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Golden Medals: Undefeated Cal W. Gymnastics to take on undefeated Utah

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Undefeated Cal Women’s Water Polo also face season’s first big challenge at the Stanford Invitational. Both Cal Men’s and Women’s Tennis advanced to ITA Indoor Final 16.

Undefeated California Golden Bears face a tough test this Saturday against No.4 Utah Utes.
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Undefeated Cal Women’s Gymnastics face No.4 Utah

No.15 Cal Women’s Gymnastics (8-0) will put their perfect record on the line when they visit Salt Lake City to take on No.4 6-0 Utah “Red Rocks” (which is apparently the nickname for their women’s gymnastics team rather than the Utes) in front of what would likely be another packed Jon M. Huntsman Center.

Utes have put up team scores of 196.625, 196.900, 197.625, and 197.150 in their four meets this year.

The star for Utah is clearly freshman McKayla Skinner, who is making her collegiate debut after deferring several years to train for the Olympics. Unfortunately for McKayla, she was only an alternate on the US Olympic squad that went to Rio. On the collegiate scene, she is the 4x reigning Pac-12 Women’s Gymnast of the Week. Check out her performance from earlier this season.

By comparison, Bears have put up team scores of 195.325, 195.550, 196.300, and 196.025 in their victories.

Yes, the best team score by the Bears would not be enough against the Red Rocks’ worst score on the year. Nevertheless, you never know who will show up every weekend (that’s why we watch sports). Additionally, the artistic beauties in the routines of both squads are highly entertaining even if no scores are kept (I have been told that they are indeed keeping scores this Saturday).

Cal Women’s Gymnastics has been making history every year, it would not be shocking for the Bears to beat Utah at their home. Golden Bears actually have a winning streak against the Utes, besting them in the NCAA Championships for the first win over Utah in program history (1-17 overall).

Pac-12 Networks will have the action for this Saturday’s matinee at 12:30 PM PT.

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Last week, the Golden Bears swept all four events in a dual meet against the Arizona Sun Devils.

The Cal winners in each events were:

It’s no surprise that Calympian Toni-Ann Williams dominates her floor routine again. Check out senior Emily Richardson’s post meet interview and her winning vault as well as beam dismount.

Feel free to use the comments section below to discuss this meet (and all other Cal Olympic Sports events this weekend).


Undefeated Cal Women’s Water Polo in Stanford Invitational

No.4 Cal Women’s Water Polo (5-0) may face their first true test of the year in the final of the Stanford Invitational - a potential date with No.1 Stanford in the final should the two Bay Area rivals win their respective bracket this weekend from Palo Alto.

Golden Bears are in the same bracket as No.7 Michigan and two familiar 2017 opponents in No.16 San Jose State and No.18 UC Davis.

Top ranked Stanford Cardinal (3-0), including many key members of the Gold winning USA Olympic team at Rio, is in the other bracket with Hawaii, UC Irvine, and Loyola Marymount.

After three matches for the round robin in each bracket, a team will face the same placed opponent from the other bracket for the final match. Should the Bears avoid any upset, they should likely take on the top ranked Stanford in the final.

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This past week, the Golden Bears stayed undefeated with 3 wins in the California Speedo Cup I.

Bears downed CSUN 16-2 (5 goals by Antal) and then Long Beach State 12-6. In the first tight match of the year (tied 4-4 at the half), Bears defeated UC Davis by a score of 11-9. Antal added 6 more goals in the two matches (LBSU and UC Davis) on Saturday to lead the team.

For scoring 11 goals in 3 matches, 2016 Rio Calympian Dora Antal was named the MPSF Player of the week.

Emily Wright, with 4 goals in the 3 matches, was named the MPSF Newcomer of the week.


Cal Men’s Tennis advances to ITA Indoor Final 16

As expected, No.4 Cal Men’s Tennis defeated Cal Poly (4-0) and then Tulane (4-2) en route to securing a spot in the ITA National Indoor Championships Final 16, to take place in Charlottesville, VA (hosted by Virginia) in two weeks. Bears won the ITA kickoff weekend from the Bear Territory that is Hellman Tennis Complex.

The #ITAKickOff Weekend has begun at Hellman with Cal playing Cal Poly! #GoBears

A video posted by CalMensTennis (@calmenstennis) on

In doubles, the top pair for the Bears is again Filip Bergevi and Florian Lakat (ranked No.2 in the country). The Bears also have a familiar pairing of Andre Goransson and Billy Griffith as No.2 doubles. No.3 doubles see the pairing of freshman Bjorn Hoffmann with senior J.T. Nishimura.

For singles, the returning Bears are Lakat at No.1, Goransson at No.2, Bergevi at No.3, and Griffith at No.4. Freshman Hoffmann is playing at No.5. Freshman Connor Heap have taken over No.6, for the moment, from Nishimura.

The future is bright for the Golden Bears, as they welcome the No.1 recruiting class in the country (just edging Florida).

Welcome to the Cal family: Jacob Brumm, Paul Barretto, Jackson Suh, Ben Draper and Jack Mollo.

