The No. 20 Cal women’s gymnastics team proved over the weekend that all records are meant to be broken. The Bears set a new program high with a team score of 197.325 in Sunday’s co-ed meet against UC Davis, surpassing the old record by more than half a point. The main contribution came from freshman star Toni-Ann Williams, who posted the best all-around score of the day with a 39.625. The No. 6 men’s gymnastics team also competed Sunday at Haas Pavillion, but with a performance that didn’t quite lend itself to the same results as those of the women’s team.
Williams led her team from the get-go, scoring a perfect 10.000 on Cal’s first event, the vault. This is the second perfect score she has put up this season and only the third in program history. Sophomore Desiree Palomares also came out strong, ending with a new career-high vault score of 9.925. The Bears put on some of the best vault performances in school history, setting a new program record of 49.500 for this event.
“I was totally pumped for the team, and the fact that my performance contributed to the team score was awesome,” Williams said.
Cal also made history when it came to the floor exercise, finishing with a school record score of 49.550. The Bears were once again led by Williams, who put on one of the most captivating floor performances in school history. The audience was completely blown away, especially when it came to her flawless landings. Williams’ floor performance didn’t go unnoticed by the judges, who rewarded her with an almost perfect score of 9.975.
Unfortunately, it was a completely different story for the No. 6 Cal men’s gymnastics team, who got routed by No. 1 Oklahoma. The men’s team ended the day with an overall team score of 430.800, losing to Oklahoma by more than 10 full points. Junior Kevin Wolting, however, came out and performed well, ending the day as the all-around leader with a score of 89.150.
Cal’s best performances of the day came early on, especially when it came to its first event, the parallel bars. Junior Kyle Zemeir led the Bears on the bars, finishing with a career-high score of 15.250 in this event. Freshman Yordan Aleksandrov also came out strong, registering a parallel bars score of 14.900. The performances of these two pushed the Bears to an overall parallel bars score of 72.700, their second-best event score of the day.
Cal followed this up with strong performances in its second and third events, the high bar and the floor exercise, respectively. Cal ended with an overall high bar score of 72.150, carrying over the positive scoring from its first event. Wolting led the team on the high bar, putting up a sensational individual score of 14.850. Cal’s best performance of the night came on the floor exercise, which ended with an overall floor score of 74.200. The main push came from Wolting, who finished with a remarkable floor score of 15.750. He put on one of the most natural floor performances of the entire meet, finishing off his routine with a ferocious scream that dazzled everyone in attendance.
“It’s really intimidating going against a team that has broken two NCAA records two weeks in a row, but they came out swinging,” said head coach Brett McClure of his team’s performance against Oklahoma.
The Bears, unfortunately, went down hill from that point, especially when it came to their fourth event, the pommel horse. Cal put up a low pommel horse score of 69.400, its worst event score of the meet. Wolting was the only one who put up a substantial pommel horse score, ending with a 14.400 for this event. Wolting would continue to shine throughout the course of the day, showing just how crucial he is to the foundation of the men’s team.
“Kevin Wolting did awesome — he kept fighting through and was able to finish strong with his dismounts,” McClure said.
Alex Quintana covers gymnastics. Contact him at [email protected]