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Golden Medals: Total dominance have Cal Women's Swimming halfway to another Pac-12 Title, Two Top 10 wins for Softball

Cal Bears continues to dominate in the pool. Cal Men's Swimming easily dispatched Stanford in the Big Meet. Cal women are breaking records at the Pac-12 Championship. We also check in on the great weekend for both Cal Softball and Baseball.

Bears are looking to repeat as Pac-12 Champions and take the conference title for the 3rd time in 4 years.
Bears are looking to repeat as Pac-12 Champions and take the conference title for the 3rd time in 4 years.
Cal Women's Swimming Facebook

It's been a busy week of non-revenue sports action. The busy weekend continues with Women's Swimming, Women's Gymnastics, and Rugby all on the Pac-12 Networks.

Cal Women's Swimming in Pac-12 Championship

Bears are going for a repeat as Pac-12 Champions, as well as a 3rd conference title in 4 years, this week in Washington state.

Day 1:

The meet started up in the most ideal way for the Bears, with two relays on Wednesday. The Bears won both (over Stanford who came in 2nd in both). In the 200 medley relay, the Cal quartet of Rachel Bootsma (back), Maria Garcia (breast), Noemie Thomas (fly), and Farida Osman (free) set the best time in NCAA this year.

(Photo from Cal Women's Swimming Facebook page)

Bears were actually slightly out of the lead after 3 legs, but the freestylist anchor Farida Osman would not let Cal settle for 2nd place.

For the 800 Free relay, the Bears set an American record.

The winning quartet for the Golden Bears consists of Cierra Runge, Elizabeth Pelton, Caroline Piehl, and Missy Franklin as the anchor. This is quartet contains 3 of the 4 swimmers that won the 2014 NCAA title for the 800 Free relay (freshman Cierra Runge replaces Rachael Acker).

Senior Caroline Piehl, a fellow Colorado native and long time teammate of Missy Franklin even prior to coming to Cal, was featured in this video. She talks about being a business major at Haas and balancing that with being an elite swimmer. She also talks about her future plan (which is outside the pool).

Day 2:

For the 3 individual races, the Bears have loaded the A finals - the recipe for a team championship.

In 500 Free, freshman Cierra Runge qualified 1st. She is joined by senior Melanie Klaren.

In 200 IM, a maximum of 4 Bears qualified for the finals. Better yet, they are the top 4 seeds.

In 50 Free, 3 Golden Bears are represented - Osman, Bing, and Vredeveld.

It's these kind of quality depth that makes the difference for the team title.


Another race, another record from a Golden Bear:

While the Bears did not break any record in the 200 IM, you have to admit that sweeping the top 3 spot (and 4 of the top 5) is quite impressive.

While the last two wins were kind of expected based on the prelim time, the Bears made it 5 for 5 when Egyptian Calympian Farida Osman got an upset win in the 50 Free, over Stanford's Simon Manuel to make it that much sweeter.

After diving (where the Bears didn't have anyone in the finals), the Bears then made it 6 for 6 in the pool.

The new Pac-12 record is set by the quartet of Kayling Bing, Rachel Bootsma, Missy Franklin, and Farida Osman (as the anchor).

You really can't do any better than that. Through 2 nights and 7 of 21 events, the Bears have a healthy lead on 2nd place Stanford.


As a result, Cal leads the team standings with 550 points. Stanford is second with 512.5 and USC is third with 377.

Okay, so Stanford is still very much in this thing thanks to diving (ugh) AND all the 2nd place finishes in relays. They also got 3 swimmers in the top 5 in the 50 free to keep it close to the Bears.

For the tape delayed action of the first two days on the Pac-12 Networks:

You can find the results to this meet below:

2015 Pac-12 Women's Championships, Live Results - Results

The Bears will be featured on 60 Minutes Sports, which airs on Showtime on March 4th at 6 pm PT. The 60 Minutes Sports team followed the Bears' training in Hawaii, where the team did part of the training outside of the pool. Here is a preview:

Keep checking back on the comment section of this post for updates throughout the weekend on the Bears' quest to repeat as Pac-12 Champions.

