Cal women’s gymnastics falls in tri-meet, men defeat Washington

Rachael Garner/Staff

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Both the No. 7 Cal men’s and No. 19 women’s gymnastics teams needed to make a statement Friday night in their respective last meets of the season, but only one came out a winner. The men’s team showed why it is one of the best teams in the country, dominating No. 20 Washington at home with a final team score of 430.750. The women’s team failed to end its last meet on a high note, finishing third in a tri-meet against No. 21 Southern Utah and No. 15 Boise State University.

The women’s team opened up its meet on the balance beam, Cal’s shakiest event of the season. Unfortunately, the Bears were once again inconsistent on the balance beam Friday night. The only high score came from sophomore Desiree Palomares, who ended the night with an overall beam score of 9.800. Cal would finish with a balance beam team score of 48.725, which significantly hurt its chances of winning the overall meet.

Freshman star Toni-Ann Williams, who was coming off her sixth Pac-12 Freshman of the Week honor, led her team from that point on. Williams posted a score of 9.925 on both the floor exercise and uneven bars, the best score of the entire meet for those events. She guided her team to an overall uneven bars score of 49.225, which was the best event of the night for the Bears. Williams finished with a final all-around score of 39.475, winning her seventh straight all-around title.

Cal would finish the meet with a final team score of 196.125, but it wasn’t enough to beat No. 21 Southern Utah and No. 15 Boise State University.

It was a completely different story for the Cal men’s team, which dominated No. 20 Washington all night long. The Bears were once again led by junior star Kevin Wolting, who came into this meet ranked as the No. 2 gymnast in the nation. Wolting’s best performance of the night occurred on the floor exercise, where he registered a meet-best score of 15.600. He also put up a career-best score of 14.950 on the pommel horse, passionately screaming after a near-flawless landing. Wolting was the backbone of the team the entire night, finishing on top with a final all-around score of 88.900.

“I’m happy with how I did, and I’m happy with how my team did,” Wolting said. “I’m really proud of all my teammates, and hopefully, we’ll just keep getting better and better.”

The Bears also got a standout performance from junior Ryan Patterson, who competed in his first all-around meet of the season. Patterson’s highlight of the night came on the high bar, where he helped his team with a strong score of 15.150. He also performed well on vault, leading his team with a score of 14.900. He ended the night with an all-around score of 86.000, the second-best all-around score of the meet, behind Wolting. Patterson showed Friday night that he will be a crucial piece for the Bears as they head into the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation conference championships.

“I feel like the guys got into a momentum-building atmosphere and tried to keep it going as long as possible,” head coach Brett McClure said. “It really made tonight a lot of fun.”

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