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Golden Medals: More Golden Bears in MLS, Missy Franklin, and more seasons open this weekend

Congrats to Cal Men's Soccer alum Connor Hallisey and Stefano Bonomo for being selected in the first two rounds of the 2015 MLS Superdraft. Read a nice NCAA feature on Missy Franklin as swim season is about to start. We also take a look at several Winter and Spring Cal Olympic sports that begin play this weekend.

Cal Men's Soccer alum Connor Hallisey celebrated his selection as the 10th overall pick by taking a selfie with the MLS commissioner.
Cal Men's Soccer alum Connor Hallisey celebrated his selection as the 10th overall pick by taking a selfie with the MLS commissioner.
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Cal Men's Soccer

Cal Men's Soccer's 2014 season MVP, midfielder Connor Hallisey became the 4th Golden Bears to be selected in the MLS Superdraft first round in the last two years when Sporting KC selected him with the 10th overall pick on Thursday. He joins Steve Birnbaum (2nd overall to DC United), Chrisitan Dean (3rd overall to Vancouver White Caps), and Ryan Neil (18th overall to Real Salt Lake) who were all selected in the 2014 Superdraft.

On the podium after taking a selfie with the MLS commissioner, Connor Hallisey upped the statement from Note Dame alum Nick Besler (5th overall pick to Portland Timbers) who called Notre Dame "the best university in the US" by saying (what we Cal alum and fans have ALWAYS knew) that "University of California, Berkeley" is "the best university in the world".

Joining Hallisey to being selected by a MLS team is Cal striker Stefano Bonomo, who was selected in the 2nd round 39th overall by the New York Red Bulls. Alec Sundley was selected in the 2nd round, 31st overall, by New England Revolution in the 2014 Superdraft.

Congratulations to both Connor Hallisey and Stefano Bonomo for making it to the next level. Best of luck to them in representing the Golden Bears in the MLS, where many Cal fans may be surprised to know is full of Bears alumni.

With these 2 picks, the Bears added to their lead over Stanford in having alum drafted into MLS.

The total from before today was:

Despite winning the Pac-12 conference in 2014, Stanford Cardinal did not have anyone selected in the first two rounds of the 2015 MLS Superdraft.

Another news related to Cal Men's Soccer alum involved Sporting KC again. Sporting KC made a trade with the Houston Dynamos to acquire Golden Bears alum in Servando Carrasco, who is perhaps more famously known as the guy who just married Alex Morgan earlier this year.

Alex Morgan, of course, has thrown out the ceremonial first pitch at a Kansas City Royals game before.

This concludes your obligatory excuse to post random Alex Morgan stuff.

Cal Women's Gymnastics

Coming off a big win at the Nor Cal Classic hosted by UC Davis in week one, that included triumph over Stanford, the Bears keep up that momentum by beating Sacramento State last weekend.

Thanks to their now 5-0 record, the Golden Bears have ascended to be ranked in the top 10.

Bears take on San Jose State and UW-La Crosse tonight at 7 pm PT:

For the Cal fans who are waiting to catch the Bears back at Haas. It's just one more week until the home opener for the Bears.

Forward Roll On You Bears!

Cal Men's Gymnastics

The Men's Gymnastics squad has also started their season. They hosted Stanford in the Big Meet aka the Big Flip Off last Saturday.

Although some Bears like junior Kevin Wolting posted career best scores, the No.8 men still end up a little bit short against No.4 'Furd.

Bears get the chance to avenge for this loss this weekend, as they traveled down to The Farm for the Stanford Open. The rematch is on Saturday night at 7pm PT.

Cal Women's Swimming

After returning to campus briefly in the new year, the Bears have gone on their annual training trip to Hawaii.

With the swimming season about to ramp up for the winter, NCAA Champion magazine (I've never heard of this publication before but the name implies it is published by the NCAA) had a very nice feature on Cal's (and America's or even the world's) own swimming darling, Missy Franklin:

Watch what Missy Franklin has to say about her college experience.

Here she talks about how much she wants to win the Team NCAA Championship this year (we want that too, Missy!).

In the article above which is definitely worth a read and in this 2nd video above, Missy mentioned how she was not recognized on her official campus visit when she sat in on a class. Good thing TwistNHook did not stalk her that day or else she might have chose to go somewhere else.

With the plan to turn pro after this season to focus on the 2016 Olympics, this winter/spring is your last chance to catch Missy Franklin competing for the Bears (don't worry, she will still attend school and train with the team for the near future). The Pac-12 dual meet season is about to start for the Bears.

Thanks to the Missy Franklin effect, 3 of the 4 dual meets covered by the Pac-12 Networks involves Cal. The Pac-12 swimming TV opener will feature both the Cal women and the men at Arizona. This Pac-12 season opener meet will take place on January 24th at 11 AM PT.

Cal Men's Swimming

Like the Cal women, the men also went on their annual training trip in the new year. Instead of the warmth of Hawaii, the men's squad (and the pros that train with them like Natalie Coughlin) goes to the thin air of Colorado Springs.

Consequently, here is that annual photo that makes (just about) every man starts to feel bad about already abandoning or curtailing their new year's resolution to be more fit.

