The No. 7 Cal men’s and No. 19 women’s gymnastics teams will once again compete this Friday, however this time they’ll have to go at it alone, a week after both competing in a co-ed meet at Haas Pavilion. The men’s team will stay home as it welcomes No. 19 Washington, while the women’s team will travel to face Southern Utah. There will be a lot on the line this Friday for both teams, especially as it will be their last meet before entering the conference championships.
Both teams last competed Sunday, when they held their annual co-ed meet at Haas Pavilion. But the day will be remembered for the all-around performance of the women’s team, which not only posted the best performance of the season, but in the entire program’s history. The women’s team ended with an all-around score of 197.325, the best score ever registered by the Bears.
Freshman star Toni-Ann Williams led the way for her team last Sunday, finishing with a 39.625, the best all-around score of the day. William’s day was highlighted by her performances on the vault and floor exercise. She came out of the gate strong, posting a perfect score of 10.000 on vault, which was her second perfect 10 of the season and only the third one ever scored in program history. She followed this up in Cal’s last event, the floor exercise, scoring an almost perfect score of 9.975.
Williams’s all-around performance didn’t go unrecognized by the Pac-12 Conference, which, this week, awarded her a sixth Freshman of the Week honor this season.
Williams is aware that there’s one event she needs to significantly improve on — the balance beam. She posted a low beam score of 9.700 in last Sunday’s meet. The balance beam has been a focus for Williams this season, so she will be looking to rebound on the beam this Friday.
“Beam has been a little bit of a struggle for me, but I feel like I’ve worked hard on getting it up there, and it’s gotten way better,” Williams said.
Unfortunately, the No. 7 men’s team is heading into their meet with a completely different storyline. The men’s team posted an all-around score of 430.800 in last Sunday’s meet against No. 1 Oklahoma, however this score was far from what was needed to win. Oklahoma put on a clinic in Haas Pavilion, beating Cal by more than 10 full points, and the Sooners showed everyone in attendance why they are the best team in the country.
The men’s team still came out strong in last Sunday’s meet, which was highlighted by an all-around team score of 72.700 on their first event, the parallel bars. But the Bears shot themselves in the foot in later events, especially when it came to their fourth event, the pommel horse. Cal put up a low pommel horse score of 69.400 in last Sunday’s meet, its worst event score of the day. Improving the team’s overall consistency will be the main focus for the Bears this week when they go up against No. 19 Washington.
“We’re going to figure out how to put five guys up, and have five hit routines,” said head coach Brett McClure. “For us to be contenders in the end, we need that five-for-five.”
Alex Quintana covers gymnastics. Contact him at [email protected]