Of course, the most important meet of the season is in a month, which is the NCAA Championship in Greensboro, NC. Can the Bears raise their level even higher then and drop even more time?


Cal Men's Swimming beats Stanford

The Cal men completed another perfect dual meet season when they defeated Bay Area rival in Leland Stanford Junior by a dominating margin of 184.5 to 115.5. That makes it 3 straight season of perfection in dual meets.

Sophomores Josh Prenot, Long Gutierrez, and Ryan Murphy lead the way with two wins each (200 Fly and 200 IM for Prenot, 200 Free and 500 Free for Gutierrez, 100 Back and 200 Back for Murphy).

Bears will next compete in the Pac-12 Championship next week (it's also taking place in Federal Way, Washington where the women are competing this week) when they go for a conference three-peat.

The NCAA for men's swimming will take place on March 26-28 in Iowa City, IA.

Cal Softball, 2 Top-10 wins

Heading into this season, I was a bit skeptical about whether Cal Softball can bounce back to become a national power again. The team has appeased all of my doubts so far with a very strong start.

After opening the year with a relatively easy 10 game win streak against mediocre competition, the Bears faced their first real test of the year in Palm Springs last weekend when they have to take on a pair of top 10 teams in Tennessee and Florida State at the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic.

Behind the dominant pitching of sophomore ace Katie Sutherland-Finch, who threw a complete game shutout including a career high 9 strikeouts (yeah, Katie pitches more to contact than I would like in an ace, particularly in these days of sabremetrics), the Bears posted a 1-0 victory over Tennessee.

For this gem, Katie earned the Pac-12 Pitcher of the Week honor.

On the following day, it appeared that the winning streak will come to an end against Florida State when the Bears faced a 6-0 deficit entering the bottom of the 7th (reminder, they only play 7 innings in softball). Of course, the Bears never quit. The Bears rallied with freshman Kobie Pettis providing the heroic.

I love to see the reaction of the team waiting at the homeplate, by the way.

After the emotional high of the come-from-behind win over FSU, the Bears did suffer their first loss on the year when they dropped a 3-1 decision to the unranked South Carolina team on that same day.

Nevertheless, the Bears followed that loss up with a run-rule (euphemism for mercy-rule) 11-1 (6) win over Long Island to close out the Palm Spring trip. This week, the Bears are in Hawaii. They have already open that trip up with a 12-4 (5) run-rule win over the host Hawaii on Thursday night.

Your 19th ranked Cal Softball has a solid 14-1 record so far on the young season. They have shown the ability to pitch and score (mostly by streaming a bunch of hits together but also via the longball when needed).

Bears will play at a UNLV tournament next weekend before the start of the always very tough Pac-12 play with a homestand against Arizona on the weekend of March 13th.

Cal Baseball took 3 out of 4 games from UCI

Coming off a very nice non-conference 11-1 beating of Stanford, the Bears hosted the UC Irvine Anteaters at Evans Diamonds last week for a 4 game series.

Behind the strong starting pitching of sophomore Daulton Jefferies (18 K's in 11.2 innings) and junior Ryan Mason, the Bears took the first three games (including a doubleheader sweep on Saturday) via the scores of 6-1, 10-3, and 4-1. On Sunday, the Bears did run into some trouble and dropped a 6-2 decision to UCI.

3rd baseman Lucas Erceg is currently hitting a cool 0.500 through 32 AB's to lead the team.

On the year, the Bears are 5-3 on the year.

The long homestand continues for the Bears as they host Kansas State Wildcats for 3 games this weekend, follow by a USF Dons on Wednesday. Be sure to go check out the new and much improved Cal Baseball experience this season if you have not been to Evans since the start of the last season.

