Senior co-captain Kyle Zemeir finished his final rotation Sunday on high-bar at Haas Pavilion, sticking the landing of an almost errorless routine. As he walked off the mat, he was greeted with a hug by his teammates and cheers echoing off the stadium walls. But it was when he reached Cal head coach Brett McClure that things finally seemed to sink in.
“Last one in Haas,” McClure reminded him with a pause.
And for Zemeir, the MPSF Gymnast of the Week, and six other Cal gymnasts, this was their last opportunity to perform at home. Finishing the regular season with a competition against both No. 12 Army and No. 17 Washington, the tied-for-No. 5 Bears sent their seniors packing with the highest score in program history, 442.150. This was also the first time the team has ever scored more than 440 and the team’s third consecutive meet of scoring a new season high, showing its improvement.
Cal had also defeated Army in a home meet Friday, which was officially dubbed senior night, despite their last meet being Sunday. The Bears scored what was a season-high 436.100 and won the title in all six events. As appropriate for such a night, four of these titles went to seniors. Co-captain Kevin Wolting won both the event titles on floor, 15.600, and vault, 15.250. The team as a whole also set event-season highs in both the pommel horse and parallel bars.
Wolting and Zemeir each also set season highs in all-around scores with 88.900 and 88.400, with Wolting only being .05 away from tying his personal-career high.
But the second day of competition for the Bears, with many team alumni in attendance, was even more impressive, far beyond their record setting score.
“Guys came out swinging, they were tired and exhausted but they did a really good job fighting for each other,” McClure said. “I think the biggest difference between (Sunday) and Friday night was that the momentum we built throughout the entire night carried us through.”
Wolting managed to score a 2016 national-best 15.600 on vault. The team also set three consecutive event program highs on rings, 73.700; vault, 74.700; and parallel bars, 74.250.
And it was the last event of the day, high-bar, where Cal shined the most. The team that had averaged 71.325 points this season, stuck five straight landings and score 14.800 or better in five of its performances. The total team score on the event was a 74.250, which allowed the Bears to secure its high final score. Wolting also won the event title on high bar, with a 15.100.
“I had so much fun out there, couldn’t think of a better way to end my last home meet here; I love my team, we went out there and killed it,” Wolting said. “(The team score) sets us up in a great spot going into NCAAs, it’s been a great year, I’m stoked to finish it off.”