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For Stanford assistant gymnastics coach, being gay has never been an obstacle

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Cale Robinson thrives, plus the rest of the LGBT college roundup.

Cale Robinson stands after completing a routine on Jan. 18, 2014, as a Stanford men’s gymnast. Robinson is now a volunteer assistant coach with the Stanford women’s gymnastics team and the head coach for Airborne Gymnastics, a club team in Santa Clara, California.
Stanford photo/Hector Garcia-Molina

STANFORD, California — Six Stanford women did their toughest balance beam routine during the warm up for their season-opening meet on Jan. 8.

No one fell. No one wobbled.

Beam was the third apparatus the Cardinal warmed up on, and Stanford assistant coach Cale Robinson felt optimism as he stood and watched.

“The fact that they can step into that environment at the first meet and roll through a warm-up and be totally unfazed by anything was a big sign to me that, by the end of the season, they’re going to be a force to be reckoned with,” said Robinson, who is starting his second season as a Stanford women’s gymnastics volunteer assistant coach. “From a coach’s perspective, that was very exciting to see.”

Stanford, ranked No. 18 to start the season, finished second to No. 10-ranked California by 1.55 points at the five-team meet Jan. 8.

“Even though they got second, it was electric in there, and there was a chemistry amongst the team and the staff,” said Robinson, who is gay. “They did a phenomenal job.”

On Sunday, Stanford took fourth at the Elevate the Stage meet in Reno, Nevada.

“They took steps in the right direction and got a higher team score,” Robinson said.

Robinson, a Stanford men’s gymnast from 2011-14, has enjoyed becoming a college and club gymnastics coach, and he has done it while continuing to be openly gay.

“They all know my sexuality,” said the 25-year-old Robinson, whose full-time job is head coach at Airborne Gymnastics in Santa Clara, California. “The best thing that everyone can do is just be themselves and let everyone know who you are.”

Robinson, whose hometown of Harriman, Tennessee, has a population of about 6,300, started coming out as gay during his freshman year at Stanford. He spoke about it publicly for the first time in 2013 to The Stanford Daily.

“What’s been the most helpful for me is just being out and being myself and not being afraid to say that I’m gay to anyone that asks,” Robinson said. “I feel that’s what’s helped me become a better coach, because I know that in every facet of what I’m doing, I’m myself.”

The 5-foot-10, 175-pound Robinson said he wanted to become a gymnastics coach since he was a kid in Tennessee, and he did an internship with former Stanford women’s gymnastics head coach Kristen Smyth while he was a Stanford student. Smyth brought him on as a coach last year, and Robinson stayed with the staff when Tabitha Yim took over the program this summer.

At Stanford, Robinson coaches the uneven bars the most, and as a former Stanford athlete and two-time team captain, he knows the expectations of being a Cardinal.

“For Stanford, I think, every team wants to win a national championship,” Robinson said. “My goal for them is just to take the season day by day and learn how to compete and try to get better every day. … If you can find your way to the competition floor on the last day of the season, then you’re putting yourself in a position where you have a great chance to win a national championship.”

Cale Robinson can be reached by email at calewalter@gmail.com or on Instagram @CaleWalter.

Cale Robinson, right, gives encouragement to an athlete while coaching with Airborne Gymnastics, a club gymnastics team based in Santa Clara, California.
John Cheng

Names in bold are people that have announced publicly they identify as LGBT. Results are for competitions that took place Jan. 2-14.

Division I

Jace Anderson (junior, Nebraska men’s track & field) took fourth in triple jump (47 feet, 11 inches) at Saturday’s season-opening Graduate Classic.

Schuyler Bailar (junior, Harvard men’s swimming) and David Pfeifer (senior, Harvard men’s diver) helped the Crimson to dual meet wins against Arizona State and Penn in the last two weeks. Saturday against Penn, Pfeifer took fifth on 1-meter springboard (268.95 points). On Jan. 6 at Arizona State, Bailar took seventh in the 200-yard butterfly (1 minute, 59.6 seconds), and Pfeifer took fourth on both 1-meter and 3-meter springboard with scores of 290.03 and 308.25, respectively.

