No. 6 Cal men’s gymnastics falls to Stanford, Minnesota

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The No. 6 Cal men’s gymnastics team fell Saturday night to No. 3 Stanford and No. 9 Minnesota, but the night was all about the Bears’ juniors Kyle Zemeir and Ryan Patterson. The Bears took part in their first five-up, five-count meet of the year, meaning that every routine counted toward the final score, no matter what.

Zemeir didn’t let this new format faze him one bit, ending the night as the all-around leader with a score of 87.150. Patterson came in a close second with a score of 87.100, which is impressive seeing as this was his first all-around meet of the season. The performances of these two pushed the Bears to an overall team score of 430.200, but it still wasn’t enough to win.

“Kyle did awesome — he had a great couple weeks of training, and he felt like this was a great opportunity for him to showcase his all-around skills,” said head coach Brett McClure. “He went out there, went six-for-six and stepped up like the team leader he is.”

Zemeir gave the team an early push by putting up a career best score of 15.200 on Cal’s very first event, the still rings. Patterson also came out of the gate strong by putting up a score of 14.600. The rest of the team, however, fell short of putting up anything substantial, with the next highest score being 13.950. The Bears would finish their first event with an overall team score of 71.100, but they were still in a position to win the tri-meet as they continued on to their next five events.

The Bears were led on their third and fourth events by promising freshman Yordan Aleksandrov. Aleksandrov led the team by putting up an impressive score of 15.100 on the parallel bars, which was a career high. His contribution lead the Bears to a strong parallel bars score of 72.600.  He followed this up by registering another career high in Cal’s fourth event, the high bar. Aleksandrov put up a striking high-bar score of 15.150, leading the team to an overall event score of 72.400.

The Bears’ most dominant event of the night was undoubtedly the floor exercise, where they finished with an overall floor score of 72.750, which was their top overall event score of the night. Sophomore Nicholas Del Junco led the Bears on floor by putting up an impressive score of 15.000. Patterson came in a very close second by registering a floor score of 14.950. The rest of the team followed suit by putting up phenomenal numbers as well. In fact, the Bears’ lowest floor score of the night was still a strong 14.200, which was put up by junior Kevin Ko.

Unfortunately, Cal failed to perform well on its very last event, the pommel horse, which significantly hurt the team’s chances of winning the overall meet. The Bears went from posting their best team score on floor to posting their worst score on the horse, finishing with an overall score of 69.200 for the event. This was significantly behind the overall pommel horse scores posted by Stanford and Minnesota, which put up scores of 71.600 and 69.950, respectively. The only substantial performance on pommel horse came from junior Kevin Wolting, who had a much-deserved light day — competing in just three events — after recently coming in sixth place at the Las Vegas Winter Cup Challenge. Wolting put up a strong pommel horse score of 14.600. His team, however, failed to perform as well as he did.

Overall, the Bears performed well Saturday night despite falling to the Cardinal and Golden Gophers, especially when it came to the standout performances of Zemeir and Patterson. Still, it’s clear that the Bears will need to improve on the pommel horse if they are looking to make a future statement at the national level.

“We could improve on the pommel horse quite a bit,” McClure said. “I think the most potential for bringing up our team score would be with improving on that event.”

Alex Quintana covers gymnastics. Contact him at [email protected]