Sports


Massialas returns to medal stand as NCAA fencing champion

 

Alexander Massialas claimed his second NCAA men's foil title Friday at the NCAA Fencing Championships in Columbus, Ohio.

From start to finish, Massialas was, without question, the man to beat.

After the first round, in which all 24 men's foil competitors faced each other, Massialas compiled a near perfect record, winning 22 out of 23 bouts.

As the number one seed going into the knockout rounds, Massialas defeated Ariel DeSmet of Notre Dame in the semifinals and Nobuo Bravo of Penn State to ultimately take the crown.

"I just wanted to stay focused on each bout at hand," said Massialas, who scored the most touches and surrendered the least in the round-robin. "With such a long first round, you really just need to take it one by one and forget about the past."

For Massialas though, there was not much to forget at all about the two day span which saw him ultimately win 24 out of 25 bouts.

Two years ago as a freshman, Massialas won his first NCAA men's foil championship. Last year though, he stumbled to a disappointing third place finish.

"I definitely wanted to win this one after placing third last year," Massialas said. "I am competitive by nature so I just want to win regardless."

Massialas becomes the fourth Cardinal fencer to win multiple NCAA championships, joining the ranks of Nick Bravin (1990, 1992, and 1993 men's foil), Felicia Zimmerman (1998, 1999 women's foil), and Felix Reichling (1999, 2000 men's foil).

"It feels great to be a part of Stanford's athletic history; sometimes I get baffled by the amount of talent we have here at Stanford, whether it be current students or alumni."

Last week, Massialas competed in the Havana Grand Prix in Havana, Cuba. After a second place finish there and his heroics at the national championships though, Massialas has even bigger ambitions.

"The win definitely helps boost my confidence going into qualifications for the Olympics due to the fact that it comes right after a very successful weekend on the international circuit."

Massialas is keen to become the third Stanford fencer to compete in multiple Olympic games after fencing in the 2012 London games. Aware of the company with which he now resides, the two-time national champion is happy to be a part of Stanford's rich history of excellence.

"There are so many amazing athletes and teams in the history of Stanford. It just feels great to be a part of it; making a name for myself is just a bonus."

Stanford's Ben Riviere finished 16th (out of 24) in the men's epee.

The Cardinal is in 10th place entering women's competition.

Women's gymnastics

Stanford hit 23-of-24 routines and recorded its second-highest score of the season Saturday to place third at the Pac-12 Championships at the Huntsman Center.

There were multiple individual highlight performances by the Cardinal (10-9-1, 8-7 Pac-12) to accompany a consistent team performance, as the team produced a 197.175 – the exact same score Stanford produced at last year's Pac-12 Championships. The Cardinal has placed fourth or higher at the championships in 15 consecutive years.

"We performed really well on floor to start and were truly amazing on bars," said Stanford head coach Kristen Smyth. "We still have room to add upgrades and improve, and it's exciting knowing there's still more in store for us."

The Cardinal thrived on bars, tying its season-high score of 49.525 with four gymnasts finishing in the top five and all six competitors placing in the top 12. Stanford gymnasts scored 9.875 or higher in all six performances.

Among the individual highlights was freshman Elizabeth Price who tied for the Pac-12 title on bars with a 9.950 and tied for third on vault with a 9.950.

"She's been great all year," said Smyth. "When she's in the lineup, she's a 'wow' factor and a real difference maker."

Price also received the Pac-12 Specialist of the Year award, given to the conference's top non-all-around gymnast as voted on by the head coaches at each school. Price registered 11 victories in 14 performances and scored 9.925 in 12-of-14 routines during 2015.

Utah claimed its second consecutive Pac-12 title with a 198.150, followed by UCLA with a 197.350. Oregon State placed fourth with a 196.900, followed by Arizona (196.225), California (196.150), Washington (196.000) and Arizona State (192.700).

Wrestling

Redshirt sophomore Jim Wilson finished eighth, Saturday, at the 2015 NCAA Tournament held at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Missouri.