Philip Batler (sophomore, Brown men’s track & field) took second in the 60 meters (6.9 seconds) at Saturday’s Dartmouth Invitational.

Simon Carne (senior, Drexel men’s diving) celebrated Senior Day on Saturday with wins on 1-meter and 3-meter springboard. He scored 264.45 points on 1-meter and 276.75 on 3-meter. On Jan. 6 at Delaware, Carne won the 1-meter springboard (249.0) and took second in the 3-meter (269.32). Anthony Musciano (sophomore, Drexel men’s diving) did not compete the last two weeks due to a back injury.

Konrad Eiring (junior, Illinois men’s track & field) took second in the 600 meters (1:21.11) and helped the 4x400 relay win at Saturday’s Illinois Open. Eiring missed last year’s indoor season while recovering from surgery.

Taylor Emery (junior, Virginia Tech women’s basketball) contributed 22 points, four rebounds and three assists to the Hokies’ 89-66 win against Pittsburgh on Jan. 11. Virginia Tech (13-5 overall, 2-3 ACC) went 1-2 the last two weeks.

Aidan Faminoff (sophomore, Florida State men’s diving) took sixth on both 1-meter and 3-meter springboard with scores of 224.85 and 304.73, respectively, at Florida on Jan. 5. He finished seventh during Friday’s home meet on both 1-meter and 3-meter with scores of 270.75 and 300.3, respectively.

Bryce Fehringer (sophomore, South Dakota men’s swimming) took ninth in the short-course 100-meter freestyle (56.03 seconds) at the Orange Bowl Swim Classic on Jan. 3.

Dylan Geick (freshman, Columbia wrestling) competed for the first time this season Jan. 6 at the Lehman F&M Open, where he went 0-2 at 157 pounds with a loss by fall in 2:25 and a loss by a 5-3 decision.

Connor Griffin (junior, Fordham men’s swimming) competed in four events Saturday at Florida Atlantic, and his best finishes were taking seventh in the 100-yard breaststroke (1:04.74) and 200 breaststroke (2:22.34).

Emmonnie Henderson (redshirt senior, Louisville women’s track & field) won the shot put (53-7 3/4) at Saturday’s Kentucky Invitational. Kelsey Tyler (senior, IUPUI women’s track & field) ran the 3,000 meters (10:44.57) at Kentucky, and she finished 40th of 50 runners in the event.

Bree Horrocks (redshirt junior, Vanderbilt women’s basketball), Kelly Komara (assistant coach, Vanderbilt women’s basketball) and Stephanie White (head coach, Vanderbilt women’s basketball) saw the Commodores (4-14 overall, 0-4 SEC) go 0-3 the last two weeks. Horrocks did not play against Missouri on Jan. 11, and she averaged 5 1/2 minutes in the previous two games and scored two points in each of those games. Vanderbilt’s home game Jan. 28 against Texas A&M is scheduled to be broadcast on the SEC Network at 3 p.m. ET.

Dawson LaRance (freshman, Minnesota men’s track & field) and Brad Neumann (redshirt senior, Minnesota men’s track & field) helped the Gophers beat the Wisconsin Badgers in Saturday’s dual meet 93-65. Neumann finished second in the 60 meters (6.92 seconds) and 200 meters (22.54 seconds). LaRance finished second in the 800 (1:51.69).

Kennedy Lohman (sophomore, Texas women’s swimming) took third in the 200-yard breaststroke (2:18.93), fourth in the 100 breaststroke (1:04.07), and helped the 200 medley relay to a win Jan. 8 against Auburn.

Justice Lord (junior, Barton men’s volleyball) had six kills and two digs in the Bulldogs’ season-opening four-set loss to No. 15-ranked Grand Canyon. Barton lost its first three matches of the season. Michael Tyler (junior, Barton men’s volleyball) has not played yet this season.

