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Golden Medals: Previews of Cal Athletics in postseason action

As the 2015-16 school year winds down, some of the best Cal Athletics opportunities to add to our national championships total are still to come.

Top seed Golden Bears start their quest for the program's 1st NCAA team championship today.
Top seed Golden Bears start their quest for the program's 1st NCAA team championship today.
Cal Women's Tennis Facebook

ICYMI: Cal Rugby wins 1st Varsity Cup National Championship in program history

Cal Rugby is national champions in Rugby 15s again! Demonstrating once again how "The Bear never quits, the Bear never dies!", our sturdy Golden Bears came from behind to beat BYU 40-29 in the 4th edition of the Varsity Cup. The Bears snapped BYU's 44-game winning streak (dating back to February of 2014) by scoring 21 unanswered points in the last 10 minutes.

Man of the match Russell Webb and the rest of the senior class can finally claim a national title in rugby 15s.

A huge congratulations to the soon-to-be Cal Athletic Hall of Fame inductee Jack Clark (yes, I was surprised that he is not already in the Cal Athletic Hall of Fame) and the Cal rugby boys on this legendary victory.



So, who else will join Cal Rugby as team national champions in the 2015-16 school year?

Cal Women's Tennis starts NCAA play today

Top overall seed Cal Women's Tennis will look to win the 2nd team national title of not just the program history but also the 2015-16 season when NCAA tournament play starts today from Berkeley. The Golden Bears won their 1st team title in the ITA Indoors national championship earlier this year. Despite losing their perfect record in dual play in the last dual meet of the year 4-3 to Stanford (which also costs the Bears the Pac-12 team title), the 19-1 Bears still retain the top seed in the NCAA tournament.

The Bears are coming off the individual play of the Pac-12 championship where the No.1 singles player for the Bears in Maegan Manasse won the Pac-12 singles title.

The Golden Bears will host The University of Texas Rio Grand Valley (yes, that's apparently a Division 1 school in women's tennis) and should the sun keep rising in the East, play the winner of Kansas-UCSB in the second round tomorrow.

After the first two rounds, the NCAA tennis action will shift to Tulsa, Oklahoma - the hometown of Cal freshman Olivia Hauger, who won the clinching match for the Bears in their 4-3 win over Florida, the current No.1 ranked team in the country after they ran the table in the SEC tournament.

So the Golden Bears are the top overall seed in the NCAA field. No.2 seed are the Florida Gators on the opposite side of the bracket. Should the seeding holds, the Bears will face 16th seed Texas Tech in the 3rd round, 8th seed Pepperdine (or maybe 9th seed Duke) in the QF. 3rd seed North Carolina is a potential semifinal opponent, looking way ahead.

Those pesky Stanford Cardinal? They got the 15th seed which puts them in the path of Florida in the 3rd round. The Golden Bears have been eliminated by Stanford in the NCAA Round of 16 for the past two seasons. The only way that the Bears and the Cardinal will face one another would come in the final.



Cal Men's Tennis also starts NCAA play this weekend in Berkeley

Also hosting the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament in Berkeley this weekend is Cal Men's Tennis. The Golden Bears are coming off a close loss in the Pac-12 championship final (yes, the men plays team style while the women plays as individual in the Pac-12 championships for some reason...probably tradition) to the 2nd ranked (in the country) UCLA Bruins. That was the Bears' first ever Pac-12 final, might they also make some history in the NCAA tournament this year?

The winner of the Cal Cup at the 2016 Oskies Awards. This is a season that saw the Bears defeat then No.2 TCU at a neutral site in Austin. Between that win and pushing UCLA to the limit (if the Bears could have won one or two second set tiebreaker, things would have looked very different), Cal is likely a dark horse pick for many in this field.

And men's tennis picked up the Cal Cup Award to close #Oskis2016! #GoBears

A photo posted by CalMensTennis (@calmenstennis) on

The 13th ranked Bears will open against Army on Saturday. A potential 2nd round date with the winner of Mississippi and Denver is next on Sunday. Should the Bears advance to Tulsa, a likely rematch with 4th overall seed TCU awaits the Bears in the Round of 16. I don't know if the Bears have some matchup advantage over TCU, but the Bears should be confident going into that rematch.

Virginia is the top overall seed. North Carolina is second while UCLA is third.



Cal Men's Golf in NCAA Marana Regional

The Bears will attempt to book a return trip to the NCAA Championship when they play at the Marana Regional in Arizona this weekend. This is the Bears' school record 10th straight berth to the NCAA postseason.

