No. 4 Stanford tops No. 10 Cal in Big Flip Off with three season-high scores
STANFORD, Calif. -- After a three-week break from team competition, fourth-ranked Stanford returned to the gym on Sunday to take on No. 10 California in the 2013 installment of the Big Flip Off. The Cardinal delivered an impressive 435.350-426.450 victory against the Golden Bears in Maples Pavilion.
Stanford outscored Cal on five of six events and recorded season-highs on floor (75.050), vault (74.900) and high bar (73.450).
The victory included four different Cardinal claiming individual titles on four events.
Stanford was led by senior Eddie Penev, who was coming off a big week after being named to the U.S. Gymnastics Senior National last Saturday after finishing fourth at the Winter Cup Challenge in Las Vegas.
Penev competed in the all-around and finished with a season-high 88.200. He opened the competition with a strong floor routine and claimed the event title, tying his season-high of 15.650.
Penev also earned season-highs on vault (15.300) and rings (14.450) for second- and third-place finishes. He finished the meet with third-place finishes on parallel bars (14.500) and high bar (14.500).
"I think he might have been a little better [Sunday] than he was last weekend at Winter Cup," head coach Thom Glielmi said.
Jordan Nolff set the tone early for the Cardinal on floor, delivering a career-best performance of 15.200 as the team's second performer on the night. Paul Hichwa contributed a season-best 14.650 to help give the Cardinal the early lead.
The Cardinal struggled on pommel horse, recording only one hit routine. John Martin tallied the highest Stanford score with a 13.900 and finished fifth.
It was a moment of adversity for the team as it saw its early lead evaporate and finished its second rotation down 142.450-143.600 to Cal.
However, the team responded on rings, claiming the top-four scores.
Chris Turner claimed the individual title with a career-high 15.000. He was followed by Dennis Zaremski (14.850), James Fosco (14.800) and Eddie Penev (14.450).
Despite the strong performance, Stanford was still trailing Cal entering its fourth rotation on vault.
The Cardinal responded with a season-high team score of 74.900 that saw a career- or season-high from five different gymnasts.
Sean Senters led the group with a season-high 15.400 to claim the individual title and was followed by Penev's season-high of 15.300 to finish second.
Mike Levy and Kevin Baker recorded career-highs of 14.850 and 14.750, respectively, while Chris Turner notched a season-best 14.600.
The Cardinal reclaimed the lead from the Golden Bears heading into the final two events and did not look back.
Cameron Foreman finished second on parallel bars with a 14.700, while Penev and Turner tied for third with 14.550s.
Hichwa delivered his best performance of the season on high bar, claiming the individual title with a 15.150. He was joined in the top three by Foreman (14.950) and Penev (14.500), who finished second and third.
"The team is a good mix because we have solid difficulty with great execution so that's going to be a threat to any team out there as far as challenging for the championship," Glielmi said. "We've got a very good balance and I saw that [on Sunday] with the guys where their execution is starting to come together and they're not compromising the difficulty."
The victory was Stanford's third against Cal on the season and fourth consecutive dating back to the 2012 MPSF Championship Tournament on April 7.