The Bears' hope to dethrone Stanfurd for the Pac-12 title in women's swimming and diving took a serious hit late on Thursday. After another strong day of swimming (and a little bit diving), the Bears were going to be a good position heading to the final 3 days of the 2014 Pac-12 Championships, taking place in Federal Way, Washington.
While Stanfurd was going to have the lead at the end of Thursday regardless of the relay result, thanks to 'Furd's strong corp of divers, the Bears briefly thought that they had won the final event of the day - 200 Free relay. Unfortunately, the power that be deemed that one of the Bear had left the block too early and DQ'ed the Cal relay team.
From the CalBears.com article,
The Bears touched the wall first in the relay, edging Arizona by .05 seconds. However, officials ruled Cal left the blocks to early on one of the exchanges, which led to the disqualification.
"I don't think you want to make mistakes at this time of the season that are so costly," head coach Teri McKeever said. "It's something that we just can't afford to do. The margin for error isn't that great. You can't afford to give points back. We've got to be better tomorrow."
With 0 points instead of 64 points, the Bears found themselves in 3rd place in the team competition after 2 days (a third of the way competition-wise with 7 events done in a 21 events meet). This is obviously a tough learning experience for the team, but it is better to commit that mistake here instead at the NCAA National Championship in 3 weeks.
Here is the current standings:
Women - Team Rankings - Through Event 7
1. Stanford University 507
2. University of Southern Calif 448
3. University of California, Berk 400.5
4. University of CA - Los Angeles 328.5
5. Arizona, University of 320.5
6. Utah, University of 264
7. Oregon State University 158
8. Washington State University 155
9. Arizona State University 150.5
Pac-12 Networks will have the tape delayed TV coverage of this meet on Monday, March 3rd, at 9 PM PT.
For up-to-date results of this meet, you can find those here.
On to the more positive sides of things, Missy Franklin sets a Pac-12 record in the 500 Free.
The Cal quartet of Caroline Piehl, Rachael Acker, Missy Franklin, and Elizabeth Pelton (from left to right in the photo below) also set a Pac-12 record while winning the Pac-12 title for 800 Free relay on Wednesday.
Additionally, the Bears had a strong showing in the 200 Medley relay where Bootsma (back), Kong (breast), Tran (fly), and Frankllin (free) finished 2nd. Melanie Klaren and Catherine Breed finished 6th and 9th in 500 Free, respectively. 4 Bears were in the 200 IM final with freshman Celina Li finishing 2nd, followed by Pelton (3rd), Naze (7th with a NCAA qualifying time), and Piehl (8th). In 50 Free, Egyptian Calympian freshman Farida Osman finished 4th. Anne Kastler (12th) and Kahley Rowell (14th) led 4 diving Bears to score points on the 1-meter board.
While winning the Pac-12 Championships is nice, the most important thing this week is to post qualifying time for the NCAA's, which would take place in Minneapolis this year. That would be a homecoming for London 2012 Calympian sophomore Rachel Bootsma.
More Calympian swimmer coverage as the Daily Cal has a great article on Hong Kong Calympian senior Stephanie Au.
The solidarity Au formed with her teammates helped propel her career at Cal to a new level. Since coming to UC Berkeley, Au has placed in the top 10 for three straight years in the Pac-12 Championships. In 2011, she finished ninth in the 200-back at the NCAA championships. She earned honorable mention All-American status for her 13th-place finish at the 2012 NCAA tournament in the 100-yard back. Au placed 12th in the same event for the following year at the NCAAs.
"(Being at Cal) has changed me for the better," Au says. "Looking at things differently, I do think a lot of the things I learned on the Cal swimming team can be applied to my normal lifestyle. Not everyone has to be your enemy. Even if you are competing and are fighting for the same thing, there's room for both of you to be pushing each other."
Cal Baseball (5-2, 3-0 last week)
Thanks to a strong 3-0 showing at the Tiger Classic, hosted by Auburn, the Bears are one of the teams that "received votes" in the latest NCBWA poll. Behind yet another strong start by freshman Daulton Jefferies and a two-run double by Devon Rodriguez, Bears beat East Tennessee State 3-0. Against the host, Auburn, the Bears won 5-0 with 5 pitchers combining for a 7-hit shutout. On the final day, despite allowing the opponent Arkansas Pine Bluff to break the shutout streak, Bears won 8-3 with Vince Bruno hitting a homer and driving in a career high 4.
The Bears travel down to San Diego this weekend to play in the University of San Diego tournament against Baylor, UNC Wilmington, and of course host San Diego.
Cal Softball (7-6, 2-2 last week against all ranked team at the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic)
Cal Baseball is not the only team to beat Texas this season. Cal Softball can now also boast a win over No.25 Longhorns after beating them 5-2 to cap the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic where the Bears also beat No.24 Notre Dame 5-3. Bears did suffer losses to 12/16 Texas A&M 10-6 and to No.15 Baylor 13-0 (ouch!).
For the season, Danielle Henderson is leading the team offensively with 5 homers and 0.415 batting average (as well as 12 RBI if you like counting stats). Nisa Ontiveros is the only Cal pitcher with a respectable ERA (3.02) and a 5-2 winning record. Freshman Katie Finch has a 2-1 record but a 4.40 ERA.
This weekend, the Bears play down at Riverside in the Mizuno Invitational against Sacred Heart, Loyola Chicago, and UC Riverside.
Cal Women's Water Polo (13-3, 2-2 last week at the very tough UC Irvine Tournament)
In a performance similar to the Cal Men's Water Polo, No.4 Cal Women beat who they were supposed to beat (UC Santa Barbara and UC Irvine) before falling to the higher ranked USC and Stanfurd. Unlike the men, the margin for the USC and Stanfurd losses were more than just one goal.
Back on February 10th, Cal head coach Rich Corso was on the Inside the Locker Room radio show.
Cal Non-revenue Sports on TV
Set your TIVO for some Cal actions early next week on the Pac-12 Networks.