“We didn’t let the championship get away from us. It would have taken our best night to beat Stanford … Stanford was the deserving champion.” —Oklahomacoach Mark Williams
great energy,” Williams said. “No regrets about our
Glielmi was fortunate in that most of his team’s
injuries happened earlier in the season, although he
lost freshman Cale Robinson, a strong tumbler and
vaulter, for the season because of a knee injury.
Other chronic injuries flared up for various gym-
nasts, which prevented Stanford from dominating
the rankings throughout the season. So after his
team had prepared stronger routines for 2011, it
also started to break down. “So we kind of had to
step back and re-evaluate,” Glielmi said.
His new strategy was designed to avoid a total
collapse but also to allow for the maximum team
score. For each event lineup, Glielmi chose a consistent starter, followed by three or four solid sets.
He saved the anchor spot for a risk-reward routine.
“And it worked,” Glielmi said.
As good as Stanford was, Illinois might have
competed more to its potential. “Our team had a
96 percent hit ratio,” said Illini coach Justin Spring.
“I couldn’t have asked them to be more perfect, and
we had [our] best night of the year in team finals. It
was a great close to a great season.”
It might have been better with the scores of team
leader Paul Ruggeri, who tore a ligament in his left
ankle in February and was out for the season.
“[That] was a huge hit to our team score, as well as
[to the] psychological stability of the team,” Spring
said. “We had to recreate the belief for everyone
that we could still be a championship-winning team,
and it took quite a few weeks to do that.”
If any team had reason to struggle with focus, it
was California. Having received news that the pro-
The depth of Stanford(opposite) was too much
for runner-up Oklahoma(above) and third-place
Illinois(left). Michigan’s Sam Mikulak (above
left) became the first freshman to win the
men’s NCAA all-around title.