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Season in Review: Cardinal Three-Peat

Jun 27, 2022

STANFORD, Calif. - Stanford captured its third consecutive NCAA championship on April 16 in Norman, Okla., putting the finishing touches on one of the most dominant seasons in school history. The Cardinal won its eighth NCAA title in program history, becoming the first school to three-peat since Oklahoma's four-year stretch from 2015-18. Stanford also won NCAA crowns in 2011, 2009, 1995, 1993 and 1992. Stanford's eight NCAA championships in men's gymnastics are tied with Nebraska for the fourth-most all-time, trailing Oklahoma (12), Penn State (12) and Illinois (10). Men's gymnastics is the first Cardinal program to win three straight NCAA titles since women's swimming and diving completed a three-peat from 2017-19.

Preseason Favorites
Stanford received 168 points and 12 first-place votes to claim the No. 1 spot in the College Gymnastics Association (CGA) Preseason Coaches Poll. Michigan checked in at No. 2 with 152 points and one first-place vote.

Academic All-American

Senior Curran Phillips was named a CoSIDA Academic All-American in the at-large category - earning a spot on the second team. Phillips was named 2022 CGA Specialist of the Year on parallel bars and captured the individual NCAA title in the event while guiding Stanford to a third consecutive national championship. A U.S. Senior National Team member, Phillips was the 2022 Winter Cup champion on parallel bars while finishing second on horizontal bar. The five-time NCAA All-American, including a parallel bars and vault selection this year, finished first in the nation on parallel bars and second on vault. A three-time CGA All-America Scholar-Athlete, Phillips graduated with a degree in human biology this spring while carrying a 3.62 GPA. Phillips is the eighth Cardinal gymnast to be named an Academic All-American, including the first since David Jessen in 2020.

Nissen-Emery Award Winner
Senior Brody Malone won the 2022 Nissen-Emery Award, presented to the nation's most outstanding senior gymnast. The most coveted award in collegiate gymnastics, the Nissen-Emery recipient is selected based on gymnastic achievement, sportsmanship and academic excellence. Malone becomes the sixth Stanford men's gymnast to earn the highest honor in the sport, joining Akash Modi (2017), Eddie Penev (2013), Dan Gill (2004), Josh Stein (1995) and Steve Hug (1974). The native of Summerville, Ga. is the fourth honoree mentored by head coach Thom Glielmi. One of the most decorated gymnasts in Stanford history, Malone is a seven-time NCAA individual national champion. The four-time MPSF Gymnast of the Year is the reigning U.S. all-around champion and represented the United States at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics – finishing fourth on horizontal bar and 10th in the all-around. He has also captured a bronze medal on horizontal bar at the 2021 World Championships and earned a trio of medals at the 2022 Cottbus World Cup – including gold on horizontal bar and bronze on parallel bars and pommel horse. Malone helped Team USA to a gold medal at the 2022 DTB Pokal Team Challenge in Stuttgart, Germany.

A 17-time All-American, Malone has twice recorded five All-America honors in one championship meet – managing the feat in the 2019 and 2022 national championship. The original Nissen Award was named in honor of George Nissen, a former NCAA champion, for his contributions to men's gymnastics. The award was re-named the Nissen-Emery Award in 1998 to honor Dr. Robert Emery, a Penn State graduate, who won the Nissen Award in 1969. The Nissen-Emery Award is inscribed with the following motto: "The true champion seeks excellence physically, mentally, socially, and morally".

Tree-Peat

Stanford overwhelmed the six-team field at the 2022 National Championship meet en route to winning its third consecutive national title, totaling a 423.628 while producing individual NCAA champions in five different events. Host Oklahoma (414.555) and Michigan (414.490) followed in second and third, respectively. Nebraska placed fourth at 406.453, followed by Ohio State (399.326) and Illinois (398.523). Showcasing a combination of superior lineup depth and dynamic routines, Stanford led wire-to-wire, beginning with a 73.432 on vault through the first rotation. Even when Michigan inched closer at the midway point, Stanford delivered a season-best 72.433 on floor to stretch its lead and never looked back. Highlighting Stanford's individual NCAA champions was Brody Malone, who led all competitors on the horizontal bar (14.700) and tied for the national title on pommel horse (14.000). Malone becomes a seven-time national champion, and has now won three consecutive horizontal bar titles. The native of Summerville, Ga. captured the all-around in 2019 and 2021 while also earning a floor title in 2019. With seven national titles, Malone is the most decorated gymnast in Stanford history - passing the five individual national titles held by Akash Modi and Steve Hug, and doing so in just three national championship meets. Also securing event titles were Curran Phillips (15.233) on parallel bars, Riley Loos (career-high tying 14.600) on rings and Bryan Perla (career-high tying 14.800) on floor. Finishing the meet on still rings, Stanford posted a season-best 71.666. All five Stanford competitors claimed All-America honors - marking the first time that Stanford has managed to place all eligible gymnasts on the All-America list for one event. 

