No. 18 Cal women’s gymnastics shines in senior night victory over Central Michigan

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On Friday night, No. 18 Cal women’s gymnastics defeated Central Michigan as seniors Toni-Ann Williams, Alicia Gallarzo, Arianna Robinson and Yuleen Sternberg bid a bittersweet farewell to Haas Pavilion on senior night.

Coming off of an emotional win over No. 4 Utah the week before, the Bears quickly eliminated any speculation that they might come out flat by recording an impressive score of 49.150 in the vault event. Williams took this event title with a 9.925 performance, and freshman Kyana George also shined with a 9.850.

A 49.375 score on the bars represented Cal’s highest-scoring rotation of the night, the fifth-highest score in the event in program history. Sternberg and George each performed well, landing 9.85 scores, but it was Williams and freshman Nina Schank who came away tied with the high score of 9.925.

Halfway through the meet, there was almost no doubt that the seniors would come away with one final win at home as the Bears held a 1.300 point lead over the Chippewas.

The beam event didn’t deter from the story of the meet as a whole, and it even saw Cal match the program record with a 49.350 score. This marked the only rotation in which Williams did not at least share a piece of the event’s top spot.

Instead, it was junior Sofie Seilnacht who recorded a career-high 9.925 score on her way to her first event title of the season.

“Liz (Crandall-Howell) and I are always confident that they can deliver beam routines because they do it every day in the gym,” said head coach Justin Howell in a press release. “It’s never a surprise, but it’s always exciting. They are just kind of business up there, and that’s our expectation, but it’s always fun to watch it out there during a meet.”

The final rotation marked the end of a special night at Haas Pavilion and left the Bears with a 196.925-193.525 victory over the Chippewas. Williams, Robinson, Seilnacht and George all shared the event title in floor with a high-score of 9.825. Williams capped off the evening by also capturing the all-around title the final home meet with a 39.550 overall score.

“I was really proud of their performance tonight,” Howell said in a press release. “It’s really difficult to do what we did last Sunday and be on such an emotional high of what we did that afternoon. They were able to bring their emotion, energy and passion tonight. Senior night is always bittersweet, and their legacy here will not go unnoticed.”

Kellan Grant covers women’s gymnastics. Contact him at [email protected]