Stanford wins gymnastics national title
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Depth and consistency added up to Stanford's 100th national title.
Alex Buscaglia tied for first in Friday night's last event to lead Stanford to its fifth NCAA men's gymnastics title and the school's 100th national championship in all sports.
"We'll be a warm spot in the department's heart for quite a while," grinning coach Thom Glielmi said.
The Cardinal totaled 363.450 points to hold off top-ranked Oklahoma, which had 361.600. Illinois was third with 360.150. California, which had its program eliminated because of budget cuts, finished fourth in what could be its final competition.
Buscaglia, a senior, had a 16.350 in the vault in the final rotation to share the top score with Michigan freshman Sam Mikulak, who captured the all-around title.
For the most part, the Cardinal -- fourth in the team standings heading into the final rotation -- surged to its second title in three years behind a balanced performance that included contributions from almost everyone on the team.
Buscaglia also tied for first on the horizontal bar, Eddie Penev was third in the floor exercise and Josh Dixon finished fourth in floor and fifth in horizontal bar. Tim Gentry placed second in rings and fourth in vault, Cameron Foreman and Ryan Lieberman tied for third in parallel bars and Chris Turner was seventh in pommel horse.
"The strength of our team is we're strong in events but we're not weak in any event," Glielmi said. "Consistency from event to event -- that's what got us the championship."
Stanford came into the meet at Ohio State's St. John Arena ranked No. 2 based on a four-meet average of scores during the regular season. However, the Cardinal won the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation title earlier this month, knocking off Oklahoma.
Amazingly, the Cardinal has won at least one NCAA title for each of the last 35 years.
"I think we did our job tonight," Dixon said. "Coming in we knew what we had to do. We stuck within our team, and it came down to executing, and we got the job done."
Mikulak won Michigan's second straight all-around crown. Teammate Chris Cameron won it in 2010. Mikulak had 90.750 points, compared to 90.150 for second-place Tyler Mizoguchi of Illinois.
"I really didn't think about winning it all when I came in here but it feels great to win my first NCAA championship," he said. "I tried not to think about the scores as I was going. It feels amazing."
Wolverines coach Kurt Golder couldn't say enough about his young star.
"He is a freshman sensation," he said. "He has the perfect demeanor of confidence and calmness and it really showed tonight."
The other individual events will be contested on Saturday night.
Cal coach Tim McNeill was disheartened by the fourth-place finish but sounded a note of hope.
"I really believe we'll be back again and this won't be our final time," he said.