On its opening night of the 2016 season, the No. 7 Cal men’s gymnastics team was outperformed by Bay Area rival No. 3 Stanford on Monday night at Maples Pavilion.
And while the Bears’ performance may not have lived up to the hopes that the team had for the season, there is plenty of time for improvement.
Losing with a team score of 423.900 to the Cardinal’s 436.650, Cal only won one of the six events, the high bar, and failed to win the all-around title, as Stanford’s Akash Modi finished in first with a 89.000. While the Bears were unable to win the title, two did have strong all-around performances, including senior Kyle Zemeir, 86.750, who was coming off a shoulder injury. The future also looks bright for Cal courtesy of freshman Aaron Mah, who had a successful opening night, scoring no lower than 14.200 on any of his three events.
Strong performances individually were found all over the floor, including from senior Kevin Wolting who posted a 14.900 on the pommel horse, just shy of his career-high mark of 14.950. The Bears’ best team scores came from the vault and floor, where they posted 73.250 and 72.850, respectively. Zemeir and freshman Michael Rauchwerger, who scored a 14.850, contributed to Cal’s strong vault showing. Zemeir also had a strong night on floor with a career-best 15.300.
With plenty of competitions to come for Cal, this meet can serve as a learning opportunity and a chance for the Bears to check their progress. With a chance to face Stanford again Feb. 6, Cal will get another opportunity to prove it belongs with the top teams in the country.