Wilson, the No. 10 seed in the tournament, fell to third-seeded Isaac Jordan of Wisconsin 3-2 in the seventh-place match.

Scoreless after the opening period, both wrestlers tallied escapes in the second and third periods, but a late takedown by Jordan proved to be the difference.

Wilson finished the season with a team-best 34-7 record. He is 69-15 in two seasons at Stanford.

Friday evening, Wilson won in the round of 12 to become the 17th All-American in program history and the first since Nick Amuchastegui (2nd) and Ryan Mango (5th) placed in St. Louis in 2012.

Wilson is the first sophomore to earn the status since Mango (6th) did so in 2011 in Philadelphia.

Women's tennis

No. 10 Stanford dropped a 5-2 decision to No. 5 UCLA on Saturday afternoon in the first of a two-game SoCal road swing.

Stanford (9-3, 2-1 Pac-12) was searching for its first road win against the Bruins since 2013. Each of the Cardinal's three losses have come against top-10 competition.

UCLA (12-3, 2-1 Pac-12) snagged a 1-0 lead after winning the doubles point. However, the battle at the top spot resulted in No. 2-ranked Taylor Davidson and Carol Zhao defeating No. 3-ranked Catherine Harrison and Kyle McPhillips 8-3.

Trailing 2-0, Davidson collected Stanford's first point with a 6-1, 6-4 victory over Chanelle Van Nguyen at the No. 2 position.

UCLA moved in front 3-1 after Robin Anderson took down Zhao 6-3, 6-2 in a match featuring two of the nation's top-three players. Anderson, ranked No. 2 nationally, became the first player to defeat Zhao, ranked No. 3 nationally, in two months.

Ellen Tsay booked a 6-2, 6-3 victory over Kaitlin Ray at the No. 5 spot, bringing Stanford to within 3-2.

The Bruins clinched the match on court six, when Kristin Wiley put away Lindsey Kostas 6-2, 6-1.

Stanford visits No. 7 USC on Sunday in a match that will be televised on Pac-12 Networks. Doubles play begins at 2:30 p.m. with singles set to follow at 4 p.m.

Stanford has won the last two meetings against USC, which earned its most recent win on March 30, 2013 in Los Angeles.

Baseball

Stanford posted a four-run fifth inning to cut into a 5-0 Arizona lead, but the visiting Wildcats held on to deal the Cardinal its second straight Pac-12 Conference defeat, 6-4, Saturday at Sunken Diamond.

The two teams conclude the three-game series at 1 p.m. (PT) on Sunday. Pac-12 Networks will televise the contest.

Stanford (9-10 overall, 0-2 Pac-12) fell behind early when Arizona's Michael Hoard scored on a double-play ball in the second and three more Wildcat (18-6, 3-2) runs came around in the third.

Mikey Diekroeger drew a walk to start the home half of the fifth and scored on Austin Barr's double to left. It was Barr's fourth RBI of the series. Jack Klein proceeded to smash a two-RBI triple to right and later trotted home courtesy of Bryce Carter's infield single.

Stanford had the tying run at the plate in the ninth before Jonny Locher grounded into a 5-4-3 double play. In fact, Arizona turned three double plays to extinguish as many Cardinal threats.

Keith Weisenberg (1-2) was pulled after 2 2/3 innings, as the Cardinal starter scattered six hits and four earned runs.

Gabe Cramer worked four innings and kept the Wildcats off balance while surrendering only one earned run on two hits. Logan James was perfect in the final 2 1/3 innings.

Softball

Oregon State needed only five innings to dispatch Stanford, 10-0, Saturday at the Oregon State Softball Complex.

The Cardinal, returning to action after a bye week that included final exams, collected two hits in its Pac-12 Conference opener.

Stanford fell to 14-15 overall and 0-1 in league play with Oregon State bumping ahead to 20-9 and 1-3 against conference foes.

— Stanford Athletics

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