Cal women’s gymnastics loses to No. 17 Oregon State, records second-worst score of the year

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Michael Wan/File

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Last week, Cal women’s gymnastics team, tied for No. 14, made history by finishing with its best ever road score in program history: 196.900. Saturday against No. 17 Oregon State, however, was a completely different story for the Bears. Cal finished the day on the road with its second-worst score of the year: 195.350.

This was nowhere near enough to defeat the Beavers, who cruised to victory with an overall team score of 196.850.

“We looked tired, and I think our energy level could’ve been better, said Cal head coach Justin Howell. “Everybody entered the meet with the perception that it was going to be a hard meet to get through because we didn’t have all the training that we normally would put in.”

Like the team, sophomore Toni-Ann Williams was unable to continue her production from the previous week when she finished every single event with a 9.90 or better. Her only notable performance on Saturday came on floor with a 9.90.

The tough day for the Bears began on the uneven bars, finishing with a team score of 48.700. Junior Jessica Howe, as the third Bear to perform on the event, led Cal with a career-high 9.875. Sophomore Yuleen Sternberg was also able to set a new career high with a score of 9.85. But in the end the Bears were unable to put up a substantial team score, and their final bars score was plenty behind Oregon State’s 49.400.

Cal was unable to turn things around in its second event, vault, where troubles for the Bears only continued. Still, despite the team’s overall failure on this event, sophomore Alicia Gallarzo was able to perform well. Gallarzo was able to take her first event title of her career with a vault score of 9.875. Sophomore Arianna Robinson followed closely behind, ending with a 9.85.

Luckily, Cal was able to step up on floor, which has without a doubt been its strongest event of the year. Williams returned to her normal self and led Cal on floor with a 9.90, tied with Oregon State’s Madeline Gardiner for the best floor score of the day. The Bears also got a strong showing from junior Zoe Draghi, finishing with a 9.875. They both led the team to a floor score of 49.200, the only event of the day for Cal in which it had a score of 49.00 or better.

Howell was hoping this strong showing on floor would give the Bears the energy to finish the meet out strong on beam. But beam only came back to haunt them.

“I was happy that we bounced back on floor and had a great rotation,” Howell said. “I was hoping that we would be able to take that turnaround into balance beam for our last event, but unfortunately, we didn’t.”

The Bears closed out on beam with a low team score of 48.475, putting an end to their second-worst meet of the year.

“It was rough, but I hope that we took away some lessons from it, and we can apply it to this week’s training,” Howell said.

Contact Alex Quintana at [email protected]