A quick announcement: I will be making a (self-financed) “Spring Break” out to Indianapolis next month to (mostly cheer on the Cal Bears but also) cover for CGB the NCAA Division 1 Swimming and Diving Championships - both the women and the men (and if Cal Men’s Basketball somehow find themselves there for the first weekend of the NCAA tournament, I’ll probably go to that as well). Those should be some interesting meets, full of Olympians both on the Cal squads and elsewhere. Given the experience of going to the 2015 Women’s NCAA Swimming and Diving Championship (Missy Franklin’s last meet as a Golden Bear), I should be able to do an even better job this time to bring more of the sights and sounds of the meet to you, our dear readers.
Cal Women’s Swimming and Diving still searching for the first Pac-12 title of the season at the midway point
If you saw my comments on the Cal Women’s Swimming at Pac-12 championships post, you would noticed how frustrating of a meet it has been to watch our beloved Golden Bears just finishing behind Stanford. At the midway point (7 of 14 events completed) after two days at Federal Way, WA, the Bears are firmly entrenched in 2nd place; they are also the only team within (kind of) striking distance of a Stanford Cardinal team that has dominated the winner’s list (winning all 7 events) of this meet thus far. In addition to the three events where they were heavy favorites coming in (800 Free Relay and 500 Free due to the superwoman swimming prowess of one Katie Ledecky and 1 meter diving due to the presence of another Olympian in Kassidy Cook), Stanford also found the way to edge the Bears in several events where the Golden Bears were the small favorites before this week.
In 200 IM, Stanford’s Ella Eastin was able to just beat out Cal’s Kathleen Baker in that event. In 50 Free, Stanford Olympian Simone Manuel was able to just edged Cal’s Calympian duo of Farida Osman (winner of the past two years) and Abbey Weitzeil (top qualifier). Stanford also managed to win both the 200 Medley Relay and 200 Free Relay by some tiny margins over the Bears. For the Bears to overtake Stanford (either this week at the Pac-12 championship or in three week at the NCAA), these are precisely the events where the Bears need to win.
Nevertheless, the Bears have done a great job winning some B and C finals thus far. There is still a chance for the Bears to chase down Stanford by the end of Saturday, but it’s going to be tough barring a stupid mistake by them (like a relay DQ).
The Bears are currently having another great morning of qualifying racers into the evening’s finals. 10 Bears will race for the Pac-12 title in 5 events, not counting the relay. An additional 11 swimmers will race in B and C finals. Let’s win some races (and Pac-12 titles) tonight!
The Pac-12 Championships both this week for the women and next week for the men are finally being streamed live (both the prelim during the day and the finals in the late afternoon) for the first time (it does require one’s to have a Pac-12 Networks log in, however). The evening session (starting at 6 pm PT) on Saturday will be broadcast live on the Pac-12 Networks (TV coverage doesn’t start until 6:30 PM PT).
Cal Track and Field in MPSF Championship this weekend
Also competing for a conference title from the state of Washington (Seattle) are the Cal Track and Field teams - both the men and the women.
Fans can watch this meet via FloTrack ($$$ required). Several Golden Bears should be in the mix to win some conference titles. The Cal men last won the MPSF team title back in 2014.
Cal Women’s Water Polo faces top competitions at the Barbara Kalbus Invitational
Down in Irvine this weekend, 4th ranked Cal Bears (10-1) will get the chance to move up the rankings (finally!). In the Barbara Kalbus Invitational, the Bears will likely get to face the best women’s water polo teams in the country - in-state rivals UCLA, USC, and Stanford.
Bears are in Group D to open the tournament against the now very familiar San Jose State. Should the Bears beat San Jose State for the third time this season (both previous contests saw Cal win by 9 goals), they take on the winner between No.5 Arizona State and Long Beach State in their 2nd match.
A victory there will likely pit the Bears against Stanford again (Cardinal are the lone blemish in Cal’s record so far). Should things more or less follow the script (the top 4 teams are much better than the rest...though one shouldn’t over look ASU), the winner of Cal/Stanford will play the winner of UCLA/USC (while the losers play each other in the 3rd place match).
It should be an interesting challenge for the Golden Bears to see just how good they are at the current juncture of the season.
Last week saw the Bears win both matches at home - a 14-4 win over Santa Clara that counted and a 13-6 exhibition victory over New York Athletic Club.
