The No. 22 Cal women’s gymnastics team entered its tri-meet Sunday with a rare opportunity: to spoil rival No. 24 Stanford’s home debut. But in the end the Bears were unable to pull this off, finishing the meet with a season-high score of 195.650, good enough for second place ahead of SJSU. The Cardinal would put on a show for their fans, defeating rival Cal and taking first place with an overall team score of 196.675.
The Bears started out the meet on the uneven bars and were unable to put up any strong performances in this event. A pair of rare mistakes prevented the team from ending the event with a formidable score. Most importantly, though, it prohibited the Bears from being able to win the meet altogether, especially when considering the fact that Cal’s final bars score (48.525) was the worst of any team that day.
But Cal was far from giving up. The Bears followed up their poor start on bars by putting up season-best performances in their next three events.
“I thought our team showed a lot of fight, we started a little rough on the uneven bars, but we pulled it together real nicely,” said Cal head coach Justin Howell. “I was proud of what they did, they showed the mental toughness and maturity to bounce back.”
Junior Charlie Owens stepped up for the Bears in the team’s second event, beam, ending with a season-high 9.850. The team also got a much-needed performance from freshman Sofie Seilnacht, who finished with a career-high beam score of 9.800. They both greatly contributed to the new season-high beam score of 48.825 set by the Bears.
Cal’s true talent, however, was on display on the team’s next event, floor. Sophomore Toni-Ann Williams rebounded from her poor performance on beam to lead the Bears, finishing with a team-high 9.925. Junior Zoe Draghi followed closely behind, being the only other Bear to score a 9.90 or better.
“I was very happy with our floor performances, the girls did great tumbling and did a great job of selling their routines,” Howell said. “I was able to take a step back and be fan tonight while watching their floor, and that was really fun.”
In the end, the Bears were once again able to set a new season-high floor score of 49.175, trumping the old season-best of 49.100 from two weeks prior. They proved Sunday that their national rank as the 10th best floor squad in the country is much deserved.
But the Bears weren’t done there, once again posting a season-high score of 49.125 in their last event. Williams once again led the charge, finishing with a season-high 9.875 on vault. The entire team closed the meet out strong, as everyone in the lineup scored new season-highs in the event.
The Bears’ slow start on bars came back to haunt them, however, and it was this that prevented them from beating Stanford and taking first place.
Stanford was led by sophomore Elizabeth Price, who finished the meet with individual event victories in vault and bars with a score of 9.925 in both. She finished with the highest all-around score for the meet at 39.550.
Still, there are many positives to take away from Sunday despite the Bears being unable to win the meet. Cal was able to show maturity by not allowing its slow start to affect its next three events, but in the end, this still wasn’t enough to defeat rival Stanford.
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