It’s finally time for the Cal men’s gymnastics team to show its worth.
The time for things to get better has come to a close. The postseason is now the only thing left on the line for a Bears squad that features seven seniors with only two meets left to go.
It’s crunch time.
And for Cal, it couldn’t come soon enough.
“It’s the most exciting time of year,” said Cal senior Kyle Zemeir. “Some people say that the holidays are, but postseason gymnastics is.”
Tied for-No. 5 Cal will travel to the 24th annual Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Championships in Palo Alto to compete against three top teams in the country, all of which rank in the top 15.
Along with host No. 2 Stanford, the meet will feature No. 11 Air Force and No. 1 Oklahoma. The Bears have faced off against all of these teams earlier this season and lost to all but the Falcons, including falling to the Cardinal five times. The experience against Stanford, however, has left the squad very comfortable playing at its rival’s home turf that is also extremely close by.
Only having to travel a short distance extends the break that the Bears have had from competition. Cal will have not competed in a little less than two weeks when Saturday rolls around, and it has gotten a long time to prepare for the long awaited postseason.
“It’s been a good break, it can be a challenge because if you let back a little too much it can be difficult to get back into the rhythm,” said Cal head coach Brett McClure.“They got a chance to let their bodies heal up before the final push, give us the best opportunity to perform the best.”
Speaking of performing its best, Cal is coming off the highest scoring meet in school history, 442.150, scoring above 440 for the first time. In the process of beating No. 12 Army and No. 17 Washington, the team also broke three event records and the seniors had a powerful last performance at Haas Pavilion, with senior Kevin Wolting scoring a national high on vault in 2016, 15.600, and Zemeir hitting all six of his routines.
The team will have quite a challenge ahead, however, as both Stanford and Oklahoma both have season averages above 440.
But the Bears have their own way of getting through the pressure of the postseason.
“Have fun,” Zemeir advised. “Just go out there in your Bear bubble, stay in your Bear bubble, do your job and stay in your position.”