Cal Women's Gymnastics win Washington Quad Meet

Cal Women's Gymnastics continues to put up very impressive numbers and the young squad is apparently getting better and better.

Here are how the Bears rank on individual and event basis:

On the Pac-12 Networks at 5 pm on Saturday, the Bears will visit the Arizona Wildcats.

The home finale of the season is the following Sunday, when the Bears host UC Davis at noon (Meet will also be broadcasted on the Pac-12 Networks). Bring your family to go check out the fantastic show that is Cal Women's Gymnastics this year.

Cal Women's Tennis split LA schools

The important info:

Bears opened last weekend with a tough 4-3 loss to USC, but followed that up with yet another win over the NCAA defending champs in UCLA.

The clinching win over UCLA came in court 1 where Cal's Maegan Manasse, who is the top ranked singles player in the country, defended her ranking.

Cal Men's Tennis lost Big Slam then recovers

It was a busy week for Cal Men's Tennis at home last weekend. Unfortunately, it started with the Bears losing a very tight and back-and-forth match against the visiting Stanford Cardinal in the Big Slam.

The Bears did follow that up with a pair of easy victories over St. Mary and UC Santa Barbara.

After three matches in 3 days, the Bears have this weekend off.

Cal Rugby

The scoring margin may be a bit closer than one would suspect, but the Bears were able to triumph over UC Los Angeles Bruins down in LA last weekend when they earned an 18-12 win to stay perfect in PAC play.

Bears next host the Utah Utes at Wittier on Saturday at 1 pm. This Homecoming match will be broadcasted on the Pac-12 Networks. The '85 National title winning team will be back to be honored.

Cal Women's Water Polo

Facing all the top teams at the UC Irvine Invitational last week, the 4th ranked Bears took 4th place at the tournament. Despite battling then top ranked Stanford Cardinal very very tough, the Bears dropped a 7-6 decision to Stanford in the 3rd place match.

The Bears are now 14-3 on the season with the 3 losses coming at the expense of the top 3 schools in the usual suspects of UCLA, USC, and Stanford.

Along the way, however, Cal head coach Rich Corso reached a mile stone with his 200th victory.

Read senior Victoria Williams' take of last weekend here in her weekly blog (complete with photos and stuff).

Cal Lacrosse (1-1)

Like the Cal Men's Basketball team, Cal Lacrosse has a new head coach for this school year. Bears open the 2015 campaign and the Brooke Eubanks era with a tough 17-7 home loss to a ranked Notre Dame squad.

Bears then bounced back with an easy win over St. Mary's.

Sophomore striker Bella Huther leads the Bears through 2 games with 5 goals and 3 assists. Check out the feature video on her linked in the above tweet.

Cal Track and Field look to repeat at the MPSF Indoor Championship

Cal Women's Swimming and Diving is not the only Cal squad looking to defend a conference title this weekend. Cal men's track and field is also up in Washington state in search of a conference title defense.

This meet is an important one for Cal athletes to qualify for the NCAA's.

The women finished 7th in the conference championship last year and will look to improve upon that this year.

Cal Men's Gymnastics: Kevin Wolting makes the US National Team

With a strong performance at the Las Vegas Winter Cup challenge last weekend, Cal junior Kevin Wolting has earned a spot on the US National team. Congrats to Kevin!

Joining him on that team is recent Cal alum in Donothan Bailey.

Cal Men's Golf alum James Hahn wins a PGA Tournament

In case you missed the excitement from last Sunday, Cal can now a boast about having an alum that has gone ahead to win a PGA tournament (by the way, when is the last time that Tiger Woods have won an event?).

It's a cinderella story for James Hahn as he goes from literally selling shoes at a Nordstrom at one point to overtaking some much better known golfers (Wayne Gretzky's son-in-law Dustin Johnson and ASU alum Paul Casey) in a three-way playoff to claim the Northern Trust Open, played at the Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, CA.

Check out James Hahn's great shots in the video below: