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Sunday, June 16, 2024

Greater than a dynasty: Stanford males’s gymnastics eyes historical past with potential five-peat


Each school athlete’s objective is to win a nationwide championship for his or her staff. Few are in a position to obtain this objective, and even fewer are in a position to win back-to-back championships. Stanford males’s gymnastics is a kind of “even fewer” groups who’ve been in a position to repeat as NCAA champions – many times and once more and once more.

The Cardinal received 4 in a row beginning in 2019 and, have been it not for the COVID-19 pandemic slicing the 2020 season brief, they might have most definitely already received their fifth nationwide title in a row.

Head coach Thom Glielmi stated successful consecutive nationwide championships has “been super.”

“We labored actually laborious to be in that place,” Glielmi informed Gymnastics Now. “[Everyone] obtained on board with the super staff tradition… It’s been actually gratifying having the fellows work collectively for a typical objective.”

Glielmi famous that successful is nice, but it surely’s the by-product of the work they’ve put in and the muse they’ve constructed – “[I’m] extra happy with how they’ve taken to the tradition.”

Being there for and trusting each other goes to be vital this weekend, as a result of we get to observe Stanford try to make historical past and be a part of the 1979-1983 Nebraska staff as solely the second males’s gymnastics staff ever to win 5 consecutive nationwide titles.

There’s lots on the road this weekend, from etching their names into the historical past books to having each different staff attempting to take them down. In coping with all this strain, the Cardinal squad reveals a way of gratitude and makes use of this power as motivation.

The Cardinal wouldn’t be on this place have been it not for the 2019 squad upsetting the Oklahoma Sooners to win the primary title of this distinctive streak. David Jessen, a junior at Stanford that 12 months, stated their 2019 win was “extra significant than any particular person accolade – it was not nearly one individual, it was about our total staff coming collectively at precisely the correct time… it was positively one of the crucial cherished moments of my profession.”

Grant Breckenridge is the one member of that 2019 staff that’s nonetheless at Stanford, solely this time his eyes are set on a nationwide championship as an assistant coach. That squad laid the muse for the tradition and mindset that has allowed Stanford to be as profitable as they’ve been for so long as they’ve. 

Tradition

J.R. Chou, a fifth-year for the Cardinal, shared some perception into the tradition that has developed on The Farm: “It’s important to be keen to provide your all the pieces into each single observe, not for your self, however for the fellows on the staff and the fellows that got here earlier than us. We owe it to the alumni and to our teammates to point out that we deserve a spot on the staff, and that we deserve our spot within the lineups.”

Chou talked concerning the significance of “displaying up when it issues” – in competitors and particularly in observe. Gratitude and understanding the historical past of the staff is a central tenant for this Cardinal squad.

Taylor Burkhart, a junior on the staff, spoke to what it meant to be part of this staff at this level in its historical past: “It’s laborious to place into phrases what it meant to win a nationwide championship… It was actually the fruits of all our laborious work, and going by means of these ups and downs alongside the fellows. It was so particular to be on this staff and have the chance to be part of one thing a lot greater than myself.”

There’s not a doubt in my thoughts that each single member of this Cardinal squad, and every squad that got here earlier than them, are hard-working and devoted to one another; however one thing that actually stood out to me was the emphasis the staff locations on gratitude.

Burkhart spoke to this 12 months and the way they wouldn’t even be on this place with out the alumni: “I understand how laborious my predecessors and alumni labored, each to win nationwide championships however to additionally construct this staff to the place it’s now. Personally, successful this 12 months would imply a lot to me as a result of it’s my goal to grasp and to be pleased about them, and likewise to additional that tough work and energy they put in.”

Having the prospect to hear and study from the present Cardinal squad confirmed simply how understanding and grateful they’re for the chance to be part of such a particular group. 

Chou added some motivating perception: “Successful this 12 months is a manner of appreciating all that’s been stated and carried out earlier than us – I really feel that we’ve got an obligation to make that historical past occur… we owe it to everybody, particularly our predecessors who made this staff what it’s.”

These sentiments show precisely what it means to be part of one thing greater than your self and the way vital it’s to grasp your house inside that bigger group. To be grateful of the others inside that group – these earlier than you, alongside you, and even after you – who’ve come collectively to permit this chance and success to come back to fruition.

With every nationwide championship that Stanford has received, the expectation and strain to remain on the prime has continued to develop; the opposite groups’ resolve and dedication to dethrone Stanford has additionally grown. The proverbial hole between Stanford and the remainder of the groups has shrunk in current seasons, which has heightened the depth and competitors in NCAA gymnastics. This squad is effectively conscious that there’s lots on the road; whereas they’re on the verge of historical past, in addition they perceive that the remainder of the NCAA needs to beat them.

Burkhart famous that the Cardinal begin each observe with their staff mantra, gasoline the hearth, as a reminder. They pull motivation from this and use it to get fired up.

Chou spoke to the significance of not breaking underneath the strain and defined the staff’s mentality: “If you happen to aren’t working tougher than the opposite groups, then it’s not going to occur.”

