It’s only the beginning of the season, and although Cal Men’s gymnastics team has seven more competitions, the Bears are currently 1-3 and No. 8 in the nation. After a tough loss Monday to No. 11 Iowa, the Bears are looking forward to their third home meet of the season. This Saturday, the Bears will host a quad-meet against No. 2 Stanford, No. 7 Nebraska and No. 14 Arizona State.
Stanford and Cal have competed against each other twice so far, with the Cardinal winning both times by large margins. The Cardinal has consistently been led by senior Akash Modi, recently named MPSF Gymnast of the week for the week of Jan. 24. At the Stanford Open, the senior claimed the all-around, floor, pommel horse and parallel bars titles for his team, scoring 88.150 in the all-around event and a 14.800 or higher on each of the other three events in Stanford’s eventual 423.600-398.850 victory.
Although the Sun Devils are ranked lower than Cal, Stanford and Nebraska, Arizona State sophomore Daniel Bronnenberg is one gymnast to watch out for. At the SC United Open, he earned the top scores for his team in the floor exercise and the vault exercise with a score of 14.250 in each event. Overall, he came in third on the floor exercise and earned the top overall score on the vault. On the pommel horse, Arizona grabbed the top three spots, with senior Zack Mollet in first, sophomore Austin Kane in second and sophomores Nikita Latman and teammate Kirk Malm tying for third.
Cal has yet to face Nebraska this season, but the Huskers have strong competitors that have the potential to shake up their competition as well. The Huskers, however, have not won a meet yet. In its most recent tri-meet, Nebraska only lost to Minnesota 396.700 to 400.750, with junior Antonio Castro winning the pommel horse title with a score of 13.950. Castro has won an event title in each of Nebraska’s meets so far. Junior Connor Adamsick won the floor event title in Minnesota, while sophomore Anton Stephenson won the parallel bars event title.
The Bears will heavily rely on sophomore Aaron Mah, who won the all-around title against Iowa, and junior Yordan Aleksandrov, who earned the still rings and parallel bar titles. The Bears must work to perfect the details of their performances — specifically their weaker events such as the pommel horse — based on their past performances in order to improve their chances for success on Saturday.
“I’m not upset with aggressive mistakes I’m more upset with the small mistakes, like being a little conservative, and that’s going to be our emphasis on Saturday,” said Cal head coach Brett McClure.
The Bears have tough competition this Saturday — all four teams are in the top 15 in the nation, and each team has gymnasts who have won event titles in recent meets. If Cal focuses on the smaller details like McClure wants, then perhaps this meet could be the turning point Cal needs to begin garnering more wins.
Avanti Mehrotra covers men’s gymnastics. Contact her at [email protected]