Michael Mitchell (freshman, Lehigh men’s track & field) and Susie Poore (freshman, Lehigh women’s track & field) both competed at Saturday’s Lehigh Challenge. Poore finished second in the 3,000 meters (10:12.3), and Mitchell took 16th in the 3,000 meters (9:01.61).

Cory Moreno (senior, Old Dominion men’s diving) won the 1-meter springboard (264.38) during Saturday’s dual meet with William & Mary. It was also Senior Day.

Jimmy Nuckolls (senior, King men’s volleyball) was one of 17 liberos named to the Erik Shoji Award watch list, which King announced Jan. 2, but Nuckolls said that he won’t be playing this season.

G Ryan (senior, Michigan women’s swimming) competed in four events Saturday against Indiana, and Ryan’s best finishes were third-place results in the 500-yard freestyle (4:52.64) and 1,000 freestyle (9:54.48).

Jaron Thomas (redshirt senior, North Texas men’s track & field) made his Mean Green debut with a ninth place in the 60-meter hurdles (8.36 seconds) on Friday at Texas A&M, where he also helped the distance medley relay finish third.

Jack Thorne (junior, Northwestern men’s swimming) won the 100-yard backstroke (50.11 seconds), took second in the 200 backstroke (1:49.64), and helped the 200 medley relay to a win Saturday at SMU.

Wayne Zhang (senior, Yale men’s diving) took fifth against Cornell in 1-meter springboard (258.15) during a meet Jan. 9-10. In a three-team meet with Dartmouth and Penn on Jan. 6-7, he took fifth in 3-meter springboard (267.25) and was eighth on 1-meter (236.7).

Randy Lane (assistant coach, UCLA women’s gymnastics) helped guide the No. 4-ranked Bruins to a season-opening 196.25-193.2 win against No. 22 Ohio State on Jan. 6. On Sunday, UCLA won the four-team Elevate the Stage meet. Pac-12 Conference coaches selected the Bruins as the preseason No. 1 team in the conference.

Lee-J Mirasolo (assistant coach, Harvard women’s hockey) saw the Crimson (8-7-1 overall) go 1-3 the last two weeks. Harvard’s game against St. Lawrence on Jan. 20 is scheduled to be broadcast on NESN at 3:30 p.m. ET.

Division II

DJ Slifer (assistant coach, Texas A&M-Kingsville women’s basketball) watched the Javelinas (4-12 overall) go 1-3 the last two weeks.

Division III

Chris Cassingham (senior, Mary Washington men’s swimming) swam three events Saturday at Salisbury, and his best result was taking second in the short-course 400-meter freestyle (4:28.13).

Alec Donovan (redshirt sophomore, Centenary wrestling) went 3-2 at 165 pounds during the NWCA National Duals on Jan. 4-5.

Nathan Matthews (junior, Wittenberg men’s volleyball) had six kills, six digs and an assist during the Tigers’ season-opening four-set loss to Marymount on Jan. 10.

Tucker Meijer (junior, Amherst men’s track & field) took fourth in the 3,000 meters (8:55.91) at Saturday’s Little Three Indoor Championship in Middletown, Connecticut.

NAIA

David Gilbert (redshirt senior, Lewis-Clark men’s track & field) finished 14th in the 3,000 meters (9:51.75) at Saturday’s Vandal Invitational in Moscow, Idaho.

NJCAA

Lexie Gerson (assistant coach, Harcum women’s basketball) saw the Bears (7-10 overall) lose 70-56 to Monroe on Friday. Saturday’s result was not available.

Layne Ingram (head coach, Lansing women’s basketball) coached the Stars (9-6 overall) to go 2-2 the last two weeks.

Erik Hall can be reached via email at hallerik7@gmail.com or on Twitter @HallErik or Facebook. If you are an out LGBT athlete or coach and want your accomplishments recognized, please email Erik.