After a record-breaking season that was cut short by the pandemic, Cal women’s gymnastics faces pressure to rebuild greatness. With their 2021 recruiting class, the Bears seem to be on the road to do just that.
Adding to an already impressive roster, four recruits officially signed with Cal on Wednesday. The star-studded recruiting class, which College Gym News ranks third in the nation, consists of Madelyn Williams, Jordan Kane, Mya Lauzon and Ella Cesario.
A Northern California local, Williams hails from Vacaville, where she attends Buckingham Collegiate Charter Academy. While training with Dream Xtreme Gymnastics, she secured a first-place finish in the all-around competition at the 2019 Junior Olympic National Championships, qualifying her for the Junior Olympic national team. Williams also clinched a silver medal on vault and bronze on balance beam at the Junior Olympic Nationals.
Additionally, Williams will bring experience to the Bears from the elite level, a ranking reserved for athletes who have surpassed USA Gymnastics’ 10-level program. As an elite gymnast, Williams secured multiple podium finishes on the uneven bars, including a first-place finish at the 2018 American Classic and a second-place finish at the 2017 U.S. Classic.
Cal’s second recruit, Kane, will bring her talents to the Bears from Lincoln, Rhode Island. The two-time Junior Olympic national team qualifier competes with Aim High Academy and goes to St. Mary Academy – Bay View. In her pre-collegiate career, she dominated the Region 6 circuit and notably took home gold in the region’s all-around competition in 2019.
Despite her many accolades, Kane, who head coach Elisabeth Crandall-Howell predicts to be an immediate standout, places a high value on team dynamics.
“I’m very excited to experience the team aspect of college gymnastics and be part of the amazing Cal gymnastics team,” Kane said in a Cal women’s gymnastics social media post.
A resident of Kent, Washington, Lauzon attends Kentridge High School and trains with Metropolitan Gymnastics. She has secured multiple podium finishes at the Junior Olympic National Championships in the all-around, including third place in 2018 and second in 2019. Lauzon is also a two-time member of the Junior Olympic national team, and she completed a “clean sweep” at the 2018 Region 2 Championships, claiming the gold in vault, bars, beam, floor and the all-around. She also competed at the prestigious Nastia Liukin Cup, a meet reserved for the elite level.
Lauzon shines on vault and even earned a 10 at the 2020 Palm Springs Gymnastics Cup. As of 2019, she has added the coveted Yurchenko 1.5 to her skill set. Lauzon’s vaulting ability is expected to make a splash at Cal, where she will join Milan Clausi and Nevaeh DeSouza in a vault lineup that ranked No. 6 nationally last year. Despite the obstacles of the pandemic, Lauzon said she feels welcomed by her new team.
“All the communication occurred online. But despite that, the coaches welcomed me with open arms,” Lauzon said in the Cal women’s gymnastics social media post. “Some of the gymnasts reached out to me, which made me feel super comfortable and super at home.”
From Glen Ellyn, Illinois, Cesario rounds out Cal’s 2021 recruiting class. She attends Glenbard West High School and trains at Legacy Elite Gymnastics. Cesario found a steady groove and took three consecutive top-five all-around finishes at the Junior Olympic Nationals. Cesario also shined on the individual event stage, where she earned 11 top-10 finishes. Regional accolades also coincided with her successes, as she earned a spot on the Region 5 All Star team in 2017, 2018 and 2019.
As a group, Cal’s 2021 recruiting class brings a high pedigree of experience: Three of the four were members of the Junior Olympic national team, and the class has tallied six top-five all-around finishes and 11 top-three event finishes at the Junior Olympic Nationals. Despite their talents, members of the recruiting class seem to have chosen Cal not only for its competitive program but also for the sense of community provided by the team.
Although the logistics of the gymnastics season are still up in the air, Cal’s class of 2021 is a certainty that fans can be excited for.
Aiko Sudijono covers women’s gymnastics. Contact her at [email protected].