When facing stressful or frightening situations, the human body automatically triggers a fight-or-flight response. Impressively, the No. 9 Cal men’s gymnastics team was able to do both, flying and fighting its way through the Pac-12 Invite, claiming second place with a team total of 386.950.
No. 1 Stanford took first place with its season-high — and NCAA season-high — team score of 412.15. No. 13 University of Washington came in third with 363.150 while No. 14 Arizona State 354.950.
Despite scoring lower than their season-high score by almost 6 points, the Bears saw some new personal records and season-best scores. Freshman Landon Wu saw a personal best of 13.550 for his performance on parallel bars.
Freshman Tyler Shimizu finished his floor routine with a personal-best of 13.700, and sophomore Collin Cunane made his floor debut for the season with a personal record of 13.450. Sophomore Aidan Giusti made his season debut on floor, parallel bars and vault, finishing with respective scores of 13.200 — his personal best — 13.300 and 13.500.
“I felt like I did pretty good; it could have always gone better, but I’m pretty satisfied with my performance,” Wu said. “After each competition, I learn from my mistakes and improve from there.”
The event of the night that the blue and gold struggled with was the pommel horse. Most schools saw at least one fall in the event, and the Bears finished with 62.000 –– 2.150 points lower than what they scored at the Stanford Open.
Despite struggling with some of the other events, the Bears showed an exceptional performance on the parallel bars and scored a season high of 66.650. Senior and team captain Yu-Chen Lee led the blue and gold with 13.900 and tied for third place overall.
Stanford senior Curran Phillips posted a nationwide record of 15.200 on vault while graduate student Blake Sun was first in the meet for pommel horse with 13.800. Phillips and Sun also tied for first on parallel bars with 15.300.
Coming up for the blue and gold, the Bears will look to face the Cardinal for the third time in a row at The Big Flip Open, in which the two teams will go head to head. However, Cal fans won’t be hoping for a victory so much as a solid performance and an improvement on the team’s most recent score: Perhaps a return to the same arena where they neared a score above 400.000 will ease the challenge of competing on new equipment.
“This being the third time, I think we can expect how they’re going to perform and hopefully just do better for ourselves,” Wu said.
While an intimidating rival to face, as Wu noted, the atmosphere that is commonplace during a rival faceoff will come with some added energy for both teams’ performances. Stanford is predicted to seize yet another victory, but perhaps the tension-filled environment will propel Cal to season best.
“In our past meets our first few events, we started off kind of shaky,” Wu said. “This next competition, our goal is to start off very strong and to end the meet very strong as well.”
The Bears proved that their athletes do possess the talent and drive to continue to improve this season as individuals. Now, the team must master consistency across all events.
In order to stick it to Stanford, Cal needs to stick all of its dismounts Sunday.