Stanford men finish second at MPSF gymnastics final


No. 3 Stanford finished second for the third consecutive season Saturday at the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Championships, falling to host No. 1 Oklahoma and defeating No. 9 California and No. 10 Air Force.

The Cardinal (8-4) had a difficult start on pommel horse but finished strong to earn a team score of 436.700. The Sooners (11-2) posted a meet-best 446.100, while the Golden Bears (2-7) placed third with a 427.150 and Air Force (11-12) finished fourth with a 425.650.

Freshman Akash Modi claimed MPSF titles in the all-around (89.650) and parallel bars (15.800), while redshirt senior Paul Hichwa went 15.450 on high bar to earn the conference title. The Cardinal had 10 gymnasts combine for 18 top-10 finishes.

Modi's score in the all-around was more than two points better than the second-place finisher. He finished in the top 10 in six of seven events including the all-around, parallel bars, high bar (3rd, 14.900) vault (T-4th, 15.050), floor (5th, 15.200) and rings (6th, 15.000).

Stanford faced adversity early in the meet, scoring a season-low 68.650 on pommel horse in the first rotation. Despite the tough start as a team, Brian Knott delivered a strong performance to place seventh in the event with a 14.600.

The Cardinal rebounded quickly with a season-best 75.650 on rings. Dennis Zaremski paced the squad with a career-best 16.150 to finish second. Zaremski has scored the five highest scores on the event of any Stanford gymnast this season.

Modi finished sixth on rings with a 15.000, while Brandon Beckhardt and Michael Levy both scored 14.850 to tie for ninth.

Stanford carried its momentum to its next rotation on vault, going 73.500 with three gymnasts earning top-10 finishes.

Sean Senters led the Cardinal with a 15.100 to tie for second and was followed by Modi who went 15.050 to tie for fourth. Kevin Baker delivered a strong vault to finish tied for 10th with a 14.650.

The Cardinal really hit its stride in the next two rotations on parallel bars and high bar, posting meet highs in both events.

Modi continued to excel on parallel bars, posting a meet-best 15.800 to lead Stanford to a 74.450 team score. Knott tied for second with a 15.100, while Cale Robinson tied his season high of 14.850 to tie for sixth.

In his final MPSF Championships, Hichwa claimed the high bar title with a 15.450 to help lead Stanford to a meet-best team score of 73.850.

Modi finished third with a 14.900, followed by Chris Turner who tied for fourth with a 14.650. Knott went 14.500 to tie for seventh and record his third top-10 finish on the day.

The Cardinal closed out the competition with a 70.600 on floor to secure its third consecutive second-place finish at the MPSF Championships.

Levy delivered an impressive routine to tie for second with a 15.350. Modi earned his sixth top-10 finish on the day with a 15.200 to place fifth.

Stanford will have next weekend off before heading to Ann Arbor, Mich., for the NCAA Championships on April 10-12.

— Stanford Athletics


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