Cal Looks to Get Back in the Win Column Against Washington

Jan. 22, 2008

BERKELEY -

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Bears Kickoff Conference Play at Home
The California women's gymnastics team continues conference play with its first road Pac-10 meet of the season against Washington Friday, Jan. 25, at 7 p.m. in Seattle, Wash. The Golden Bears fell to No. 20 Arizona State last weekend in the home and Pac-10 opener, as Cal fell to 2-1, 0-1 on the season. Cal advanced to the NCAA West Regional last year for the first time as a team since 2004. The Golden Bears made the postseason after garnering a regular-season record of 8-9.

National Rankings
Cal fell to just outside the Top 30 at No. 31 in this week's Troester national poll, after cracking the Top 25 for the first time since 2005 last week. The Bears currently stand in sixth in the Pac-10 poll. In the national event rankings, Cal is No. 17 on bars and No. 17 on beam. Senior Siobhan Luce and junior Joanna Bennett are currently tied in the national rankings for bars at No. 24.

Cal Falls to Arizona State in Pac-10 Opener
Cal lost its home opener to No. 23 Arizona State last Sunday at Haas Pavilion. The Bears finished with a final score of 191.750, while the Sun Devils (1-3, 1-0) secured a mark of 195.175. Cal won two events, bars and beam, despite suffering the loss. In the all-around, sophomore Sophia Hocini was first among Cal gymnasts with a score of 38.475, with Luce second on the team at 38.250 and Bennett third with 37.750. Arizona State's Nicole Harris won the all-around with a final score of 39.325. Making her return after battling injuries, junior Bridgette Glass notched a 9.800 on bars. Fellow junior Jessica Kelley also scored a 9.800 on bars.

New Personal Bests Reached Against Sun Devils
Joanna Bennett, Sophia Hocini, Siobhan Luce and senior Keiko Nakamura each hit new personal bests against Arizona State.
Bennett and Nakamura hit their new PRs with event-winning performances. Bennett Bennett took top honors on bars with a personal best of 9.900 and Nakamura also reached a new PR with her mark of 9.850 to take first on beam. Her 9.900 score on bars was also the highest score of the meet for both teams.
Bennett also hit a new personal best on beam with her score of 9.825, second only to Nakamura. Luce also reached a new PR, finishing second on bars with a mark of 9.875, while Hocini also hit her new personal best on bars (9.650).

Pink Meet
One Cal home meet will once again be designated as the women's gymnastics' breast cancer awareness meet. The 2008 Pink Meet will be the Feb. 10 contest against No. 11 Oregon State. The Golden Bear gymnasts will solicit flat donations or pledges for every Cal score of 9.5 and above. Cal will donate all money earned to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation Bay Area affiliate in the hopes of raising funds to eradicate breast cancer as a life-threatening disease through research, education, screening and treatment. Fans are encouraged to wear pink and 'pink-out' Haas Pavilion, while the Bears don pink leotards for the event.

Scouting the Huskies
Washington welcomes Cal still looking for its first win of the season. The Huskies are currently 0-2 and dropped their Pac-10 opener at Oregon State last weekend, 195.625-191.425. This Friday's meet also marks the 2008 home opener for Washington. In the meet against the Beavers, freshman Haley Bogart from the Huskies came in first on beam.

Cal Inks Two Newcomers for 2009
Shana Johnson (Castro Valley / Bishop O'Dowd High School) and Erica Varon (Torrance / Redondo Union High School) have signed National Letters of Intent to attend Cal in the fall of 2008.
Johnson, a member of the Novato Gymnastics Club, finished second at the 2005 Level 9 Westerns on vault and floor. One week before competing at the 2007 regionals, Johnson dislocated her left knee, but was still able to finish 13th out of 30 in the all-around. Hoping eventually to start a career in the sports medicine field, Johnson was a member of the California Scholarship Federation and made the honor roll in high school.
Varon, who intends to major in neurobiology, has twice won the California State Championship in the all-around and is a two-time Junior Olympic National qualifier. Varon competed for the Josephson Academy of Gymnastics, for which she garnered the Most Improved Award in 2001 and the Toughest Competitor Award in 2003. She earned an academic letter last year and made the Principal's High Honor Roll.

Did You Know
Jessica Kelley came to Cal with an already impressive resume, winning numerous regional and state titles, including the 2005 NorCal state championships in the all-around, vault, bars and floor.

Up Next
The Bears stay the road next week, heading to Tucson, Ariz. to face the Wildcats Friday, Feb. 1, at 7:30 p.m. They return to Berkeley the following week for the 2008 Pink Meet against Oregon State Sunday, Feb. 10, at 2 p.m. at Haas Pavilion.

Head Coach Cari DuBois
In her sixth year at California, head coach Cari DuBois has reshaped the women's gymnastics program from the day she arrived on campus. DuBois has posted a 48-59 record at Cal. Also, she was named the 2003 Pac-10 Co-Coach of the year and the 2003 West Regional Coach of the Year. Last season, DuBois guided the Bears to the NCAA West Regional, held at Cal's Haas Pavilion, and ended the campaign with a final ranking of 26. Earlier during her tenure, she led Cal to its first back-to-back dual-meet winning seasons since 1991-92 and led the 2003 Bears to their highest NCAA-regional finish (fourth) since 1992. In 2004, the Bears finished fifth at the NCAA regionals, the program's best back-to-back postseason showings since 1991-92. Prior to coming to Berkeley, DuBois worked as an assistant for nine years (six at West Virginia and three at Cal under Alfie Mitchell). DuBois also has spent time instructing and choreographing routines at several gymnastics camps and clubs nationwide. DuBois graduated from Ball State in 1992 with a degree in exercise science and wellness and holds a master's degree in athletic coaching from West Virginia.

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