After 0-4 skid, Cal women’s gymnastics battles Oregon State

UPDATE: Cal’s meet against Oregon State was postponed due to inclement weather in Corvallis, Ore. A rescheduling of the meet is pending.

Ranked No. 22 in the country, the Cal women’s gymnastics team is still searching for its first Pac-12 win. Despite having record-breaking scores, winning has escaped the Bears in consecutive meets.

Cal (3-5, 0-4 Pac-12) will face No. 16 Oregon State (4-1, 1-1) in Corvallis, Ore., on Saturday at 6 p.m. Coming into this weekend in the middle of a four-meet losing streak, Cal hopes to rebound before heading into a two-week break.

Oregon State is coming off an upset over No.12 Stanford (10-1, 2-1), 197.100-195.750. Oregon State finished every apparatus last week above a 49.0, all of which were season highs for the Beavers. Cal can expect a lot of noise when the team heads north, but senior Alicia Asturias thinks that may not be a negative.

“The enthusiasm for gymnastics as a sport is something that we really enjoy as competitors, and I think we will really be able to utilize that energy and excitement in our own gymnastics,” Asturias said. “It is a big arena, it can be distracting, but I think we can flip around that energy to our own advantage.”

The Bears are hoping to post their own season highs after losing to No. 9 UCLA at home, a meet where they won only two of the four event titles. The tough loss showcased the team’s inability to finish meets.

Cal’s season started with promise at the NorCal Meet. A second-place finish, losing to No. 12 Stanford but beating Sacramento State, UC Davis, and San Jose State, showcased the talent of the team. However, winning did not continue into its next meet as it fell short of pulling off the upset over then-No.18 Denver just a week later. The Bears pulled off high-scoring individual performances, including that by freshman Charlie Owens, who typically participates in the all-around portion of the competition. She is just one of eight freshmen added to the squad this past year.

“We’re relying heavily on our freshmen this year,” said Cal coach Justin Howell. “Our freshmen have been doing a great job, and many of them, quite honestly, act like veteran competitors out there, but there is always that element of not knowing what is going to happen when you are that new college student.”

Owens exhibited just that when the Bears faced No. 4 Utah, missing the landing on the first vault of the day. Despite this initial setback, Owens came back and posted her career high on bars. The team ended up scoring a season and home-opener high of 196.275 and having season-high team totals in every event. This effort, however, was not enough to defeat the Utes, who scored 196.875 despite falling off the beam twice.

The Bears are hoping to improve in more technical areas in competition as opposed to their overall performance.

“We need to stick more landings, we need to hit more handstands on bars, and the other thing we need to do is close the deal on four events,” Howell said. “Hopefully, that’s what we are going to do on the road — put four events together, and really finish it up on that last event.”

Contact Alaina Getzenberg at agetz[email protected]