STANFORD, Calif. - Defending national champion Stanford received 221 points and 12 first-place votes to claim the No. 1 spot in the College Gymnastics Association (CGA) Preseason Coaches Poll. Oklahoma checked in at No. 2 with 208 points and two first-place votes.
The Cardinal, which also claimed top billing in the 2020 preseason poll, was ranked No. 1 in the nation and was preparing to defend its national championship before the 2020 season was shortened by the COVID-19 global pandemic. Though it did not have the opportunity to repeat as champion, Stanford's average team score of 414.783 was more than four points better than Oklahoma's second-place average of 410.133, and its season high was eight points better than any other team. Having already defeated end-of-year ranked No. 2 Oklahoma and No. 4 Ohio State during the regular season, the Cardinal was the odds-on favorite to hoist the trophy in Ann Arbor, Mich.
Rounding out the top five in the preseason poll: Michigan (187 points, 1 first-place vote), Nebraska (171 points) and Illinois (156 points).
Stanford returns seven of the eight All-American gymnasts from a year ago. Included in the bunch are reigning CGA Rookie of the Year Brandon Briones and junior Ian Gunther – who led all gymnasts with four All-America selections in 2020.
In addition to the talented returning group, 19th-year head coach Thom Glielmi added the second-ranked recruiting class according to the CGA, as Jeremy Bischoff, Brandon Nguyen and 2020 top-ranked recruit Colt Walker are all prepared to open their inaugural campaigns on The Farm.
Stanford is scheduled to report back to campus on Jan. 23-24 to begin the onboarding process for its upcoming varsity season.
In accordance with Santa Clara County's restrictions for collegiate sports, athletics activities that involve contact, that do not allow for social distancing, or that take place indoors, remain prohibited. Additionally, individuals are required to quarantine for 10 days upon returning from travel of over 150 miles from Santa Clara's borders. As a result, the men's gymnastics program initially plans to conduct modified outdoor training activities that comply with the current restrictions.
While Stanford Athletics will continue striving to create an opportunity for student-athletes to compete in their upcoming season, all decisions regarding training and competition will be based on the conditions and the guidance provided to us by public health officials and our university administration. Accordingly, all competition dates are subject to change.
The NCAA has approved the use of virtual competitions for men's gymnastics, which could open the door for a unique 2021 season, should the Cardinal be approved to access its indoor training space. The virtual competitions would feature teams competing from their home gyms and remote judging from anywhere in the world – helping to lessen the potential spread of the virus by eliminating the need for travel.
"We are doing everything we can to provide the opportunity for our student-athletes to represent Stanford on the national stage, while strictly adhering to the health and safety guidelines put in place by the State, County, and University," said head coach Thom Glielmi. "The team understands and is committed to protecting the community by following strict protocols established by the USOC, USAG (National Governing Body of gymnastics) and California Gymnastics Association that help mitigate the spread of the virus."
For news and other potential schedule updates, please be sure to follow @StanfordMGym on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
2021 CGA PRESEASON COACHES POLL
1. Stanford - 221 points (12 first-place votes)
2. Oklahoma - 208 points (2 first-place votes)
3. Michigan - 187 points (1 first-place vote)
4. Nebraska - 171 points
5. Illinois - 156 points
6. Penn State - 154 points
7. Ohio State - 141 points
8. Minnesota - 119 points
9. Navy - 102 points
10. Iowa - 98 points
11. Cal - 78 points
12. Army - 58 points
13. Air Force - 51 points
14. William & Mary - 34 points
15. Springfield College - 22 points