Opening up a savings account often feels like a competition with yourself — you work hard and make sacrifices to determine how much money you have left to deposit at the end of each month.
Putting a lot of money in the bank at once feels good. The Cal women’s gymnastics team hopes to capture this feeling Mar. 1 as it takes on Arizona in an attempt to make another huge deposit into its trust fund.
This time the “trust” fund isn’t an inheritance from a deceased family member held within a bank account. Rather, it is an accumulation of trust in their own abilities, held within themselves.
“We talk about making deposits in the confidence bank every single week,” said co-head coach Justin Howell.
Cal had a huge cha-ching moment this week when the National Qualifying Score release placed it at No. 8 nationally, the second-highest ranking the Bears have held in decades. They rank at No. 7 on vault, No. 8 on beam and bars and No.16 on floor.
Floor has consistently been Cal’s most problematic event. At the Bears’ most recent meet, Cal scored only 49.15 on floor, partially due to the blue and gold’s No. 1 floor athlete Kyana George dropping out of the lineup after sustaining an injury during the meet. While George’s injury is not believed to be serious, it is unclear if she will be competing this weekend.
On the other side of the mat, Arizona is ranked 28th nationally on floor. When Arizona went head-to-head with Stanford on Feb. 23, it scored a 49.10 total on floor — a comparable score to the Bear’s 49.15 on floor from the same weekend.
In terms of gymnasts to watch, Arizona fans will have their eyes on senior Maddi Leydin, who is particularly strong on vault. Cal fans, in contrast, will look forward to strong performances by freshman Nevaeh DeSouza and sophomore Maya Bordas, who won the Bear’s previous meet.
The Bear’s lowest-scoring event against Oregon State outperformed the Wildcats’ recent highest-scoring event, which bodes well for the blue and gold.
But what Cal will continue to focus on most is its landings.
“If they land with good posture they’re going to land well,” Howell said.
Successful landings often occur when confidence is manifested by the entire lineup.
“The fun thing about landings is they get on a roll sometimes and they feed off of each other,” Howell said.
In a sport like gymnastics, there is no such thing as a Hail Mary pass or a full-court shot in a wild effort to beat the buzzer. Gymnastics is a competition against yourself — each weekend, gymnasts are trying to be better than they were the last. It is a sport of incremental improvements, achieved with a similar diligence required to properly manage a savings account.
Sticking a landing in practice drops just a few coins into the jar. Sticking a landing at a meet in front of a crowd and a pair of judges — that’s the big bucks.
“If you’re having a rough day, it’s not a big deal. Think about all those deposits that you’ve made in the confidence bank and draw from those,” Howell said, reciting advice he gives to the Cal gymnasts.
Sunday’s meet will be held at Haas Pavilion at 2 p.m. It should give the Cal women’s gymnastics team a chance to put another huge deposit in the bank, stashing away confidence for competitions that will come later in the season.
Sarah Siegel covers women’s gymnastics. Contact her at