California Competes Against National Powers

March 4, 2005


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This Week:March 4 vs. No. 3 Utah, No. 6 Florida, No. 28 StanfordSalt Lake City (Huntsman Center), 6:00 p.m.

WHAT'S ON TAP: The California women's gymnastics team competes against No. 3 Utah, No. 6 Florida and No. 28 Stanford - unquestionably the Bears toughest competition of 2005. All three clubs qualified for the 2004 NCAA Championships and are loaded with individual talent. Meet time at the Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City is 6 p.m. PST.

ALL IS WELLS: With five Bears out for the season due to injury, Cal's four freshmen have been given an opportunity to make an early mark. One of those rising stars is Auckland, New Zealand, native Nicki Wells, who has posted career highs in Cal's last two meets. Her top and most consistent meet came in the Bears' narrow 191.225-190.875 loss to Washington Feb. 18. Wells, the 2003 New Zealand all-around champion, finished second in the all-around at 38.225, highlighted by a 9.675 on bars and a 9.550 on beam. On Feb. 25 at Oregon State, she also posted career highs on vault (9.625) and floor (9.700).

SCOUTING THIS WEEK'S OPPONENTS: No. 3 Utah boasts three of the top 10 all-arounders in the nation in freshman Ashley Postell (39.425), senior Annabeth Eberle (39.225) and sophomore Nicolle Ford (39.221). With 9.861 averages on beam, Postell and Ford rank in the top 10 and Postell's 9.889 average on floor is 11th. Teammate Rachel Tidd's 9.896 average on bars is tied for second in the country. As a team, the Utes are second on bars (49.153), third on balance beam (49.034), sixth on floor (39.134) and tied for sixth on vault (49.159). Cal is 0-2 against Utah ... Florida's Breanne King is 14th in the all-around at 39.209. The sophomore's 9.853 average is 16th on beam and King leads a pack of top 25 Gators in sophomore Savannah Evans (20th on floor, 9.806), freshman Tiffany Murry (22nd on vault, 9.856) and sophomore Samantha Lutz (T-25th on bars, 9.816). Florida leads the all-time series 1-0 ... This is Cal's first meeting with Stanford after the Cardinal pulled out of a year-opening quad meet slated for Jan. 14, opting instead to delay the beginning of their season. The Cardinal have posted the 28th-best team score in the nation, led by a 48.704 bars score.

MEET IN REVIEW (2/18/05): Senior My-Lan Dodd won the all-around title with a season-high 39.200, which included a first-place finish on bars (9.825) and a second-place showing on vault (9.825), but Cal (190.925) couldn't overcome a dominating performance from Oregon State in splitting with the Beavers (195.925) and Seattle Pacific (190.300) ... Cal set a new season-high score of 48.325 on vault, as all five Bears scored a 9.600 or higher ... sophomore Isabel Garcia's 9.650 on vault was a new career high ... new Cal season highs during the meet included senior Lauren Shipp on beam (9.750) and bars (9.650); freshman Siobhan Luce on vault (9.700) and Dodd on beam (9.825).

HOME-MAT ADVANTAGE: For the first time in the structure's history, Haas Pavilion will play host to the 2005 Pac-10 Gymnastics Championships. The best in the west will convene in Berkeley, March 26 at 3 p.m.

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