Cal men’s gymnastics wraps up season, sends 7 individuals to NCAA finals

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The Bears advanced an impressive seven individuals on to the NCAA finals despite the team coming in last among six in its qualifying session the day before. This is more than double the number of athletes that went on to represent Cal in last year’s NCAA Championship.

Cal men’s gymnastics entered the competition April 20 ranked last out of all twelve teams competing. The Bears finished last in their pool of six with a score of 395.911, the only team below 400, while the first three teams, No. 1 Oklahoma, No. 4 Illinois and No. 8 Penn State, all advanced to the finals. In the first session, Navy and Air Force finished with scores even lower than that of Cal’s.

This marked the end of a relatively successful season for the team, but it would rally together for one more day in support of those individuals who still had a chance for success just on the horizon. Most notably, senior Yordan Aleksandrov qualified for both high bar and parallel bars.

Junior Aaron Mah also qualified for high bar and sophomore Jonathan Wang for parallel bars. Sophomore Kyte Crigger made the cut with his floor exercise, redshirt junior Mitchell Awisus found success on the pommel horse, and freshman Shane Sadighi and junior Harrison Plate complemented each other on still rings.

In the end, Aleksandrov and Crigger would shine the brightest blue and gold. They both gained All-American recognition by finishing top-five in their events. In his final collegiate competition, Aleksandrov tied for fourth with his 13.966 score on the high bar. Despite not even competing in last years NCAA tournament, Crigger tied for fifth with a floor score of 14.200, his second-best score of the season.

All five of the other Bears who competed Saturday came in 24th or lower in their respective events. The strong performances of the underclassmen this year look promising for the future of men’s gymnastics at Cal. Such a successful first season for head coach J.T. Okada promises a strong leader for future teams.

It’s going to take quite a bit of improvement, however, if Cal hopes to ever overcome the now four-time reigning champion, Oklahoma.

The Sooners topped every team on the scoreboard, and junior Yul Moldauer represented his team well with first place-worthy performances on floor, vault, parallel bars and all-around. Next year, in his senior season, Moldauer will be an especially well-honed weapon for Oklahoma, making a further extension of its championship streak highly likely.

Alison White is the assistant sports editor. Contact her at [email protected].