Season-best team score leads Stanford gymnasts to victory


The No. 12 Stanford women delivered the complete team performance they had been searching for this year, posting a season-best 197.275 to finish first in a gymnastics quad meet Sunday at UC Davis and remain unbeaten at 10-0.

The Cardinal (10-0) kept its perfect record intact, finishing ahead of UC Davis (195.875), San Jose State (195.400) and Utah State (194.400).

It was a dominating performance by the Cardinal, which tied or recorded the highest team score in all four events and had gymnasts earn individual victories in each event.

Finishing competitions strong has been a common theme for Stanford this season and today was no different. The Cardinal delivered the highlight team-performance of the meet in its final rotation on beam, scoring a 49.600 -- just 0.15 off the program-best score of 49.750.

Five Cardinal gymnasts scored 9.875 or higher on beam, with four in the 9.900 range. Shona Morgan laid the groundwork for a big team score in the lead-off position with a collegiate-best 9.950, while Amanda Spinner tabbed the meet's top score with a collegiate-high 9.975.

"To perform that kind of routine with poise, confidence and competitiveness -- it set the tone for everyone else to follow," head coach Kristen Smyth said of Morgan's opening performance. "It was a huge routine for us."

Nicolette McNair and Kristina Vaculik turned in solid routines on beam, each earning a 9.900. Rachel Daum made her first collegiate lineup in the event and delivered a 9.875 in the anchor position to add an exclamation point and secure the first-place finish for the Cardinal.

Despite the multiple team and individual first-place finishes, Smyth was quick to note it did not come easy. The Cardinal was faced with obstacles throughout the competition but was able to persevere to post solid routines and scores.

"They faced a lot of situations where they really needed to rise up and show mental toughness and competitive greatness," Smyth said. "To see them fight for everything was great."

Stanford got off to a strong start on floor and was led by Pauline Hanset who tied her season best with a 9.875 and earned the individual victory. She was followed by freshmen Haley Spector and Daum, each scoring 9.825.

Melissa Chuang posted a 9.800 in the leadoff position on floor in her first routine in the event since Feb. 2, 2013. Jenna Frowein delivered a crucial routine in the third position after Stanford suffered a fall in the second spot and earned a 9.700.

The Cardinal had a great day on vault finishing with a 49.275. Nicolette McNair delivered an outstanding performance to earn a collegiate-best 9.925 and tie for the individual win. She was followed by her sister Danielle who also delivered a collegiate-best with a 9.900. Chuang continued to be consistent in the event, earning a 9.825 -- her fourth consecutive meet with a 9.800 or higher.

Stanford maintained its momentum on bars to earn a season-best 49.375. Morgan and Nicolette McNair opened with back-to-back scores of 9.850. After a fall in the third position, Danielle McNair got the Cardinal back on track with another 9.850.

Stanford closed out the event strong with Samantha Shapiro nailing her routine to earn a meet-best 9.925. Vaculik went 9.900 in the anchor position to give Stanford the lead heading into the final rotation.

The Cardinal took advantage of the momentum it had consistently been building throughout the meet and showcased its potential on beam with a season-best performance.

"We know we're capable of scoring in the 197 range, so it was nice for us to finally do that and it builds confidence," Smyth said. "The team will take that confidence with them into next week. This is who we are and what we're capable of, and we're going to embrace that."

Stanford will travel to Oregon State on Monday, Feb. 3 to take on the Beavers at 7 p.m. in a meet televised on the Pac-12 Networks.

Men's tennis

No. 3 Georgia posted a 4-1 victory over No. 40 Stanford on Sunday afternoon to clinch a spot in next month's ITA National Team Indoor Championships.

The Bulldogs (2-0) captured the doubles point, built a 3-0 lead and clinched the match at the No. 4 spot, where Garrett Brasseaux edged Anthony Tsodikov, 5-6 (5-7), 6-4, 6-4.

The Cardinal (2-1) remained competitive despite playing without the services of top player John Morrissey, forcing a lineup shuffle in doubles and singles.

Trailing 3-0, Maciek Romanowicz pulled out a 6-4, 2-6, 6-2 win over 12th-ranked Austin Smith in just his fourth career appearance at the No. 2 position.

Stanford returns home to play on Wednesday, hosting Hawaii at 1:30 p.m.

Women's wrestling

Menlo freshman Cady Chessin came out of nowhere as she concluded a dramatic rise through the national rankings with a national runner-up finish at 123 pounds at the WCWA national championships in St. Louis.

"Cady started the season unranked in the country and started her college career with three loses on her record," Menlo associate coach Joey Bareng said. "Since then she has gone on a winning streak and got herself ranked eighth mid-season and fourth just before nationals. Cady looked on fire this weekend and seemed to love the spotlight and wrestled better than she has all year."

Menlo finished 13th overall, with 34 points. King University claimed its first ever WCWA national title, edging Oklahoma City University by two points.

Chessin pinned her first two opponents in less than two minutes and won her semifinal match, 12-0.

Top-ranked Sarah Hildebrandt ended Chessin's run with a pin in 2:22 of the national title match.

Fellow freshman Rachael Chinn dropped her first match and eventually wrestled back to twice at 155 pounds before losing again, producing points for the Lady Oaks.

Solove Naufahu (170) and Jeanette Naranjo (130) also scored for Menlo.

"Overall, I'm very pleased with the girls' performance. We had a good showing at nationals and fought really hard in all our matches. Going from being ranked next to dead last as a team to start the year to entering the tournament at No. 11 shows we came a long way," said Bareng. "We have a young team of mostly freshman and the experience they gained this weekend will go a long way."

— Stanford and Menlo Athletics


Like this comment
Posted by rick rosensweig
a resident of Menlo Park
on Jan 27, 2014 at 11:45 am

why is there never anything on MEN's gymnastics?

this weekend was the Stanford Open including University of Michigan (defending NCAA champion) and Cal Bears vs. Stanford

could it be because Stanford was beaten by Cal for the first time in (many) meets?

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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