On Saturday evening in Haas Pavilion, No. 18 Cal women’s gymnastics looked like it had something to prove. Perhaps that its intense second-half schedule is not intimidating? Or that last week’s loss to unranked Arizona was a fluke? Or that it is capable of rising above the lack of its star player, Toni-Ann Williams?
Whatever it was the Bears set out to prove, they proved it all.
Amassing the third-highest score in team history and posting all four event scores above 49 points, Cal left it all out on the floor in order to beat a No. 12 Oregon State team that had a nearly comparable night.
It began on vault, where the Bears did not waver in the consistency that they have shown on that event throughout the season. Junior Arianna Robinson once again earned the vault title (this time, shared with Oregon State junior Dani Dessaints) for her crowd-favorite high-flying piked ilg. Despite six clean Cal vaults, Oregon State was ahead after the first rotation, posting a huge score of 49.300 on bars.
It was only a huge score, however, until the Bears had something to say about it.
Their 49.475 on bars was not only the highest score on any event all season, it was the third-highest bars score in Cal history. Junior Alicia Gallarzo rebounded from the falls that had plagued her only two bar routines of the season by posting a 9.925 and picking up the bars title. Even without senior Dana Ho, who is out with an ACL injury, the bar lineup did not collect a single score lower than 9.850. After the massive score, the Bears had easily passed the Beavers at the halfway point of the meet.
Yet another season-high score came for the Bears on beam, with a 49.225. Compared with last week in Arizona, Cal looked more comfortable and collected on beam, leading to six hit routines. Gallarzo once again led the team with a 9.90.
It looked to be down to the wire in the fourth rotation, as Oregon State had amassed a 49.100 on floor. Cal responded with (once again) a season-high on floor. Senior Zoe Draghi shared the floor title with Robinson, as they each posted a 9.90. Oregon State was simultaneously putting together a huge rotation on beam, but by the time Cal senior Desiree Palomares was up, it was a done deal.
Cal had completed the upset, by a final score of 197.075-196.825.
That huge score should continue to reverberate in the rankings. Because the order is determined by average score, and the Bears have been averaging a 195.708, they should certainly see a rise in their ranking.
It was a night of redemption for Cal, a huge turnaround following a two-meet losing streak and certainly a confidence-builder heading into the second half of the season.
Adriana Ghiozzi covers women’s gymnastics. Contact her at