Strong All-America Haul
The Cardinal claimed a program-best 20 All-America honors in 2022 - surpassing the 16 garnered in 2020. Brody Malone led the way, earning a total of five All-America selections on floor exercise, pommel horse, still rings, horizontal bar and in the all-around. Malone finished second in the all-around with a score of 84.733. With his five selections, Malone has now amassed 17 All-America honors, including four in the all-around, three on horizontal bar, rings and floor, two on parallel bars, and one apiece on vault and pommel horse. The 17 All-America selections are tied for the most in Stanford history with Akash Modi (2014-17), while his five selections in 2022 match a record he previously reached in 2019. Jair Lynch ('92), Dan Gill ('04) and Modi ('15 & '17) are the only other Stanford gymnast to record five in a single season.

Freshman Khoi Young earned All-America selections on pommel horse and vault, while Phillips earned a pair on vault and parallel bars. With two this year, Phillips has collected five in his career - including three on vault and two on parallel bars. Loos and senior Ian Gunther also managed two selections, with Loos earning the distinction on floor and still rings. Loos has now earned seven All-America honors in his career - including three on rings and two on floor. Gunther is now a 10-time All-American after finishing top-eight on rings and parallel bars. Gunther is a four-time All-American on rings and a three-time selection on parallel bars. Rounding out the All-America honors, Perla (floor), Blake Sun (pommel horse), Taylor Burkhart (pommel horse), Mark Berlaga (still rings), Thomas Lee (still rings), Zach Martin (vault) and Colt Walker (parallel bars) each earned one.

CGA Specialist of the Year
Senior Curran Phillips was awarded CGA Specialist of the Year at the annual College Gymnastics Association Awards Banquet prior to the national championship meet. Phillips was named Specialist of the Year for his work on parallel bars this season. The 2022 national champion on parallel bars, Phillips finished the year ranked No. 1 in the nation on the event (15.025). The native of Naperville, Ill. posted the second-highest collegiate score this year in the event (15.450). Phillips proved consistent on his way to the parallel bars title at the 2022 Winter Cup, registering a 16.343 on Friday before hitting for a 16.643 on Sunday. Phillips, who also finished as the runner-up on horizontal bar at the Winter Cup, was the only gymnast to go 16+ on parallel bars at the annual event. After earning his spot on the U.S. Senior National Team, Phillips helped lead the U.S. to gold at the 2022 DTB Pokal Mixed Cup in Stuttgart, Germany. There, Phillips won the parallel bars title with a 15.050 while also finishing first on VT (14.200) and second on HB (12.900).

Four for Four for Malone & Glielmi
Senior Brody Malone claimed his fourth consecutive Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) Gymnast of the Year selection in 2022, while head coach Thom Glielmi also earned his fourth consecutive Coach of the Year honor. Malone joins Akash Modi as the only two gymnasts to earn MPSF Gymnast of the Year honors in four consecutive seasons after Modi managed the feat from 2014 through 2017. There have been just a quartet of four-time MPSF Athlete of the Year honorees in any MPSF sport, as Malone and Modi join Tony Azevedo (Stanford Men's Water Polo; 2001-04) and Aimee Harrison (Hawaii Women's Diving; 2013-16). With Malone capturing the honor in his four seasons on The Farm, Stanford has now earned 11 MPSF Gymnast of the Year selections in the last 19 years. Joining Malone on the list are Modi, Tim Gentry (2011), Sho Nakamori (2009) and Dan Gill (2004).

