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Golden Medals: Cal Rugby and Women's Water Polo opens season strong, Gymnastics update

School is back and the Cal winter sports are now in full action. Let's take a look of the first two full weeks of action for Cal Athletics in 2016.

Cal Rugby rolled over the other UC schools last weekend
Cal Rugby rolled over the other UC schools last weekend
Cal Varsity Rugby Facebook Page

Sorry folks, my travel schedule prevented me from writing a post last week. Folks who follow me or CGB on Twitter may have noticed that I took advantage of my two weeks back in California by checking out Cal Men's Gymnastics in the Big Meet at Stanford and Cal Rugby in their 15s season opening game vs. UC San Diego at the campus of UC Los Angeles. These are in addition to the Cal Men's Basketball game vs. Utah in Berkeley (the only event that I planned to go to before the trip). Now, I don't necessarily think that I gained any further insights into our teams by seeing them in person once. Nevertheless, I do feel a stronger tie to the teams and following them remotely (and informing our readers) for these next few months.


Not much action is televised or streamed but Cal fans in the Bay Area do have a bunch of options to see the Golden Bears in person this weekend, perhaps before the Arizona showdown in Men's Basketball. Women's Tennis is hosting the weekend action of opening round ITA (that's Indoor Tennis, although the match in Berkeley will be played outdoors). Both men's and women's swimming will be in action against Arizona today and Arizona State tomorrow. These are unfortunately the last home meets of the season for swimming. Men's Gymnastics is hosting a meet on Sunday against Stanford and The Ohio State. Women's Gymnastics will be on the road at Stanford, with also San Jose State in the mix.

Further away, men's tennis is also in ITA action but all the way out in Durham, NC. Women's Water Polo, relatively, are closer at Santa Barbara.

Jan 22
W Tennis ITA Kickoff Weekend: CSU Northridge Berkeley, CA 10:00 a.m. Live Stream Twitter
Jan 22
W Water Polo Santa Barbara Invitational: Hawai'i Santa Barbara, CA 10:00 a.m.
Jan 22
M Swimming & Diving Arizona Berkeley, CA 2:00 p.m. Live Stats
Jan 22
W Swimming & Diving Arizona Berkeley, CA 2:00 p.m. Live Stats
Jan 22
W Water Polo Santa Barbara Invitational: UC Santa Barbara Santa Barbara, CA 2:10 p.m.
Jan 22
W Basketball at UCLA Los Angeles, CA 6:00 p.m. Twitter
Jan 23
Track & Field All Comers Meet Berkeley, CA All Day
Jan 23
W Water Polo Santa Barbara Invitational: Long Beach State Santa Barbara, CA 9:00 a.m.
Jan 23
W Tennis ITA Kickoff Weekend: Consolation Match Berkeley, CA 10:00 a.m.
Jan 23
M Swimming & Diving Arizona State Berkeley, CA 12:00 p.m. Live Stats
Jan 23
W Swimming & Diving Arizona State Berkeley, CA 12:00 p.m. Live Stats
Jan 23
W Tennis ITA Kickoff Weekend: Championship Match Berkeley, CA 1:00 p.m.
Jan 23
W Water Polo Santa Barbara Invitational: CSU Bakersfield Santa Barbara, CA 2:20 p.m.
Jan 23
M Tennis at ITA Kickoff Weekend: Duke Durham, NC TBA Live Event Live Stats
Jan 23
M Basketball Arizona Berkeley, CA 5:30 p.m. ESPN Live Stats
Jan 24
M Gymnastics California, Ohio State, Stanford Berkeley, CA 12:00 p.m.
Jan 24
W Basketball at USC Los Angeles, CA 2:00 p.m. Twitter
Jan 24
W Gymnastics at San Jose State and California Burnham Pavilion - Stanford, CA 2:00 p.m.
Jan 24
M Tennis ITA Kickoff Weekend: San Diego or Vanderbilt Durham, NC TBA Live Event Live Stats

Cal Rugby 15s

As expected, the Golden Bears were dominant in the 15s season opening play down at UCLA in the Storr Classic. Bears routed all the other UC schools on their way to yet another tournament victory. This marks the Bears' 11th straight Storr Classics title.

In the title game on Sunday, the Bears defeated the home team UCLA by a 38-0 final score. Senior Jesse Milne (who I recall as a freshman few years ago when Cal rugby played Navy in Annapolis) led the way with 3 tries. Harry Adolphus, fresh off his stint on the Cal Football team as a punter, had a try himself to go with three penalties (like field goals) and two conversions (extra points that are often super hard in rugby). Basically, the focused Bears scored early and often.

The Scoring Timeline vs. UCLA

02:00 Harry Adolphus 3

04:00 Harry Adolphus 5, 2

09:00 Jesse Milne 5, Harry Adolphus 2

18:00 Harry Adolphus 3

20:00 Jesse Milne 5

Halftime Score: California 25, UCLA 0

24:00 Harry Adolphus 3

31:00 Russell Webb 3

35:00 Jesse Milne 5, Jamie Howells 2

Final Score: California 38, UCLA 0

On Saturday, the Bears opened the 15s season with easy wins over UC San Diego (61-0), UC Santa Cruz (66-0), and UC Davis (36-0).

