Utah may have won the Pac-12, but Cal Women's Gymnastics made a huge splash by finishing 3rd in the conference with a team score of 196.550 that was better than perennial powerhouses in UCLA and Oregon State. A beam rotation that was 2nd best in program history set the stage. The Golden Bears followed with a great floor rotation that was good enough for the Bears to not only win the night session but also get 3rd in the conference. Cal's previous best was only 5th. So this is a huge step for the program as it rebuilds from the brink of elimination.
THE BEARS FINISH THIRD! (still unofficial until the scores are signed!)— Cal W Gymnastics (@calwgym) March 23, 2014
A 196.550 for the Bears ahead of UCLA and Oregon State!— Cal W Gymnastics (@calwgym) March 23, 2014
That was a lot of fun watching the Bears going on a roll toward the end there. I thought the Pac-12 Networks commentators may have jinxed us by talking about how big it will be for Cal to finish 3rd (comparing it to the Mercer Bears upsetting Duke), but the Bears got it done.
More on this from Bear Blog on CalBears.com:
The Pac-12 Scholar-Athlete senior Alicia Asturias talks about her (and the team's) reaction to that last floor routine when Crystal Paz needed a good score (match her season high of 9.825) to ensure that Cal would finish a program best 3rd at the Pac-12 Championships.
“To go from having the program dropped my freshman year to having a finish like that – it honestly does feel like we won the national championship,” Asturias said. “I was blubbering like a baby. When Crystal finished that floor routine, I was right there. I think every single one of us was right there on that floor with her. It was just unreal.”
ROLL ON YOU BEARS!
TV: Pac-12 Networks
Live Stats: CalBears.com
|Pac-12 Championships - Session II (6:30 p.m. PT | Seeds 5, 6, 7 & 8)|
The Golden Bears are hosting the Pac-12 Women's Gymnastics Championships today at Haas Pavilion. The top 4 seeds (Utah, UCLA, Stanfurd, and Oregon State) are in the first session at 1 PM PT.
The Bears are in the second 4 (there are only 8 teams in the Pac-12 for Gymnastics).
More from the Game Note:
• Cal finished seventh at last year’s Pac-12 Championships with a score of 195.075. The Bears have never finished higher than fifth since the Pac-12 Championships began in 1987.
• As the fifth-seeded team, Cal earned the right to compete in Olympic Order and will begin Session II on vault, then follow on bars, beam and floor.
• The last Golden Bear to win the title on an event at the Pac-12 Championships was My-Lan Dodd, who won beam with a score of 9.95 in 2004. Only three other Cal gymnasts have been a Pac-12 champion - Mindy Ornellas (1997, floor), Lisa Washington (1995, vault) and Cindy Tom (1992, bars).
SHE’S GOT THE KNOW-HOWE
This week, freshman Jessica Howe claimed her second Pac-12 Freshman of the Week honor after posting a career-high 39.350 all-around score and claiming her fourth beam title of the season. The two awards tie Charlie Owens’ two titles this season as the pair of Bears have combined for four of the possible 11 Freshman of the Week honors in 2014. Prior to this season, a Cal freshman had never claimed the Freshman of the Week award since the honor was introduced in 2013.
Cal awaits its postseason fate, which will be announced live on the NCAA Women’s Gymnastics Championships Selection Show at noon P.T. on NCAA.com. Mathematically, Cal has earned a berth to NCAA Regionals with its Regional Qualifying Score, and a strong performance at the Pac-12 Championships could also propel the Bears to a spot as one of the 18 seeded teams. Minnesota, Georgia, Arkansas, LSU, Penn State and Washington will host.
So the young Bears squad has a good shot at making the postseason again. It would be a huge lift if the Bears can crack the top tier in the Pac, even if those gymnasts are competing in a different session. A top 4 finish would be a program best.
Also, Cal's freshman Jessica Howe was interviewed by the Pac-12 Networks after winning the Freshman of the Week honor. She also talked about Cal hosting the Pac-12 Championships.