The staff’s different mantra, staying within the bubble, explains how they’ve handled and thrived underneath the strain. 

Blocking out the noise and specializing in themselves, Chou says, is what has helped them stay steadfast. Not worrying concerning the different groups or the fifth nationwide championship being on the road, and as an alternative specializing in what they’ll management has helped them construct that belief and confidence in one another.

Burkhart stated this mentality of staying within the bubble is nothing new – “It was instilled in me as quickly as I arrived on The Farm as a freshman.” It has confirmed invaluable for the Cardinal, as a result of it retains them on the identical web page and helps them have one another’s backs.

Staff

There are two main issues that separate this Cardinal squad from those who got here earlier than them.

First are the all-arounders, particularly Khoi Younger and Asher Hong. Accidents and different components have impacted the depth of their lineups, however the all-arounders have stepped up and led the squad this season. 5 present staff members, and three Cardinal alumni, are at present on the U.S. males’s nationwide staff. Particularly with it being an Olympic 12 months, most of the guys on the staff have their sights set past NCAAs, and you may see this within the issue and execution of their routines. Seeing such devoted athletes proceed to provide this staff and the NCAA their all is a real testomony to their character and dedication to one another.

Second, is the staff’s mentality strolling into the postseason. Chou stated in earlier years they might discover and settle into their rhythm earlier than the postseason and deal with sustaining that stage. This 12 months, nevertheless, they’re persevering with to push into the postseason. Issues are a little bit up within the air; there may be much less lineup rigidity, which truly speaks to their depth as a squad. Pushing all the way in which up till the week of NCAAs proves that guys who haven’t been in lineups all 12 months could have the chance to step up when it issues essentially the most. Whereas some could take into account this unsettling, Chou says it goes again to confidence and belief and remembering that everybody who makes the lineups earned their spot. It goes each methods – “I’ve confidence and belief in myself and the opposite guys within the lineups the identical manner that they belief me and one another.” This method has helped the staff develop shut and kind an actual brotherhood. 

This weekend is a lot greater than a single season; it’s the fruits of the previous six years and past.

From the gymnasts, coaches, assist employees, followers, and the gymnastics group, there are lots of people who shall be tuning in. Having the prospect to talk with a number of the present staff makes it obvious that their hearts and minds are in the correct place. To take care of this mentality and stage of gymnastics and dedication for an entire season is troublesome; to take care of it for 5 seasons in a row is really extraordinary, and it’s a testomony to the staff and program that Coach Glielmi has developed on The Farm.

Growing a very good staff tradition has at all times been a precedence for Glielmi: “One of many issues [I] need for the fellows is to have an incredible expertise and to be part of one thing greater than themselves.”

Gratitude and making the most of the chance are the core of the staff’s tradition and legacy. Glielmi stated, “The COVID 12 months actually made us step again and do a deep seek for what was actually vital… we needed to discover our motivation once more; we realized to fall again in love with doing fitness center for the love of the game.” 

Legacy

Legacies are nothing new in sports activities.

The 1991-1998 Chicago Bulls, the 1957-1969 Boston Celtics, and the New York Yankees (who’ve a number of dynasties). Even in school gymnastics there have been dynasties, the 1979-1983 Nebraska Cornhuskers and the 2015-2018 Oklahoma Sooners stand out essentially the most.

The Stanford dynasty started in 2019, however the humorous factor a few dynasty, is you don’t notice it’s one till years later.

Jessen stated, “You don’t consider beginning a legacy within the second; it’s one thing that unfolds because the years go on… then you definitely look again and notice you began a tradition and mindset. It’s so fulfilling, and I’m so grateful to have been part of that beginning out. As an alumni, I really like watching the meets and seeing the staff proceed the legacy.”

Furthering this legacy provides a layer of strain and might completely be daunting. This Cardinal squad acknowledges that however opts to deal with the positives as an alternative; the truth that it’s a privilege to be on this staff and an honor to proceed constructing on that legacy. 

Burkhart put it plain and easy: “I need this Stanford staff to go down as the perfect staff in NCAA historical past.”

This completely captures the dedication and dedication of all the staff. An achievement of this magnitude is an extremely excessive bar to set, but when anybody is able to succeeding, it’s this Cardinal squad.

Chou needs to construct a legacy of giving the staff your all the pieces – “This may be carried out in many various methods, however for me it means main by instance, out and in of the fitness center.” He stated it doesn’t matter the place you got here from or what you’ve carried out, what issues is that you simply put all the pieces you could have into each observe, not for your self, however for the staff.

This mindset of loving what you do and placing the staff above your self speaks to every particular person’s selflessness, the belief inside the staff and this system, in addition to the energy of the group.

Studying about these gymnasts has given me a a lot better understanding and appreciation of who they’re and what they’ve completed. Watching Stanford the final 5 years has been nothing wanting unbelievable. Their run isn’t over, and we get to observe them chase historical past this weekend.

No matter who you might be rooting for, this NCAA championships is a should watch, and Stanford, better of luck in Columbus.

Click on right here extra info on the 2024 NCAA Males’s Gymnastics Championships, together with the sphere, schedule, and easy methods to watch.

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