 100th in Stanford athletics history, as the Cardinal became just the second university to accomplish that feat.
Stanford men's gymnastics has now won five NCAA titles with the others coming in 1992, 1993, 19955 and 2009. It was the second under head coach Thom Glielmi who took over the program for the 2003 season and has rebuilt Stanford into a perennial title contender.
The Cardinal began on the parallel bars for the second consecutive night, but did not fare as well this time around. In Thursday's prelims, the Cardinal scored an NCAA season-best of 61.500 but on Friday, Stanford scored a solid 59.950, knowing it might need to make up points in other events. Cameron Foreman and Ryan Lieberman led the Cardinal in the event, both scoring 15.200. The score for Foreman was a career best, which came at the right time, as he was sixth in the rotation with his team needing him to nail the routine. Alex Buscaglia was also solid with a 15.150, while Josh Dixon completed Stanford's scoring with a 14.400.
Stanford then shifted to the horizontal bar, which it led the NCAA coming into the championships. The Cardinal scored a 59.300 led by Buscaglia who came through with a score of 15.400. Buscaglia's score tied for the best of the night. Dixon also had a big effort in the event, scoring a 14.900. Lieberman scored 14.750 and Tim Gentry scored 14.250 to round out the rotation. After two rotations, Stanford sat in fourth, although it had some of the higher scoring events yet to come.
Next up was the floor exercise where the Cardinal had its best effort of the season.
When the Cardinal look back on the night, it will be this rotation that might have been the difference maker for the national title. The score of 62.450 was the second best in the NCAA this season as Eddie Penev came through with a season-best score of 15.950. Dixon was also outstanding in the event with a 15.850. The depth was the difference though as Gentry (15.350) and Buscaglia (15.300) gave Stanford no weak link.
The Cardinal then moved to pommel horse where it faltered enough to make the meet interesting after four rotations. Stanford scored 56.500, which was more than two points off the prelim mark, but the exact same score as the MPSF Championships, won by the Cardinal. Freshman Chris Turner had the top score of the rotation with a 14.550. Jason Stevens (14.350) and Abhinav Ramani (14.050) were also solid, while Lieberman competed the scoring with a 13.550.
Moving to the still rings, Stanford started slowly, but James Fosco and Gentry came through big to give Stanford a score of 60.700. Fosco scored 15.250, before Gentry came through with a huge 15.800 that was the second-highest score of the day. Jordan Nolff (14.850) and Nicholas Noone (14.800) completed the scoring, leaving Stanford in a comfortable spot for the final rotation.
Stanford finished on vault in what surely felt like a victory lap. Lieberman and Ramani opened with solid vaults to help Stanford take the lead, scoring 15.850 and 15.950, respectively. The Cardinal then added to the lead as Dixon scored a 16.000 and then Buscaglia stuck a landing for the top vault of the day with a score of 16.350. Gentry added a 16.250 to give Stanford a score of 64.550, the best of the day and enough for Stanford to win the NCAA title comfortably.
The finals of the all-around were also contested as part of the team finals with Lieberman and Dixon placing seventh and eighth, respectively. Both will earn All-America honors for their effort.