On Saturday, the No. 9 Cal women’s gymnastics team edged out No. 14 Auburn, placing second at the NCAA Salt Lake City Regional to advance to the NCAA Championship.
With the top two teams advancing from each regional competition, Cal will accompany No. 5 Utah. The Utes took the top spot on Saturday with a final score of 197.475.
“It says a lot about the passion and hardwork they put in,” said head coach Justin Howell. “This team is gritty, and we truly are blessed to coach them.”
Their second NCAA Championship berth in three years did not come easy for the Bears. The final event propelled the Bears to a final score of 196.725 which proved to be just enough to maintain their lead.
“I told the gymnasts to trust the process and their training,” Howell said. “Their job doesn’t change at this point in the competition; it’s the same in every moment. It’s the same job that they’ve trained to do.”
The fourth-highest floor total in school history and top-10 finishes by all-arounders senior Toni-Ann Williams and freshman Kyana George were crucial for Cal in advancing to the NCAA Championships.
Junior Sofie Seilnacht and senior Arianna Robinson were also important factors in the Bears record floor performance. Seilnacht earned a career high on the floor with a 9.850, while Robinson matched her season-best score with a 9.875.
Cal returns to Berkeley with its eyes set on a top performance at the NCAA Championships. The competition will be held April 20- 21 at the Chaifetz Arena in St. Louis. While the stakes will almost certainly be higher for the Bears in the Midwest, they will treat it just like they have every competition up to this point.
“There is no different preparation plan, and it will remain the same that it’s been all season,” Howell said. “Our girls are fit and mentally strong. We know that they will go in there and do their best while competing against the top teams in the nation.”
Kellan Grant covers women’s gymnastics. Contact him at [email protected]