With Sunday’s win against No. 24 Iowa, No. 13 Cal women’s gymnastics proved that its season-opening victory in the NorCal Classic was no fluke.
The final score of 195.550 to 194.400 reflected the consistency that the Bears showed in their first matchup against a Big Ten opponent. The win, however, did not come easily.
“The scoring was really, really tight in this meet. I feel like the scores didn’t really reflect the effort we gave,” said Cal head coach Justin Howell.
The Bears had a strong showing on bars against Iowa, improving upon their two falls in the NorCal Classic. Junior Toni-Ann Williams led the team on the event with a 9.850.
Senior Emily Richardson posted the second-highest score for Cal on the event with a 9.825.
Iowa, however, had a stronger showing. With one Hawkeye gymnast surpassing their personal best and another tying their personal best, the team combined for 48.950 to Cal’s 48.850.
On vault, Cal demonstrated its high-power and aggressive style, just as it did in the NorCal Classic.
Junior Arianna Robinson earned the vault title with a score of 9.825. Williams was close behind her teammate with a 9.800, good for second place in the event.
While Sunday ended with a win for the No. 13 Bears, there was still much room for improvement, specifically on landings.
“We did some really powerful vaults that had a lot of bouncing around on landings,” Howell said.
On floor, Williams and Robinson each earned a 9.825, putting them in a three-way tie for the title with Iowa freshman Clair Kaji.
Freshmen Cassidy Keelen and Dudschus both showed improvement on their NorCal Classic scores, each earning a 9.700 on the event.
“Learning how to keep your adrenaline in check is something that all freshman have to deal with,” Howell said. “They’re going out and doing really beautiful, big gymnastics.”
The Bears’ dominance on balance beam once again shined through on the day’s last event, where they completed their second consecutive sweep.
Senior Desiree Palomares also won the beam title for the second meet in a row with a 9.875. Keelen and senior Zoe Draghi were just behind Palomares for second and third, respectively.
“I was most pleased with our performance on beam,” Howell said. “Beam can be a very nerve-wracking event, and we really put together six solid routines.”
Following Sunday’s win, Cal returns to Berkeley in anticipation of Saturday’s meet against Washington and San Jose State.
If, as they have shown in the first two meets of the season, the Bears can continue to make strong and dynamic performances individually, they as a whole team should have no problem advancing along on their winning trajectory.
Adriana Ghiozzi covers women’s gymnastics. Contact her at