Athletes across all sports strive to accomplish greatness. After all, those who compete at the collegiate and professional level aren’t giving their blood, sweat and tears simply for the thrill of it.
Both No. 11 Cal and No. 14 Oregon State have given valiant efforts to achieve that greatness — some gymnasts at the national level, and even one on the Olympic stage.
With the intention of following up on the successes of their previous meets, both the Bears and Beavers will give their all in Haas Pavilion on Jan. 29 in hopes of climbing the ranks. Cal’s previous two meets have exemplified that the program is pushing to achieve greatness. In 2021, the Bears posted one of their best seasons in school history, yet the team has already broken last year’s opening scores while continuing its steady upward trend of improvement.
“They’ve been practicing like crazy and are very consistent. Everybody should expect to see clean, consistent routines from everybody that’s competing,” said co-head coach Justin Howell.
Against Washington, there were several mini-victories that highlighted the blue and gold’s strength. Reigning uneven bars national champion and senior Maya Bordas finished first in the all-around and All-American sophomore Andi Li took bars with a 9.925, clinching third in the all-around competition.
But the program’s greatness doesn’t stop there — young cubs Mya Lauzon and Madelyn Williams added critical points to the Bears’ overall score. Both former junior Olympic champions, the two freshmen tied alongside Washington’s Kennedi Davis for third on beam with twinning 9.825s. Lauzon also finished fourth in the all-around, tying with Cal junior Nevaeh DeSouza.
Like the Bears, the Beavers are a powerful team that has certainly achieved well-earned greatness thus far. Most notably, the program boasts an athlete who has accomplished greatness that gymnasts worldwide can only dream of achieving — receiving gold on the Olympic stage.
Oregon State’s freshman Jade Carey is a name well-known beyond Gill Coliseum, and a star that will certainly prove intimidating for the Bears. Not only did the gymnast take gold at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, but she also earned the Pac-12 Gymnast and Freshman of the Week Award after a record-shattering performance on Sunday against UCLA and UC Davis.
Carey posted a 39.800, finishing with scores 9.90 or higher on every event — the highest all-around score of the Beavers’ program since 1993. Alongside the Olympic athlete who has continuously smashed records on all fronts, junior Jenna Domingo posted a career-high 9.925 during the Sunday meet and looks to improve upon her impressive score.
Cal and Oregon State are stellar programs with stellar athletes that have achieved wonderful victories thus far. These two Pac-12 contenders have been gazing at greatness, though, collegiate women’s gymnastics as a whole has also seen a promising dawn.
“The overall parity in NCAA gymnastics right now and even in conference is at an all-time high, so every time you go out and see a college gymnastics meet, you’re going to see great competition,” Howell said.
2022 seems to be a year of greatness for gymnastics programs nationally, and the Bears and Beavers will hope to continue that dream Saturday at Haas Pavilion.
“I encourage people to get out, come to Haas, or wherever you are locally, and go see a meet,” Howell said. “You’re not going to be disappointed.”