Only in the UC Davis match do the team plays the regular lineup.

The Scoring Timeline vs. UC San Diego

05:00 Connor Sweet 5, Jamie Howells 2

08:00 Jamie Howells 5, 2

10:00 Matthew Chipman 5, Jamie Howells 2

16:00 Jake Goena 5, Jamie Howells 2

19:00 Jake Goena 5, Jamie Howells 2

Halftime Score: California 35, UC San Diego 0

23:00 Drew Gaffney 5

27:00 Billy Maggs 5, Jamie Howells 2

32:00 Michael Goodwin 5, Jamie Howells 2

40:00 Drew Gaffney 5, Jamie Howells 2

Final Score: California 61, UC San Diego 0

The Team vs. UC San Diego

15. Goena, 14. Coleman, 13. Maggs (Flynn @ 32:00), 12. Ternan, 11. Chipman, 10. Howells, 9. Goodwin, 1. Harmon, 2. Joyce, 3. Ogburn, 4. Damas, 5. Kosinski, 6. Weigold (Mirhashem @ 20:00), 7. Warnock, 8. Gaffney

The Scoring Timeline vs. UC Santa Cruz

01:00 William Fuller 5, Matthew Coyle 2

06:00 Jake Goena 5, Matthew Coyle 2

08:00 Jake Goena 5, Matthew Coyle 2

10:00 Matt Ternan 5, Matthew Coyle 2

12:00 Hugo d'Auriol 5

15:00 Aidan Flynn 5, Matthew Coyle 2

Halftime Score: California 40, UC Santa Cruz 0

25:00 Fawzi Kawash 5, Matthew Coyle 2

27:00 Hugo d'Auriol 5, Matthew Coyle 2

30:00 Jack Iscaro 5

36:00 Felix Le Merle 5, Matthew Coyle 2

Final Score: California 66, UC Santa Cruz 0

The Team vs. UC Santa Cruz

15. d’Auriol, 14. Fuller, 13. Ternan, 12. Flynn, 11. Goena (Chipman @ 30:00), 10. Coyle, 9. Kawash, 1. Sekona, 2. Iscaro, 3. Douglas, 4. Bixby, 5. Paylor, 6. F. Le Merle, 7. Mirhashem (Frey @ 20:00), 8. Becker

The Scoring Timeline vs. UC Davis

05:00 Harry Adolphus 5

Halftime Score: California 5, UC Davis 0

25:00 Penalty Try 5, Harry Adolphus 2

28:00 Tomas Zerbino 5

32:00 Anthony Salaber 5, Harry Adolphus 2

36:00 Kevin Sullivan 5, Harry Adolphus 2

40:00 Zachary Tavenner 5

Final Score: California 36, UC Davis 0

The Team vs. UC Davis

15. Adolphus, 14. Dunne, 13. Barrientes (A. Salaber @ 30:00), 12. Milne, 11. Honens (Tavenner @ 30:00), 10. R. Webb (Howells @ 32:00), 9. Okusi, 1. Sullivan, 2. Haynes, 3. Baylor (Vrame @ 20:00), 4. Damas, 5. Zerbino, 6. Robles, 7. N. Salaber, 8. Sweet

In a little bit of a transition year for the Bears in having to replace Jake Anderson and Andrew Battaglia, the season starts like nothing has missed a beat. Time will tell just how much of a learning curve this younger Cal teams will fare in 2016. Bears do not play until February 6th, but that's the home leg of the "World Cup" matches against University of British Columbia Thunderbirds.

Cal Women's Water Polo

With three talented sophomore scorers all taking a sabbatical to help their home countries qualify and compete in Rio 2016, a new look Golden Bears team show that their ranking of 4th in the country may still be well deserved after all.

In the Lou Tully Memorial tournament in San Jose last weekend, the Bears dominated the overmatched competition to 4-0.

Bears defeated CSU Monterey Bay (honestly, I didn't know that is a school nor that they have a women's water polo team) 22-5, then beat No.10 Pacific 12-8. On the second day, Bears beat Sonoma State 12-4 before closing the tournament with a 7-3 win over CSU Bakersfield.

Senior Pippa Saunders now lead the team with 7 goals on the year (she only has 11 goals all of last year). She's follow by sophomore Carla Carrega and junior Emily Laughlin with 6 goals apiece.

Pippa is writing a blog over on called Pippa's Perspective. An excerpt from it:

After the weekend of games we all prepared for the start of the second semester! This semester we are taking some pretty competitive and interesting classes. Freshmen, Madison Tagg and Hilary Adkins are highly looking forward to their Art class together. SophomoreKindred Paul believes her organic chemistry class will be "riveting". Senior Molly Quinn is very excited about her class regarding the analysis of archaeological record seeing as she is a double major in Anthropology and Geography. And lastly, sophomore Kacey Avalos is taking an environmental health and developmental course, which she highly anticipates for the semester.

Our very own Emily Loughlin is also teaching a decal this semester called, "Female Athlete Leadership!" It is the second semester that her and Kelly Naze of the women’s swim team are running the course. Freshman Rachael Lewin will be taking Emily’s decal this semester and is eager to be a part of the class!

