Sports

Cardinal gymnasts provide super finish to the season

 

The 11th ranked Stanford women's gymnastics team scored 197.250 to finish fifth at Saturday's NCAA Championships Super Six in Fort Worth.

The result is the Cardinal's second-highest score in program history at any NCAA Championships competition.

Making its seventh Super Six appearance in the past 14 years, Stanford built momentum throughout the meet and exploded for a 49.575 on bars and a 49.550 on beam to conclude its season on a high note.

The Cardinal's score on bars matches its season-high set during Friday's semifinals and is tied for the third-highest in program history. Stanford's score on beam is a season-best and highest since Jan. 26, 2014, at UC Davis (49.600).

Florida claimed its third consecutive national championship with a 197.850 and was followed by Utah (197.800), Oklahoma (197.525), Alabama (197.275), Stanford and Auburn (195.625).

Stanford's team score of 197.250 at an NCAA Championships competition is second only to the 2012 squad that posted a 197.500 at the Super Six. Stanford seniors Pauline Hanset, Ivana Hong, Samantha Shaprio and Rebecca Wing competed at the 2012 NCAA Super Six as freshmen.

Seven Cardinal gymnasts combined for 12 top-10 finishes. Hong claimed an individual event victory for Stanford, placing first on beam with a career-best 9.975. Hong also tied for second on bars with a 9.950.

Elizabeth Price made her collegiate debut in the all-around and earned a second-place result on vault (9.950), tied for fifth on bars (9.925) and beam (9.900) and tied for sixth on floor (9.900).

Taylor Rice also competed in the all-around and set a career high with a 39.500. She tied her career best on floor (9.900) to tie for sixth, tied for 12th on beam (9.875) and tied for 14th on bars (9.875).

Kristina Vaculik, Nicolette McNair and Shaprio each scored 9.900 on bars to tie for eighth place. Along with Price, Vaculik and Wing scored 9.900 on beam to tie for fifth.

Stanford's performance at the NCAA Championships Super Six could be seen as a microcosm of the team's entire season in that the Cardinal was faced with adversity early but individual gymnasts continuously stepped up to perform big routines that propelled the team to a strong finish.

Stanford had a tough start on floor with only one of the first four gymnasts scoring above 9.700. However, Price and Rice stepped up in the fifth and sixth positions to deliver scores of 9.900 and get the Cardinal back on track and finish with a 48.875 in the event.

Stanford rode the momentum created by Price and Rice into its next rotation on vault with five gymnasts scoring 9.800 or higher. Price paced the Cardinal with a 9.950. Rice contributed a 9.850, while McNair and Hong produced scores of 9.825 to help Stanford finish the event with a 49.250.

The Cardinal came out on fire after a bye in the third rotation, posting a 49.575 on bars for the second time in as many days to tie its season-best. The score is tied for the third-highest in program history in the event. All six Stanford gymnasts scored 9.875 or higher.

McNair set the tone in the leadoff spot with a 9.900 and was followed by a 9.875 by Rice. Vaculik and Shaprio recorded back-to-back scores of 9.900. Price and Hong capped the rotation with a 9.925 and a 9.950.

The Cardinal finished the meet and its season strong with an outstanding rotation on beam to earn a 49.550. Five-of-six Stanford gymnasts registered scores of 9.875 or higher.

Wing has been steady all season in the leadoff spot and delivered again with a 9.900. After a fall in the second position, Rice stepped up to the beam and delivered a 9.875 to get the Cardinal going again.

Vaculik and Price capitalized on Rice's hit routine and produced consecutive scores of 9.900. Hong capped the evening with a near-perfect performance to earn a career-best 9.975 and finish first in the event. Hong received scores of 10.0 from two of the four judges.

— Palo Alto Online Sports/Stanford Athletics

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