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Cal spring round up: Recapping all spring sports seasons

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JUNE 20, 2019

Men’s tennis (16-13, 4-4 in Pac-12)

The Cal men’s tennis team lost to Texas to end its team season for the second straight year, capping off a season littered with inconsistency and the lack of a sense of direction. In doubles, the duo of sophomore Jacob Brumm and freshman Yuta Kikuchi turned some heads with an impressive upset of then-No. 1 Mississippi State during the regular season. Their triumph would prove to be bittersweet, however, as the No. 3-seeded seniors Nuno Borges and Strahinja Rakic from Mississippi State ended Cal’s season in the round of 16 at the NCAA Doubles Championship.


Women’s tennis (13-9, 6-4 in Pac-12)

A 12-8 finish in this year’s Pac-12 Championships saw the Cal women’s tennis team qualify for the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2018. Just like the men, this team fell to 6th-ranked Pepperdine to end its season after beating the Waves with ease in the regular season. Sophomore Julia Rosenqvist fell to Kansas’ then-No. 13-ranked senior Anastasia Rychagova in the round of 32 at the NCAA Singles Championship. Rosenqvist and sophomore Hana Mraz lost to the No. 7-ranked pair from North Carolina State, freshman Anna Rogers and junior Alana Smith, in the NCAA Doubles Championship to end the Bears’ season.


Men’s golf

Making its first appearance at the NCAA Championships since 2016, the Cal men’s golf team exceeded expectations in more ways than one. Although a 10th-place finish would be considered a failure in the eyes of many, it was the highest-place finish in the NCAA Championships for this team since 2013. The four-time All-American and Jack Nicklaus Award semifinalist Collin Morikawa capped off an incredible senior season with a 16th-place finish at the U.S. Open, his highest in a major tournament.


Women’s golf

A youthful Cal women’s golf team finished ninth and 12th in the Pac-12 and NCAA tournaments respectively, capping off an underwhelming yet promising season for the Bears. Cal tallied two top-five finishes and won the inaugural Big Match over Stanford, in addition to making its 20th straight NCAA Regionals appearance. The team earned an admirable six top-five finishes and 13 top-10 finishes in 2019.


Rugby (18-2)

Despite having arguably the most dominant season of any Cal sports team, the rugby team fell short of its ultimate goal of winning a national title, losing to Life for the second year in a row. Monumental 120-0 and 109-0 victories over inferior opponents throughout the regular season show just how dominant the Bears can be when they are playing at their best. The team’s only other loss in 2019 came at the hands of British Columbia on March 3.


Baseball (32-20, 17-11 in Pac-12)

In a nutshell, Cal baseball defied expectations. This team was expected to finish eighth in the Pac-12, but behind numerous players stepping up, the Bears finished 32-20 and cracked regionals for the first time since 2015. Reigning Golden Spikes Award winner Andrew Vaughn continued to instill fear into opposing pitchers, while players such as juniors Korey Lee, Cameron Eden and Jared Horn, among others, developed into some of the conference’s best players. The season ended in disappointing fashion as Cal failed to win a single game at regionals, but all in all, this season was nothing short of excellent.


Softball (28-27, 5-18 in Pac-12)

The Cal softball team, despite showing clear signs of dominance against quality opposition, was mediocre when it mattered most, finishing 5-18 in one of the country’s most feared conferences. Winning 18 of 25 games to start the season, this team was on the brink of a record-breaking season. Despite the successes of Lindsay Rood’s senior campaign that bolstered the offense, the Bears’ defense lacked the uniformity necessary to take on the nationally ranked opponents in their conference. Head coach Diane Ninemire failed to reach the postseason for a fifth straight season.


Women’s water polo (17-9, 3-3 in Pac-12)

A bittersweet end to another stellar season from the No. 4-ranked Cal women’s water polo team saw it lose in the semifinals of the NCAA tournament for the third straight season, this time to No. 1 USC in overtime, 10-8. A stout performance from senior goalie Madison Tagg quelled arguably the country’s most potent offense for the majority of the match, until three overtime goals from the Trojans sunk the Bears’ ship. Cal will lose six impactful seniors from this year’s team, but that won’t diminish expectations for this talented squad.


Track and field

This season was packed with unusual suspects rising to the occasion for the Cal track and field team. Hammer thrower Camryn Rogers won the national title at the NCAA Championships with a personal-best throw of 71.50 meters. Freshman Hakim McMorris turned multiple heads throughout the season, ending his stellar season at the Pac-12 Multi-Event Championships with a second-place finish in the decathlon behind Oregon freshman Max Vollmer. The team season ended on a high note with news of former track and field coach Robyne Johnson being named the new director of track and field/cross country for Cal Athletics.


Men’s rowing

A second-place finish at the Pac-12 Championships and a third-place finish at the IRA National Championship Regatta would be perceived as nothing short of a failure for head coach Scott Frandsen and his squad. The Bears are well-known for their historical success at the top of the leaderboard, but they have recently become more familiar at playing second fiddle to rivals Washington and Yale. At the IRA regatta, Washington won the Ten Eyck points total as Yale was crowned overall national champion.


Women’s rowing

The Cal women’s varsity eight boat capped off a record-breaking season, despite its underwhelming sixth-place finish at the NCAA National Championship earlier this month. Led by Pac-12 Women’s Rowing Athlete of the Year Dana Moffat, the team failed to finish in the top two for the first time in the past six seasons. The sour conclusion was the lowest-place finish for the Bears since 2007, but it will eventually serve as a point of growth for this young women’s rowing team.

Spencer Golanka is the sports editor. Contact him at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter at @sgolanka.

JUNE 20, 2019

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On her fourth throw, Rogers threw for 71.50 meters, a mark that was not only her personal best but also the best throw in the NCAA this season.
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