The men's Pac-12 season opens at the same meet as the women at Arizona on January 24th at 11 AM PT on the Pac-12 Networks. However, they do host the Cal Invitational on Saturday which allows the local swimming teams to compete at Spiekers (the Cal team will NOT compete but will be on hand).

Cal Women's Water Polo

The Cal Women's Water Polo team start their 2015 season at the Lou Tully Invitational in San Jose. They will take on UC Davis and Fresno Pacific (that's a school?).

Saturday, Jan. 17
San Jose State Aquatics Center | San Jose, Calif.

Lou Tully Invitational
Cal vs. UC Davis, Noon
Cal vs. Fresno Pacific, 5:20 p.m.

The Golden Bears will be lead by a trio of sophomores who all earned All-American honors last year. Dora Antal was a 1st team All-American in her freshman year. ran a Getting to Know feature on Antal this week:

CB: Describe your experience playing in the Olympics?

DA: It was like a dream. When I was 10, I was watching the men’s water polo team playing at the Olympic Games. The Hungarian men’s team won the gold medal in Athens in 2004 and I told my dad, once I will win the Olympics, too. Even if we did not win it in London, it was a great and memorable experience and that experience taught me that I have to work harder if I want to reach my dreams. I will never forget it; it was amazing to play in front of so many people. But now our team is looking for the next Olympic Games, and we will do everything to win in Rio.

CB: What have been the biggest adjustments about living in the United States?

DA: First of all, it was hard to live far from my family and from my friends. Actually this is still very hard and sometimes I wish they could be here. It is just hard not having those people around me who I love. I had to grow up suddenly in a totally different environment where no one can speak Hungarian. I had to manage my life alone even if I got a lot of help from my teammates and my coaches here at Berkeley. I really love this environment and it is great to play and study at a high level. During my high school years I always wanted to come to the U.S. I got some athletic scholarship offers and I am glad I chose Berkeley.

And for Leland, she answers a question about her favorite class:

CB: What has been your favorite class so far at Cal?

DA: It is really hard to choose but I would say I really enjoyed my Psychology and Biology classes since I would like to be a psychologist. I really like to study everything that interests me.

CB: What do you like to do in your free time?

DA: Sleeping, of course. Mostly when I have time I talk with my family and friends on Skype.

CB: What's the best thing about playing Cal water polo?

DA: I like that everyone on the team is positive and if I have a bad day my teammates make it better. Now we have a smaller team so we got closer to each other. It is great to be a part of an amazing team.

Antal scored 75 goals as a freshman, which is the 4th best season tally in Cal history.

The other two super sophomores for the Bears are Roser Tarrago and Anna Illes, who scored 49 and 48 goals last season. Bears will also rely on another sophomore in starting goalkeeper Madeline Trabucco. She is already 7th on the all time saves list after just one season of play.

The young but already experience Cal squad, who only lost one senior from last year's team, are poised to make a run at the NCAA in 2015, should all the players made the expected improvements in their 2nd year. They are picked 4th in the preseason MPSF poll, for whatever that's worth.

Senior Victoria Williams is writing a blog on this year, called Vic's View.

Training camp is very liberating in some ways; we don’t need to worry about school, social lives, work, or our appearances. This being my fourth and final Hell Month, I have come up with a foolproof system on how to survive. The basic necessities include:

•One mint condition Cal Water Polo snow jacket - we refer to them as our "puff-puffs."
•At least two pairs of Lululemon pants - the more pairs the better because ain’t nobody got time for laundry.
•One large Gatorade every practice - Maybe bring a backup as well; teammates always seem to be stealing sips.
•One heater/heating blanket - it’s a cold winter in Berkeley and everyone wants to come home to a warm apartment after being in the cold pool all day.
•A great lunch everyday – the whole team goes to locally owned Cheese N’ Stuff, where we visit our favorite Cal fan, Sam Juha.
•One or two shows with multiple seasons that you can endlessly binge watch between practices. This year the team is tuning into "The Bachelor" every week because our very own Stephanie Mutafyan has a doppelgänger as a contestant. Unfortunately, she didn’t receive a rose this week and will no longer be giving us something to talk about in the locker room.


Cal Rugby

The Rugby Union (15s) season is also upon us. The Bears will open play at the Dennis Storer Classic, named after the former UCLA coach and first head coach of the US National Team, down in LA (hosted by UCLA) seeking their 10th straight tournament win.

Besides taking on the 7th ranked UCLA squad for the 5th and final game of the tourney, the 2nd ranked Bears will also face UC schools in UC Davis, UC Santa Barbara, UC Santa Cruz, and UC Riverside.

With 50+ players all making this trip, expect plenty of youngsters to have a chance to make their claim to make the Cal first team.

Cal Tennis

Hosting play this weekend in Berkeley are the Cal Tennis teams.

The 15th ranked Cal Men played in the San Diego Invitational last weekend and will host UC Davis on Monday morning at 9:30 AM (if you are looking for something to do on MLK Jr Day weekend).

The 7th ranked Cal Women played in Hawaii last weekend (quite successfully in fact) and will host the Cal Invitational this weekend. The format for this weekend (today until Sunday) involves singles and doubles draw with players from Cal Poly, St. Mary, and Fresno State.

Last day in Wailea, quick practice then back to Berkeley!

A photo posted by Cal Women's Tennis (@calwomenstennis) on