Sports

Stanford men will compete for NCAA gymnastics title

 

No. 2 Stanford finished first in its semifinal at the NCAA championships Thursday in Norman, OK, qualifying for the championships finals a 10th consecutive season.

The Cardinal scored 435.850 to finish ahead of California (433.700), Penn State (432.900), Minnesota (432.700), Nebraska (424.600) and Air Force (416.700). California and Penn State also advance to Friday night's final with Stanford.

The Cardinal will pursue its sixth NCAA title Friday at 5 p.m. (PT).

"The goal is to put pressure on Oklahoma," Stanford coach Thom Glielmi said. "We're pretty close to them in difficulty and we're close in execution. But they are so good on their landings and their sticking ability. If they're on and sticking they'll be hard to catch but if we're on and sticking I think it's going to be pretty fun."

Nine Stanford gymnasts combined for 13 top-10 finishes, and Stanford recorded top event scores on floor (75.400), vault (74.100) and parallel bars (74.250).

Akash Modi placed first on parallel bars (15.700), second on floor (15.450) and third on high bar (15.050). The reigning two-time Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Gymnast of the Year has now earned 21 individual event victories.

Brian Knott provided consistency and strong performances, placing second on parallel bars (15.150), fifth on high bar (14.950) and ninth on pommel horse (14.500).

Sean Senters finished first on vault with a 15.300. He has registered eight of the Cardinal's top 11 scores in the event this season.

It was an up-and-down meet for the Cardinal, which showcased its top-flight NCAA talent in some events but faced adversity in others. Stanford did well to overcome the challenges with gymnasts following missed routines coming through with clutch performances.

Stanford got off to a quality start on vault with a score of 74.100. Senters led the team with a 15.300, followed by Ryan Sheppard (14.850) and Taylor Seaton (14.800).

The Cardinal built on its momentum with a 74.250 in the next rotation on parallel bars. Modi led the team with a 15.700. He has registered the highest score in the event in eight of nine meets he has competed in this season.

Knott had a nice showing on parallel bars with a 15.150, while Robert Neff (14.550) and Jordan DeClerk (14.450) also produced strong scores.

Stanford ran into some challenges on high bar with two of the first three gymnasts suffering breaks in their routines for deductions.

The Cardinal regrouped and finished strong with a season-best performance by Modi (15.050) and a quality routine by Knott (14.950) in the anchor position.

Stanford finished the event with a 70.800 and sat in second place with a 219.150 overall halfway through the competition.

The Cardinal got back on track in a resounding way in its fourth rotation on floor, scoring a season-high 75.400.

Jonathan Deaton set the tone in the leadoff spot with a season-best 15.100. Modi led Stanford with a 15.450, while Senters (15.000), Neff (14.950) and Michael Levy (14.900) all turned in strong performances.

Stanford faced more adversity on pommel horse, registering its second-lowest score in the event on the season with a 69.200.

"The high bar was a surprise but the pommel horse was a bit of a disappointment," Glielmi said. "A couple guys got a little tentative. I think floor was the only routine where we put five solid routines together."

After four performances of 14.100 or lower, Knott helped boost the Cardinal's score with a team-high 14.500. Drew Willoughby and Senters contributed scores of 14.100.

Stanford finished the meet strong with a nice rotation on rings to secure a first-place result and a spot in Friday's final round.

The Cardinal posted a 72.100, led by a 15.350 by Dennis Zaremski in the anchor position. Brandon Beckhardt contributed a 14.700 and Levy notched a 14.550.

"We have a young team and I hope we get after it," Glielmi said. "No fear because I do think w can put some pressure on Oklahoma."

Lacrosse

No. 15 Stanford scored the first four goals and kept Oregon at a distance to earn a 15-10 women's lacrosse victory on Thursday at Laird Q. Cagan Stadium.

Stanford's leading scorer, Lucy Dikeou, had only one goal, but was the game's difference-maker with eight draw controls, three caused turnovers, an assist, and a groundball.

Mackenzie Tesei continued her torrid shooting, equaling her career-high of four goals – a total she has achieved twice in the past three games. Hannah Farr had three goals, and Alexandra Crerend and Maggie Nick two apiece.

Stanford (8-2) pulled into a three-way tie for first in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation with San Diego State and USC – each at 4-0. The Cardinal will play host to both schools next weekend.

Dikeou won the opening draw, which led to Stanford's first goal, on a free-position shot by Tesei only 14 seconds into the game. Rachel Ozer, Farr, and Tesei added to the total before Oregon scored its first goal.

The lead built to 8-1 in the first half and 13-5 in the second before the Ducks closed to with 14-10 with 3:35 left. Alex Poplawski iced the game shortly after.

— Palo Alto Online Sports/Stanford Athletics

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