Hungarian Calympian Dora Antal leads the way with 27 goals on the season. Somewhat surprisingly, freshman Emma Wright is 2nd on the team with 23 goals. Calympians Anna Illes (Hungary) is 3rd with 17 goals. Fellow Calympian Roser Tarrago (Spain) has only played 2 matches on the season (4 goals in those two matches) to allow Wright the opportunity to shine. Tarrago has been the Bears’ 2nd top scorers (behind Antal) in the Cal careers of both redshirt juniors.
Cal Softball in a current 5 game winning streak
8-1 Golden Bears are on another roll currently, although some of these games have not been easy. The Bears had a successful 3 win weekend at Palm Springs that saw some challenges from the weather (Bears were supposed to play 4 games). Bears won those 3 games by a 2-1 score over Illinois, 7-4 over LMU, and 8-7 come from behind over Kent State.
Bears then had their most dominant win thus far midweek against St. Mary by a 11-0 run rule result.
Back to Palm Springs this weekend, the 21st ranked Bears will face Oklahoma State, Louisville, Nebraska, and The Ohio State.
Bears currently have 5 players batting 0.340 or better (Vanessa Alvarez, Jazymyn Jackson, Lindsay Rood, Kobie Pettis, and Kylie Reed) - the Bears’ top of the lineup essentially. With all the single hitters, the Bears have scored a bunch of runs despite hitting zero homer on the season.
In the circle, newcomer Zoe Conley has been the ace in the staff. The redshirt sophomore is 4-1 with a save with an ERA of 2.16. She has struck out 32 batters in 41.2 innings. Katie Sutherland-Finch has pitched quite well (3-0 with an ERA of 0.00) in relief thus far.
We shall see if the lack of power in the lineup nor strike out power pitcher in the circle will prevent the Bears from making some noise in the always tough Pac-12 play.
Cal Lacrosse is still searching for their 1st win, this weekend from the Midwest
Cal Lacrosse (0-2) suffered their first conference loss of the season last week in a 9-18 road loss to the Oregon Ducks.
They are in Indianapolis to take on Butler today before a trip to Columbus to take on Ohio State (who the Bears came close to upset in last year’s season opener) on Sunday.
Senior Caroline Schlegal leads the offense for the Bears with 6 goals. The senior is also featured in this week’s Inside the Lair for her offseason work with the Denver (her home town) city government to make biking and other alternative (more sustainable) transportation easier there.
Cal Women’s Gymnastics posted 3rd best time in program history; visiting Nebraska this weekend
Cal Women’s Gymnastics snapped a brief two meet losing streak (coinciding with the bad news of the potential season ending injury to Calympian Toni-Ann Williams) last week with a season high team total against Oregon State.
The 19th ranked Golden Bears are another team that is in the midwest this weekend. The Cal women’s gymnastics show can be found this Saturday at 4 PM PT from Lincoln, Nebraska at the Masters Classic against a field of Utah State, Southeast Missouri, and host Nebraska.
Cal Men’s Gymnastics visiting Michigan
8th ranked Cal men’s gymnastics are in Michigan this week to take on the 11th ranked Wolverines in a dual meet. This meet will take place on Saturday afternoon at 11 AM PT.
Heading to the 2nd half of the season, the top 5 gymnasts will see their score count for the team total (rather than counting the top 5 of 6 gymnasts’ scorers). We shall see how the Bears respond to the added pressure.
Cal Baseball visiting No.11 Texas Tech
After winning the season opening series against Cal Poly, California Golden Bears (2-1) will visit the Texas Tech Red Raiders (4-1) in the geographical farthest road trip of the regular season. While the Friday game today is on FOX Sports Southwest, the rest of the games will be streamed online on TexaxTech.TV ($9.95 monthly fees required or $6.95 daily pass)
Texas Tech are the defending Big 12 champs. They split two games with the Golden Bears in Berkeley last year, but both teams lost a bunch of talent to the MLB Draft, although the Red Raiders retained 3 All-Americans in OF Tanner Gardner, and the starters for the first two games in RHP Davis Martin and LHP Steven Gingery. The Cal Bears are starting a brand new lineup currently, with the lone returnee SS Preston Grand Pre injured.
Friday - 2 PM PT
Cal: RHP Tanner Dodson (0-1, 13.50 ERA)
Texas Tech: RHP Davis Martin (1-0, 1.50)
Saturday - Game 1: 10 AM PT
Cal: RHP Jared Horn (0-0, 5.40 ERA)
Texas Tech LHP Steven Gingery (1-0, 1.29)
Saturday - Game 2: 2 PM PT
Texas Tech: RHP Ryan Shetter (1-0, 3.00)
Sunday - 10 AM PT
Texas Tech: LHP Erikson Lanning (0-0, 11.57)