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To Tempe! Bears tear through Arizona, to face ASU

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THEO WYSS-FLAMM | SENIOR STAFF

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FEBRUARY 23, 2022

Being a great athlete isn’t just about throwing a great pass or executing a stunning back layout –– it’s about striving to be “one day better,” reaching your full potential and putting in 110%.

During the Presidents’ Day meet against Arizona, Cal women’s gymnastics was on the hunt as it put on stellar performances and clawed the Wildcats 197.575-196.025. The Bears achieved seven scores of 9.9 or higher, and while these numbers are impressive, the program aims to make adjustments and keep improving. After all, there is no “one day better” without more days of hard work and fine-tuning.

“Taking those little details and deductions and fine-tuning will allow us to celebrate once again,” said senior Maya Bordas, who posted two 9.95s against the Wildcats. “Being in my senior year, it’s great to still be able to match what I did in my freshman year, and it’s only up from here.”

Bordas achieved several victories during the Haas Pavilion meet: three individual wins, twinning 9.95s and an all-around 39.575 that matches her career-best. Even so, she intends to keep advancing from here.

But Bordas wasn’t the only Bear to realize these successes –– all-arounders senior Grace Quinn and junior Nevaeh DeSouza both walked away from the Monday meet with event wins on floor and vault, respectively. DeSouza also pulled away from the meet second all-around.

The floor exercise was an event boasting a threeway victory between Quinn, Wildcats junior all-arounder Malia Hargrove and sophomore Caroline Herry. With 9.925s, the athletes didn’t come to play around, especially not Hargrove. She achieved two scores of 9.9 or higher, and finished as the top Cat for Arizona with her third-place all-around title.

However, the Wildcats only marked the first of the Arizona teams Cal will square off against. Next week, the program will travel to Tempe where it will compete against ASU.

While the Bears stand above their Sun Devil opponent in NCAA rankings, ASU achieved an impressive 197.8 final score at its last meet against UCLA. Cal has yet to reach a final score that high and tends to perform more cleanly at home meets than on the road. Nevertheless, it’s excited for what the Feb. 27 away meet will bring.

“Our task doesn’t change from the very first meet to the last one. Every meet we have the exact same goal and that doesn’t change where we’re at.” said all-around senior Milan Clausi. “It’s a chance to show more people what we do every day and what we train so hard for.”

Clausi, who is in her last year at Cal, has mixed emotions as the team approaches the postseason. Like many senior gymnasts across the nation, this will be the last time she will have the opportunity to compete on the collegiate stage –– an environment brimming with support, hard work and mounds of vibrant energy (not to mention, lots of chalk too).

Every athlete, freshman to senior, grinds incredibly hard to improve and put on performances with their best foot forward. But these last meets carry a different kind of weight for those who are soon to leave their programs.

“It’s so, so good to be back. It’s kind of a weird feeling when you only have so many of these left,” said Clausi. “It was really bittersweet to be honest, it’s my second-to-last meet in (Haas Pavilion) so I’m really just trying to make every experience special and that’s exactly what it was.”

As the program nears the end of the season, each and every athlete has one goal in mind: to work hard, to improve and to do one day better.

Mia Wachtel covers women’s gymnastics. Contact her at [email protected].
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FEBRUARY 23, 2022


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