With Cal alum and legendary long time head coach Steve Desimone retiring at the end of the season, can the Bears win another NCAA title for Coach Des? Coach Des' program is well regarded not just for their performance on the links and classrooms, but also for being the lone non-revenue sports in Cal Athletics to actually make money (or break even). When Cal Men's Golf lost it's varsity status in 1979, Coach Des was instrumental in getting the program reinstated in 1982.

Bears last won the title in 2004 and came close with the recent incredible squad in 2013, when they won 12 of 14 stroke-play events that year.

The likely quintet for the Bears will be are KK Limbhasut, Sebastian Crampton, Collin Morikawa, Jamie Cheatham and Shotaro Ban. Limbhasut finished in a tie for 3rd at the Pac-12 championship recently.

The 3rd seed in the Regional will need to finish in the top 5 to advance to the NCAA Championship - taking place May 27th - June 1st from Eugene, Oregon.



Cal Women's Golf just missed qualification to NCAA Championship

Quick note here about Cal Women's Golf, who just missed advancing to the NCAA championship as a team out of the Shoal Creek regional in Alabama. Bears were 8 strokes off the last berth to the NCAA championship, claimed by Michigan. Seeded in this regional, the Bears didn't quite play up to their seeding.


T1. Marianne Li (+4 / 74-72-74=220)
T15. Marthe Wold (+12 / 75-79-74=228)
T58. Carly Childs (+21 / 79-77-81=237)
T68. Lucia Gutierrez (+26 / 80-79-83=242)
T72. Hannah Suh (+28 / 79-84-81=244)


1. Northwestern (296-294-296=887 / +23)
2. Florida State (299-297-309=905 / +41)
3. Oklahoma State (301-297-309=907 / +43)
4. Alabama (306-300-302=908 / +44) 
5. Tennessee (300-311-301=912 / +48)
6. Michigan (311-305-300=916 / +52)
7. CALIFORNIA (307-307-310=924 / +60)

However, freshman Marianne Li finished in a 3-way tie for 1st at the regional to qualify for the NCAA championship as an individual.

Li will play in Eugene, Oregon on May 20-25th at the NCAA Championships.



Cal Women's Crew in Pac-12 Championship this Sunday

The 2016 Oski's Women's Team of the Year winners (along with their Coach of the Year), Cal Women's Crew will begin postseason play this Sunday at the Pac-12 Championship.

Winner of 7 of the last 8 Pac-12 championships, the 2nd ranked Golden Bears are the highest ranked team in the Pac.

The V8 lineup of The lineup of Hannah Christopher, Kendall Chase, Rowan McKellar, Jacinta Edmunds, Mia Croonquist, Charlotte Siering, Charlotte Passot, Inger Kavlie, and Dorethee Beckendorff have won plenty of races this year, although they did lost their Big Row race to Stanford recently.

Bears will also have boats for 2nd V8 and 3rd V8 as well as V4.

Pac-12 Networks will have the tape delayed action of these races a week later on May 21st. We will spoil the results for you here on CGB and on Twitter.

Coming up on May 27th from the same Gold River in California, it will be the NCAA Championships. The Golden Bears will look to capture their first national title since 2006. Brown is the top ranked squad right now. Third ranked Ohio State has won the last three NCAA titles.



Cal Men's Crew in Pac-12 Championship this Sunday

At the same venue as the women, the Cal men will row in the Pac-12 championship on Sunday as well.

Coming off a 3 race sweep at the Big Row, the Golden Bears have their sight set on the Pac-12 title.

The 2nd ranked Bears are ranked ahead of Washington (4th), Stanford (14th), and Oregon State (20th). Is this the year that the Bears end UW's 6 year reign of terror on top of the Pac?

ICYMI, given the long Cal Crew history, it is perhaps not a surprise to see both the coach of the century and rower of the century to come from our storied program. Legendary Cal and Olympic Coach Ky Ebright was named Pac-12 Men's Crew Coach of the Century and Jake Wetzel is the Pac-12 Men's Rower of the Century.

On June 3-5th from Mercer Lake, NJ (near Princeton), the Golden Bears will look to dethrone Washington for the IRA National Championship. The Bears last won the National Championship (determined solely by the winner of the V8 race) in 2010.



Cal Rugby going for a 4-peat in Rugby 7s in early June

A little bit later than this weekend, the Golden Bears will look for a 4-peat at the Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championships to win the Rugby 7s title. The tournament from Chester, PA (just outside Philadelphia) has been owned by the Bears although local Kutztown Golden Bears have closed the gap every year. In 2015, Jake Anderson had to score the sudden death try in OT to seal the championship for the Bears.

Since BYU does not play on Sundays, they have not play at this tournament. Golden Bears are looking to accomplish the feat of winning both the Penn Mutual Varsity Cup and the Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championships in the same year.

I am personally looking forward to cover this event in person for the 4th straight year.