For Glielmi, 2022 marks his sixth MPSF Coach of the Year honor, first earning it in the NCAA and conference championship season of 2009, then again in 2014 as a Co-Coach of the Year with Kip Simons of Air Force. Glielmi, the 2009, 2011, 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022 National Coach of the Year, has established the Cardinal as a perennial national contender, leading Stanford to top-five finishes at the NCAA Championships in each of the last 16 seasons they have been contested. Completing his 20th season at the helm of the Cardinal program, Glielmi has guided Stanford to NCAA championships in 2009, 2011 and 2019, 2021 and 2022.

Conference Dominance

No. 1 Stanford delivered one of its most dominant performances in recent memory, leading from start to finish on the way to securing its first MPSF title since 2011. Stanford produced a 424.250 for its highest score in nearly five years, outlasting runner-up Oklahoma (417.300), California (392.400) and Air Force (388.050) to capture the MPSF Championship in Burnham Pavilion. The Cardinal showcased its superior depth by winning every event title outside of vault. Brody Malone won horizontal bar and all-around, Ian Gunther won still rings, Colt Walker finished first on parallel bars, Bryan Perla won floor and Khoi Young topped all comers on pommel horse. Freshman Taylor Burkhart matched the event-high on vault, but finished second based on a tiebreaker.

Coaches of the Year

For their efforts in guiding Stanford to the national title once again in 2022, head coach Thom Glielmi and assistant coach Mark Freeman were named Coaches of the Year. The honor is the sixth National Coach of the Year selection for Glielmi, including his fourth consecutive, while Freeman has been awarded National Assistant Coach of the Year in each of the last three seasons. The duo also garnered Regional Coach of the Year honors leading into the National Championship meet.

As of 1973, the National Head Coach and Assistant Coaches of the Year are presented annually to the coaches of the team that wins the NCAA Championships. The Cardinal captured its eighth NCAA title this year – including its third in as many championship meets. Stanford's coaching staff also earned the honor in 2020 after the CGA held a vote to determine the winners due to the 2020 season being canceled short during the COVID-19 global pandemic.

Excellence in the Classroom

In addition to capturing the 2022 national title, 13 Stanford men's gymnasts were named MPSF All-Academic Scholar-Athletes.

Name Year GPA Major
Andrew Bitner GR 3.31 Management Science and Engineering
J.R. Chou JR 3.81 Mechanical Engineering
Ian Gunther SR 3.65 Product Design
Thomas Lee SR 3.25 Mechanical Engineering
Riley Loos JR 3.69 Management Science and Engineering
Brody Malone SR 3.29 Management Science and Engineering
Zach Martin JR 3.25 Computer Science
Brandon Nguyen SO 3.69 Undeclared
Bryan Perla SR 3.68 Product Design
Curran Phillips SR 3.62 Human Biology
Blake Sun GR 3.66 Biology
Colt Walker SO 3.66 Undeclared
Blake Wilson SR 3.45 Management Science and Engineering

Strong Winter Cup Showing

Three current Cardinal and one future Stanford gymnast locked up individual apparatus titles on the final day of the 2022 Winter Cup – highlighting a strong showing from Cardinal gymnasts. Stanford freshman Ian Lasic-Ellis won the floor title with a combined 27.700 – including a 14.050 on Sunday to post the highest score during the competition. Fellow freshman Khoi Young captured the pommel horse crown with a 28.478. That total included a 14.289 during Sunday's day two. Senior Curran Phillips proved consistent on his way to the parallel bars title, registering a 16.343 on Friday before hitting for a 16.643 on Sunday. Phillips was the only gymnasts to go 16+ on the event. Phillips would also place second on horizontal bar with a score of 27.414.

Incoming freshman Asher Hong, who secured his national team spot on Friday, had the highest combined all-around total at 166.480 – edging fellow national-teamer Yul Moldauer at 166.102. Hong's total included a combined 32.860 on vault to win the event crown. Hong recorded a 16.680 on Friday before posting a 16.180 on Sunday. Hong also finished second on floor (27.508) and rings (29.332), and third on parallel bars (28.960). Young, who also earned his spot on the national team on Friday, posted the third-best combined all-around score at 165.819. In addition to his pommel horse title, he placed second behind Hong on vault (30.238).