It's always interesting to hear what classes these athletes are taking (or even teaching).

Obviously, the 12-8 win over No.10 Pacific is the most comforting result although we all know how the top women's water polo programs in the country (a group to which Cal hopes to be a part of) are vastly superior than the rest, even if the rest has a ranking.

The Bears will face tougher tests this weekend down in Santa Barbara.

UPDATE: Bears suffer their first loss of the season in a loss to Hawaii.

Cal Women's Gymnastics

The Cal women opened the year with a NorCal meet win over Stanford, San Jose State, and UC Davis. The team scored 195.575. They then competed at Oklahoma last weekend but lost. Worse, the Bears scored merely 194.225 as a team.

Bears will look to bounce back when they compete against Stanford and San Jose State again on Sunday (this time at Stanford).

The Cal ranking has fluctuated as well. Going from 14th to 11th after the NorCal win. Bears find themselves ranked 22nd (Stanford has fallen from 8th in the preseason to 24th).

I am expecting a bounce back effort from the Bears this weekend, now that they are back in the Bay Area. The bad Oklahoma score is due to a couple missed bar routines, I am sure the Bears can find a way to clean those up.

Cal Men's Gymnastics

The Cal men has also have had two meets in the past two weeks, both against Stanford. In the season opening Big Meet down at the Farm, the Bears lost 436.650 to 423.900 to No.3 Stanford.

While Stanford hit on almost all of their routines, the Bears had plenty of room for improvement with a few falls, particularly by senior captain Kevin Wolting. The Bears finished 2nd again to Stanford in the Bears' home opener last week. Nevertheless, it was encouraging to see the Bears improve their team score to 426.950. Wolting led the way for the Golden Bears by improving his all around score by 0.9 between the first and second week.

Bears will look to make further improvements when they host Stanford and Ohio State on Sunday at noon at Haas.

From seeing Cal men's gymnastics in person, I saw a tight bunch of guys who were out there performing for each other and their family and friends (the Cal women's team were there to cheer on their male counterparts...there were also plenty of Stanford athletes there cheering for the Stanford team). While I have been to a few meets back when I was a student (there were actually a couple gymnastics that were majoring in applied math that I had classes with), I have forgotten how much power and crazy acrobatic moves were on display. It was definitely a fun time out.

Cal Swimming

For those of us on the East Coast either awaiting the incoming snowstorm or already in it, here is Cal Women's Swimming from their annual training trip to Hawaii. See the Bears having fun in and out of water, with each other and local children. Current sophomore Jasmine Mau was one of those young kids who got to interact with the team years ago.

While a little bit unconventional by standard swimming training standard, the Hawaii trip is part of what makes Teri McKeever's program stands out. Sure, she is able to attract top notch athletes into the Cal program, but I don't think anyone can really argue with the results given how well the Bears athletes compete in the NCAA and beyond.

By the way, Teri McKeever, who was the head coach for Team USA for London 2012 and was the first women's to hold that title, will not be the head coach for Team USA in Rio 2016. Teri will likely get the chance to go to the Olympics again as an assistant coach, however; especially given how many members of Team USA will have ties to Teri and Cal. David Marsh will be the head coach for the Team USA women.

The Cal men (and those who trains with them amongst the pros, like Natalie Coughlin) are also back from their annual training trip to Colorado Springs. Here is head coach Dave Durdin talking about the upcoming meets and the 8 seniors that the team will honor on Saturday.

The Cal men's team got a lesson on how to prepare healthy and I am sure nutritious meal from Natalie Coughlin on this trip.

Several of the Golden Bears, particularly the women's team, swam in the Austin Arena Pro meet last week. This is a long course meet like the Olympics (and, of course, Olympics qualifying).

At least in one event, the Women's 100 Fly, the Bears were dominant. The Cal contingent that includes alum Dana Vollmer (who is back to training hard again after taking time off to be a mother), and current swimmers in Kelly Naze, Canadian Noemie Thomas, and Egyptian Farida Osman placed 2 through 5.

As I mentioned above in the schedule section, this weekend is the last chance for Cal fans to catch the Golden Bears (both strong contender to bring back the NCAA team championships) in Berkeley. This means that Saturday is Senior Day. Bears will face the Arizona schools, who are usually pretty good programs.

Cal Tennis

6th ranked Cal women's tennis are hosting Cal State Northridge, No.44 Saint Mary's, and No.52 Washington this weekend for a berth in the ITA indoor tennis championship to take place in Madison, Wisconsin (and eat cheese curds...yum) in early February.

Learn more about one of the Cal veteran in junior Denise Starr (apparently her coming to Cal is largely due to her being good friend with fellow bear senior Lynn Chi in high school).

Here is the link to the online stream:

The Cal men will also be playing for the right to in the ITA tournament. The men's tournament will take place in Charlottesville, VA. The No.27 Golden Bears have a harder road to the ITA, however. They will need to get through No.19 San Diego, No. 26 Vanderbilt, and No.23 and host Duke this weekend from Durham. Yes, somehow, the Bears are the lowest ranked team out of this group of death.