2024 MPSF Men’s Gymnastics Preview: Stanford seeking 5th straight NCAA title

By Aidan Giusti | January 10, 2024
Stanford's Asher Hong on rings at the 2023 NCAA Men's Gymnastics Championships.
© Amy Sanderson/Gymnastics Now

The 2024 MPSF men’s gymnastics season is here, and Stanford leads the conference as it looks to make history as only the second team ever to win five consecutive NCAA Championships.

The gap between Stanford and the rest of the NCAA appears to be closing, as Michigan came within three points of the Cardinal last season – a much narrower margin compared to Stanford’s nine point victory in 2022. Recently, the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) has been slightly uneven, but an impressive freshman class all-around looks to shake up this status quo.

This season may not be as predictable and clear cut as expected because, while Stanford is the favorite in the conference and nationally, the rest of the MPSF (and NCAA) is either looking for redemption or looking to surprise everyone and make their mark. Each team is hungry and has something to fight for, which will make this season one to watch.

#1 Stanford

The last time Stanford wasn’t on top of the podium was nearly six years and a global pandemic ago. This season is extra special for Stanford; after winning its fourth consecutive NCAA title last season, the Cardinal is looking to join the 1983 Nebraska Cornhuskers and become the second team to ever win five national titles in a row. Among others returning to the Farm are world team members Colt Walker, Khoi Young, and Asher Hong and U.S. Olympic team alternate Brandon Briones. The loss of a handful of high-profile gymnasts including Olympian and world champion Brody Malone leave behind big shoes to fill, but the freshman class looks eager to step up to the plate.

We’ll see Stanford kick off the season at the Cal Benefit Cup on January 13.

  • Key Contributors: Asher Hong, Khoi Young, Taylor Burkhart, Colt Walker
  • Key Newcomers: David Shamah, Toma Murakawa, Reece Landsperger, Zach Green
  • Key Losses: Ian Gunther, Riley Loos, Brody Malone, Zach Martin, Matthew Szot
  • Potential X-Factors: Arun Chhetri, Kaien Orion, Nick Kuebler
  • Big Matchups: Stanford vs. Team USA on February 10; Stanford vs. Oklahoma & California on March 16

#4 Oklahoma

After a fourth place finish at the NCAA Championships last season, graduating six, and gaining six freshmen, this looks to be a potential rebuilding year for Oklahoma. Losing captain Spencer Goodell and other veterans like Vitaliy Guimaraes and Cesar Gracia will leave some holes in the Sooners’ lineups, but returners Jack Freeman, Zach Nunez, and Emre Dodanli will look to lead the team to a strong showing. They may be a younger team, but there’s plenty of talent. Not to mention head coach Mark Williams has proven himself as one of the best coaches in the NCAA. Before last season, the last time the Sooners finished worse than runner-up was 2010; Oklahoma doesn’t stay down for long.

The Sooners kick off their season at home against Air Force on January 13 (with a band in tow).

  • Key Contributors: Fuzzy Benas, Emre Dodanli, Jack Freeman, Zach Nunez
  • Key Newcomers: Arthur Ballon, Max Bereznev, Colin Flores, Tyler Flores, Tas Hajdu, Nico Hamilton
  • Key Losses: Alan Camillus, Braden Collier, Spencer Goodell, Cesar Gracia, Vitaliy Guimaraes, Morgan Seyler
  • Potential X-Factors: Adriel Perales-Valencia, Dan Simmons, Ignacio Yockers
  • Big Matchups: Oklahoma @ Illinois on January 28; Oklahoma @ Michigan on March 2

#10 California

Cal has a great mix of experience this year; only graduating two last season, six freshmen join the squad, which adds some youth to a team already boasting 14 upperclassmen. With the return of graduate student Darren Wong to the lineups and the addition of assistant coach Karl Ziehn, there’s a lot to be excited for with this team.

Cal opens the season at home when they take on Stanford in the Cal Benefit Cup on January 13.

  • Key Contributors: Yu-Chen Lee, Noah Newfeld, Noah Sano, Tyler Shimizu 
  • Key Newcomers: Ari Bekker, Carter Kim, Harry Kim, Jaxon Mitchell, Brendan Strom, Tucker Yasunaga
  • Key Losses: Will Lavanakul, Aidan Giusti
  • Potential X-Factors: Khalen Curry, Theodor Roald Gadderud, Darren Wong
  • Big Matchups: William & Mary vs. Cal (virtual) on February 18; Nebraska & Air Force vs. Cal March 3

#9 Air Force

After a season best performance during Day 1 of the NCAA Championships last year, the Falcons will be looking to continue that upward trend coming into the 2024 season. With increased difficulty and improved consistency, this team could be one to keep your eye on as the season progresses. The addition of David Henderson Jr. to the coaching staff brings an added layer of experience and expertise as Air Force works to take its program to the next level.

The Falcons’ season kicks off on January 13 when they take on Oklahoma & Nebraska in Norman.

  • Key Contributors: Garrett Braunton, Erich Upton, Oliver Zavel, Bryan Woffinden
  • Key Newcomers: Alex Baum, Ryder Butera, Nathan Dimmateo, Aiden Esval, Sunny Pyle
  • Key Losses: Troy Jenkins, Edwin Kust, Sam Metzler
  • Potential X-Factors: Tai Gopaul, Patrick Hoopes, Dennis Irimiea
  • Big Matchups: Air Force & Nebraska @ Cal on March 2; Stanford vs. Cal on March 9