Riley Loos finished fourth in the combined all-around with a score of 164.294 – earning top-five finishes on still rings (4th, 27.750), vault (4th, 29.844), parallel bars (4th, 28.150) and pommel horse (5th, 26.650). In addition to his floor title, Lasic-Ellis placed fourth on pommels (26.900), and fifth on still rings (27.500) and high bar (26.800) to finish with the fifth-best combined all-around score at 163.650. Colt Walker, who secured a national team spot on day one of competition, rounded out the top six with a score of 162.099. His best finish came on vault where he placed third with a combined 30.144.

In total, nine current Stanford gymnasts competed for the Cardinal at the Winter Cup.

Malone Wins Bronze at World Championships

Brody Malone captured his first World medal Sunday at Kitakyushu's General Gymnasium from the 2021 Artistic Gymnastics World Championships. Malone delivered a 14.966 on horizontal bar to claim bronze in a high-flying final that saw two gymnasts break the 15.000 mark. The gold medal ultimately went to China's Hu Xuwei (15.166) who edged Olympic high bar champion Hashimoto Daiki (15.066) of Japan for the crown.

National Team Success

Following the conclusion of the 2022 Winter Cup, USA Gymnastics' men's program shared the full list of athletes comprising the Senior National Team and Senior Development Team. Listed among the senior selections were Stanford's Ian Lasic-Ellis, Riley Loos, Brody Malone, Curran Phillips, Colt Walker and Khoi Young. Incoming freshman Asher Hong was also named to the team. Taylor Burkhart and Jeremy Bischoff were named to the Development Team.

In addition to Malone's bronze medal at the World Championships, Cardinal gymnasts have experienced great success already while competing internationally. Malone captured gold on horizontal bar to accompany bronze medals on pommel horse and parallel bars from the 2022 Cottbus World Cup in February. Malone and Young helped to guide the U.S. to gold at the 2022 DTB Pokal Team Challenge in Stuttgart, Germany in March. Young earned gold on pommel horse and vault in individual competition. Loos,  Phillips and  Walker also competed in Stuttgart, teaming with Karis German, Katelyn Jong  and Levi Jung-Ruivivar to win the 2022 DTB Pokal Mixed Cup. Lasic-Ellis was also in action, joining 2021 World team member Alex Diab and Paul Juda at the FIG Apparatus World Cup in Cairo, Egypt. Making his senior international debut, Burkhart secured silver on floor exercise and vault at the Varna World Challenge Cup in May. Bischoff also competed in Bulgaria at the Varna World Challenge Cup. Lasic-Ellis added two top-10 World Challenge Cup apparatus finishes to his growing international resume from the Osijek World Challenge Cup in June. The 19-year-old was 10th on parallel bars and seventh on still rings in his second appearance on the world stage in 2022. He previously finished fourth on horizontal bar and eighth on floor exercise at the Cairo World Cup in March. Loos and Burkhart each captured two medals at the Koper World Challenge Cup in June. Loos earned silver on floor exercise and still rings, while Burkhart added bronze on floor exercise and vault - the same two apparatus he medaled on at the Varna World Challenge Cup in May. Phillips was seventh in the parallel bars final at the Koper World Challenge Cup with a 12.950 after topping the scoresheet with a 14.750 during qualifications.
 

The Future is Bright

The consensus top recruit in this year's signing class has elected to take his talents to The Farm, as Asher Hong (Tomball, Texas / Cypress Academy) signed a National Letter of Intent with Stanford and will join the two-time defending national champion men's gymnastics program in the fall of 2022.

"Asher is quite an exceptional talent," Stanford men's gymnastics head coach Thom Glielmi said. "He's an athlete you see once in a generation. There are great things on the horizon for Asher, but what I am more pleased with, or I guess relieved about – he fits with our team culture. He's hard working, coachable, and basically an athlete that will bring more to the team than just a score. I feel comfortable saying that the team culture is likely a big reason why Asher chose Stanford. I am excited for him, excited for the team, and excited for program."

Hong, a U.S. Senior Nationat Team member, highlights a talented incoming class for the Cardinal which also features Arun Chhetri, Kaien Orion and Marcus Kushner - all of whom's strong club careers have set them up for a nice transition to The Farm.