When freshman Sofie Seilnacht joined the team this year she probably thought her main purpose would be to help the struggling Bears on beam. But her performance Saturday at home against No. 6 Utah proved that she is capable of much more. For the first time in her collegiate career she competed on bars, posting a team-high 9.875.
Seilnacht and the No. 12 Bears, although eventually falling to the Utes 197.025-196.750, still posted their third highest score of the season.
“It feels really great — at the beginning of the year I didn’t think I had a chance to do bars but now I’m here,” Seilnacht said. “I’ve been working really hard, so I feel like I did well tonight.”
The Bears were right behind the Utes the entire day, putting up solid routines to keep the score close. The day for Cal began on vault, led by three Bears each scoring 9.85. This included sophomores Toni-Ann Williams and Alicia Gallarzo and freshman Sylvie Seilnacht. All three led Cal to a team vault score of 49.175.
The Bears carried over a similar performance into their second event, bars, again finishing with a team score of 49.175. Sofie Seilnacht’s score of 9.875 wasn’t the only solid score on this event. Junior Amber Takara matched her season-high score, 9.85. Williams finished with a solid bars score as well, posting a 9.825.
Cal entered its third event, beam, with a team-score of 98.350, still making the meet competitive. Junior Zoe Draghi, who has continued to make drastic improvements in all her routines in recent weeks, led the Bears with a career-high beam score of 9.90. Sofie Seilnacht and juniors Jessica Howe and Desiree Palomares followed closely behind with a solid score of 9.850.
The Bears finished on beam with a score of 49.175, taking their team all around score to 147.525 and entering their final event of floor just .25 behind the Utes.
Howe, motivated to pull off the upset, led Cal on floor with a score of 9.875. Draghi and Robinson tied for Cal’s second-best floor score of 9.850 after putting up impressive performances. Closing it out for the Bears were junior Charlie Owens and Palomares, who continued the trend of ties by finishing with 9.825 apiece. Unfortunately for the Bears the Utes didn’t choke in their final event and give up the lead, taking the meet home with a beam score of 49.200.
Despite the loss, Cal not only ended the day by posting its third highest meet score of the year, but the Utes’ .275 margin of victory is the slimmest in all 16 meetings between the two programs.
“The last couple of weeks have just been hard on everybody, physically and mentally, so I was happy that they were able to channel in a lot of positive energy today,” said Cal head coach Justin Howell. “When you have a great crowd it just makes it that much better, you can feel their energy, you can feed off of it, so I just want to keep packing the house even more.”
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