No. 18 Cal women’s gymnastics to face Central Michigan on Friday

Rachael Garner/File

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This Friday, No. 18 Cal will face Central Michigan in what will be its first meet against an unranked opponent since the season started at the NorCal Classic on Jan. 8.

The Bears are coming off a big weekend in which they upset the No. 4 Utes on their way to recording the highest team score in program history at 197.500.

En route to defeating the Utes for the first time in program history, a number of gymnasts recorded career-high totals in their respective events.

Senior Toni-Ann Williams swept every event title and set an all-around program record with a score of 39.700. Freshman Kyana George followed close behind, taking second in the meet with a 39.500 all-around score.

While Williams and George stole the show, head coach Justin Howell was very impressed by the team’s performance in the bar event.

“The entire bar squad really stood out,” Howell said. “We nailed every single landing, and it was really huge for us to avoid any deductions in that category.”

Central Michigan, ranked just outside the top 25, hopes to play spoiler in what may likely be a lopsided meet.

Most recently, it took last place in a tri-meet against Bowling Green and Ohio State. Despite a disappointing outing last time out, the Chippewas remain in first place in the Mid-American Conference.

Senior leader Katy Clements shined with her performance amid her team’s defeat, tying her career high in vault with a score of 9.850 while leading the team in the floor and beam events. She will be a key competitor if the Chippewas are to have any chance of taking down the Bears this weekend.

Heading into the final three meets of the regular season, a lighter opponent will likely prove to be a huge benefit for the Bears, especially for Williams.

Williams, who was sidelined for much of her junior campaign with an achilles injury and is currently battling through a bruised knee, was not supposed to compete in the all-around category on Sunday but could not turn down the opportunity to compete in the floor event at the end of the meet. She will likely have the opportunity to make up for that missed rest this weekend.

Kellan Grant covers women’s gymnastics. Contact him at [email protected]

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