2003: The Year in Review
May 9, 2003
Berkeley, Calif. - This 2003 season was one of historic note for the California women's gymnastics team. Under the guidance of first-year head coach, Co-Pac-10 Coach of the Year and West Regional Coach of the Year, Cari DuBois, the 2003 Golden Bear squad achieved the program's second best turnaround in school history - finishing with a 12-5 record after last year's disappointing 5-9 finish. The team also made its first appearance in the NCAA Regionals since 2001, finishing with a fourth place showing - its best finish since taking third place in 1992.
As a team, besides finishing with a No. 18 national ranking, the 2003 Bears achieved their place in California lore, recording the Top 4 highest team scores of all-time, capped off by a 196.800 in an upset victory over then-ranked No. 18 Arizona (3/7/03). The squad also posted the Top 4 all-time scores on the vault and Top 2 all-time on the beam.
The most notable competitions include the Feb. 21 tri-meet with Washington and Sacramento State and the dual-meet with Arizona on March 7. Against Washington and Sacramento State, Cal posted a season high mark on bars (49.250), while also tallying a school-record score on vault (49.375). In the upset victory over Arizona, the Bears continued the trend, claiming the school-record on beam (49.250) en route to the top all-around score of all-time (196.800).
Individually, the Golden Bears recorded one of the most successful seasons ever, with every gymnast recording personal-best marks while eight of its 11-members tallied Top 5 all-time marks in their events. Sophomore My-Lan Dodd was the most consistent of all Cal gymnasts, competing in every meet and the all-around in 13 of 14 competitions. The native of Seattle, Wash. rewrote the California history books this year, besting her previous school record of 39.325 in the all-around on five separate occasions, including the current Cal record 39.675 posted at Arizona State's inaugural UNO Classic (2/28). In addition, she tallied personal-best marks in every event, most recently grabbing a 9.925 on the floor at the Pac-10 Championships for a ninth-place finish. Dodd's individual performance earned her a spot as an individual all-around competitor at the NCAA Championships - only the fifth Golden Bear in school history to achieve that recognition and first since 1994. Her run ended early as she did not qualify for the final round with a 23rd place showing, but she did however claim a 13th place finish with her bar routine. Dodd's excellent season did not go unnoticed as she received multiple honors including, Inside Gymnastics Gymnast of the Week (2/23-3/2) and Pac-10 Gymnast of the Week (3/9-3/15). She now owns a share of first place on Cal's all-time list for vault (9.950) and beam (9.950), second on floor (9.925) and third on bars (9.925).
Dodd carried her success into the post-season, claiming a seventh-place finish at the Pac-10 Championships with the third best all-around score of her career (39.500). She capped of the team competition by placing fourth (39.275) at the NCAA North Central Regional Championships, good enough for a spot at the NCAA National Championships - only the fifth Golden Bear to ever accomplish this feat, and first since 1994.
Several other returning gymnasts also benefited from a fresh new start, including senior tri-captain Janet McKnight, junior tri-captains Stephanie Kim and Karissa Chock and sophomores Miho Maeda and Lauren Shipp.
The lone senior on this year's squad, McKnight completed her finest season in her four years as a Cal gymnast. The Lafayette, Calif. product recorded career-high marks in all three of her events (V, UB, FX), including a 9.850 floor routine at the Pac-10 Championships. As one of five gymnasts to compete in every meet for the Bears, McKnight brought consistency to the table every meet, recording a 9.800 or better on seven of 11 bar routines and a 9.850 or better on seven of 11 vault routines.
The second tri-captain, Stephanie Kim, led by example, competing in 10 of 11 meets this year while tallying career-highs in three of four events and the all-around. Kim was especially proficient on the floor, as she accumulated a 9.855 average to lead the team. Chock had a slow start to her 2003 campaign, but ultimately claimed career-best marks on both bars and beam. The Huntington Beach product capped off her season with possibly her best performance of the year at the NCAA Regional Championships, taking an eighth place finish in the all-around with a season best mark of 38.925.
Maeda was another full-time contributor, competing in every meet for the Bears. The sophomore from Granada Hills, Calif. posted career marks in all three of her events (UB, BB, FX) while recording a new school record score (9.950) on the beam at the UNO Classic. Shipp, who sat out most of last season due to injury, became a key contributor this year, recording personal best marks on both vault (9.850) and beam (9.875). She posted her strongest performance of the year at the Pac-10 Championships with an 11th place finish on beam (9.875) and 22nd on vault (9.800).
A trio of freshman also made great strides in 2003, as Monique Chang, Britani Pittullo and Anja Garcia all contributed immensely to this season's amazing turnaround. Chang, a seasoned international competitor before coming to Berkeley, showed off her talents in her first year of collegiate competition, posting a university record score on the vault (9.950). The Fairfax, VA native competed in every meet while averaging a 9.873 on vault - good for best on the team and No. 21 in the nation. Pittullo, one of four gymnasts to compete in the all-around, also competed in at least one event in every competition for the Bears. Especially proficient in the floor exercise with a 9.731 season average, Pittullo's 9.900 floor mark vs. Arizona State (2/28) is good for third place in school history. Garcia was also a consistent contributor in her inaugural campaign, competing in nine of 11 meets on beam and four on vault.