Men’s gymnastics claims fifth consecutive national title

No. 1 Stanford men’s gymnastics vaulted into the history books on Saturday, claiming its fifth consecutive NCAA team championship with a season-best showing of 425.324 at the Covelli Center in Columbus, Ohio. Junior Khoi Young also captured the all-around title on the night to cap off a dominant season for the Cardinal as eight gymnasts on the team received All-American nods.

After besting runner-up No. 3 Michigan by just under six points — a substantial margin in a sport where the smallest mistakes can be extremely costly — Stanford became only the second program in NCAA history to have won five straight championships. No team has achieved the feat since Nebraska over four decades ago (1979-83). This is the first national title of the 2023-24 school year for Stanford Athletics.

Young, a two-time silver medalist at last year’s World Championships, led Stanford with his all-around victory. Sophomore Asher Hong likewise cleaned up with a trio of event titles on the vault, parallel bars and still rings. Earlier in the championship weekend, senior Colt Walker was named the 2024 Nissen-Emery Award winner, an accolade bestowed upon the best senior athlete nationally by the College Gymnastics Association (CGA) at the conclusion of each season. Walker is the seventh Cardinal gymnast in school history to receive the honor.

After posting the top qualifying score, three-time reigning conference champion Stanford opened the championship final by turning in season-best scores on its first two rotations — vault and parallel bars — and led the field early by over six points.

The competition managed to cut down on that advantage significantly throughout the third and fourth rotations, however. With two events remaining, the Cardinal had only about half a point of wiggle room over their closest rival, Michigan.

But the powerhouse squad, now widely known for their strong team culture and as an incubator for the U.S. national team, stormed back to post another season-best score on pommel horse and strengthen their grip on the trophy. Stanford finished out the night with a solid showing on the still rings to complete its five-peat. 

With the NCAA Championships finished and the team championship streak still alive, many Cardinal gymnasts will now look to the upcoming Olympic trials in June. Active team members and alumni alike will vie for the five coveted spots to represent the United States in Paris come July. Expected among the contenders are athletes like Young, Hong, Walker and world champion Brody Malone ʼ22 M.S. ʼ23, who competed at the last Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.