The tremendous 2018 Cal Women’s Gymnastics season will continue from the Show Me state as the Golden Bears have earned a berth in the NCAA national championship that will take place in St. Louis on April 20th and 21st at Chaifetz Arena.
A closer look at the totals from the NCAA Salt Lake City Regional ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/gwEFivFzn5— Cal Gymnastics (@CalWGym) April 8, 2018
Bears finished with a program best at the NCAA Regional score of 196.725 (better than the previous record set last year in a 5th place Regional finish) which is good for 2nd place in this Regional behind only host Utah. Bears were 0.2 points ahead of Auburn and finished ahead of Stanford for the 4th time in the 2018 season (NorCal Classic, regular season dual meet, Pac-12 Championships, and now the NCAA Regional).
The Bears open today's competition with a 49.125 on beam, including three-straight 9.85s to close the rotation.— Cal Gymnastics (@CalWGym) April 7, 2018
Individual scores: pic.twitter.com/agHoCwUygx
A 49.400 on floor, matching the fourth-highest floor total in school history! pic.twitter.com/Mt5QNEbo9h— Cal Gymnastics (@CalWGym) April 7, 2018
Bears hit on 23 of 24 routines with the lone blemish coming on the very last routine. Fortunately for the Bears, Auburn’s anchor also had a blemish to ensure that there were not going to be any surprises at this meet.
Both Toni-Ann Williams and Kyana George finished in the top 10 as Williams earned 39.400 for fifth and George got 39.325 for ninth.
It will be very interesting to see just how well the Golden Bears can stack up against the best in the country on a neutral gym. Golden Bears’ team trip to the NCAA national championship in 2016 came without star Toni-Ann Williams (who was away to qualify for the Rio Olympics). Cal Women’s Gymnastics will be at full strength for this year’s meet; I would not be shocked if the 9th ranked Bears can finish in the top 6.
ROLL ON YOU BEARS!
Against a familiar field in a relatively familiar setting, No.9 Cal Women’s Gymnastics will look for, at the minimum, a berth to the NCAA National Championship in St. Louis, Missouri on April 20th-21st. In other word, the Golden Bears want to finish in the Top 2 as a team. Golden Bears last qualified for the NCAA National Championship as a team back in 2016 when they finished 2nd behind host Alabama in the Tuscaloosa Regional, ending a 24-year drought.
What was unique about 2016 was that the Golden Bears were not at full strength at the NCAA as superstar Toni-Ann Williams had to go elsewhere on that same weekend to successfully qualify for the 2016 Rio games to present Jamaica. Williams advanced to the NCAA championships as an individual in 2015 but missed the bulk of the 2017 season after an early season injury (then senior Desiree Palomares did qualify as a beam specialist) - which also earns her another year of eligibility in 2019.
With a huge, historic home win over Utah from Haas Pavilion earlier this year, Golden Bears may have their sight set on possibly winning this Regional over host Utah Red Rocks. Fellow Pac-12 squad Stanford is also in this regional, but the next two ranked teams alongside No.9 Cal and No.4 Utah are No. 16 Auburn and No.21 BYU.
Should the Bears perform up to their standard - which is a team score of around 197.0 points (achieving which will also be an all-time best score for Cal at a Regional). They should have no problem advancing.
Golden Bears will begin in beam, then proceed to floor and vault before ending on the uneven bars. There will also be two rotation of breaks at this Regional.
This was the same rotation for the Bears as at the Pac-12 Championships, where they placed 3rd behind UCLA and Utah. Expect the same lineup.
Toni-Ann Williams and freshman Kyana George will be the two all-arounders. Bears’ lineup featured a nice blend of veteran experiences and youth (three freshmen, one sophomore, three juniors, four seniors).
NCAA Salt Lake City Regional
Where: Jon M. Huntsman Center (Salt Lake City, UT)
When: Saturday April 7th (3 pm PT)
Live stream: Utah video stream
Live stats: Sidearm Stats