Bears will have this week off due to the weather. Big Slam has been postponed until February 9th.


Cal Women’s Tennis advances to ITA Indoor Final 16

Like their male counterparts, No.8 Cal Women’s Tennis only disposed the visiting Xavier (4-0) and Missouri (4-0) en route to securing a spot at the ITA Indoor National Championships Final 16 next weekend in New Haven, CT (hosted by Yale). Golden Bears are the defending champs for the ITA Indoor, winning that national title for the first time in program history last year.

The Bears are honored for last year's national indoor championship at the #BigGame

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

Golden Bears welcome graduate transfer Maya Jansen to the squad this year. Jansen is a two time NCAA doubles champions (the last two seasons, including over Cal’s Zsusanyi and Klara Fabikova in the championship match in 2015). She’s in the Cal graduate program for the School of Public Health.

Interestingly, Jansen is joining Maegan Manasse as the top Cal pair this year. Manasse and Denise Starr made the run to the NCAA doubles championships match before falling to a pair from Florida last year. The new 2017 lineup includes the pairing of Olivia Hauger and Karla Popovic as the No.2 pair. Starr is now pairing with freshman Alexis Nelson as Cal’s No.3 pair.

In singles, Manasse retains the top spot. After a very successful fall, Karla Popovic is firmly entrenched as the Cal No.2. Denise Starr remains Cal’s No.3. Sophomore Olivia Hauger has moved up from No.6 to No.4. Newcomer Maya Jansen is now playing as the Bears’ No.5. Freshman Maria Smith is currently holding the spot as Cal’s No.6 singles player.

Before traveling to New Haven, the Bears will take a shorter trip to SoCal this weekend to face off against No.3 Pepperdine and SDSU.

We shall see if I have the time and motivation (if I can also do some work at my Yale collaborators’ labs) to see the Bears in person next weekend. Regardless, the ITA Indoors will be streamed online and we will certainly have discussion threads should the Bears make the semifinal and beyond.


Cal Women’s Swimming bests the LA schools

Golden Bears had no problem defeating the two LA schools last weekend. Bears crushed USC 165-135 (winning 9 of 16 events, including 9 of 14 swimming events and both relays) on Friday before routing UCLA 165-128 (Bears won 13 events, including both relays) on Saturday.

Calympian Kathleen Baker set a new pool record in the 200 Back against USC. Given the long history of great backstrokers in Cal history, that’s quite a feat (even if the best swimming times have steadily been decreasing).

The 5 Bears who won 2 events apiece against UCLA were Amy Bilquist (100 Free, 200 Free), Calympian Noemie Thomas (100 Fly, 200 Fly), Calympian Abbey Weitzeil (50 Free, and somewhat surprising 100 Breast), Celina Li (500 Free and 400 IM), diver Phoebe LaMay (1m and 3m). The other Cal individual winner was Chenoa Devine in 1000 Free.

On both days, there were several Bears who posted top times that were not considered for the dual (not sure how Cal head coach Teri McKeever picked her lineups). Nonetheless, that should mean plenty of Golden Bears for the NCAA Championships which requires individuals to qualify by posting good enough times in official settings.

2012 London and 2016 Rio Calympian Farida Osman is highlighted in the Pac-12 network clip below:

Bears have one last home meet on the season when they host Stanford next Saturday on February 11th at noon PT on the Pac-12 Networks.


Cal Men’s Swimming hosts USC on Friday at 2pm PT

In the next to last home dual meet (the finale, Senior Day, is against Stanford on Saturday, February 18th at noon), the Golden Bears host the USC Trojans on Friday early afternoon.

This is your next to last chance to see Calympians Ryan Murphy and Long Gutierrez (both seniors) in action in Berkeley!


Cal Rugby stays undefeated (8-0)

A week after winning their home and PAC Rugby opener over Arizona, Bears had an even easier time against Utah after posting a 92-12 victory. Bears scored 12 tries in the first half while shutting out the Utes. Bears finished with 16 tries on the match. Sophomore fullback Troy Lockyear led the way with 5 tries in the first half.

A mostly reserve squad won the mid-week contest against California Maritime 87-0.

Golden Bears will next take on Santa Clara at Santa Clara on Saturday at 2 pm PT. Bears will then host ASU and Cal Poly on February 11th before the season’s first true test on February 18th at 2 pm PT (on the Pac-12 Networks) - when the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds come to Berkeley for the Bears’ home leg of the “World Cup” bout.


Cal Women’s Soccer welcomes No.3 class in the nation

Cal Women’s Soccer signed their own class of 11 student-athletes on Wednesday. After sending two more players (Ifeoma Onumonu and Arielle Ship) to the NWSL while still boasting USWNT superstar forward Alex Morgan as an alum, the Cal Women’s Soccer program again had a top tier signing class.

TopDrawer Soccer named this Cal class to be the 3rd best in the country, including 7 players ranked in the top 100 in the nation. Unfortunately, the top 2 classes are both Cal’s Pac-12 rival in Stanford (top ranked) and UCLA (2nd ranked).

Welcome to the Cal Family to all the new Golden Bears!

GO BEARS!