No. 25 Women's Gymnastics Goes to Pac-10 Championships

March 20, 2001

BERKELEY - A LOOK BACK: The Bears (15-9) capped off the regular season with a victory against San Jose State, 194.125-193.550. Cal dispatched the Spartans (7-6) early on with a great run on the balance beam. Led by senior Pari Olver, who scored a career high (9.925), the Bears had just enough to fend off the Spartans' late rally on the floor where they took the top-three spots.

Sophomore Lindsay Baker and freshman Karissa Chock joined Olver in recording personal bests last Friday evening. Baker, who has been performing in the all-around of late, was rested against SJSU participating in everything but the vault. The rest may have helped as she notched two new highs scoring a 9.850 on both the vault and the beam.

Chock has been hampered by some injuries in her first collegiate season. She was recruited as an all-around competitor, but has been limited to the beam and floor exercise thus far. But in last weeks meet, like Baker, Chock also set a career high on two events. The native of Huntington Beach pulled in a score of 9.750 on the beam and a 9.800 on the floor.

POSTSEASON OR BUST: With the conclusion of Cal's last regular season, the team now sees itself jockeying for position with other schools in the 13-team Western Region coming down the home stretch. Most teams will be attending conference championships this week, the last scoring entry that will be counted into the Regional Qualifying Score (RQS). For a team to qualify for the NCAA Regionals, it must be one of the top 18 teams in the country, or be among the top five in its respective region. Those 18 teams will be dispersed into different regions while the five qualifying teams from each region go to the host site of their respective regions. Although it will be difficult for the Bears to gain one of the 18 bids, as the current No. 5 team in the West, if Cal is able to maintain a good score through the conference championships it will be sent to Los Angeles for the regionals.

BEARS IN SLUMP?: Cal started off the season on the wrong foot scoring what is now its season low of 191.650 at Denver. Fortunately, the Bears set themselves straight on an upward path scoring near or above the 195 mark in four of six meets after the opening meet. They topped off the stretch with an all-time best score of 196.075 set against, then No. 5 Stanford, Feb. 18 in Berkeley. The Bears didn't let down in meets shortly thereafter, posting a 194.875 at Arizona State, a 195.575 at UC Davis and a 195.025 against No. 1 UCLA. But in its last two meets, Cal saw its scores dip to a 194.700 at UC Davis and then to a 194.125 last week at SJSU. It could be a trend credited to the wear and tear of the season or to key injuries, but head coach Trina Tinti did not pin the to low scores on those excuses. 'It's a combination of things,' she said. 'Sometimes we had a poor performance in the meets and the scores reflected that. Other times we did well, but the scoring (by judges) wasn't reflective of our performance. At San Jose State, we did do poorly and the scores came out that way, but in our last meet against Davis, I thought we performed one of our best meets but didn't receive a score that reflected the performance.'

The effort put out against the Spartans, in Tinti's words, could just be an anomaly that the Bears could rebound from, not a dangerous trend going into the Pac-10 Championships.

FRESHMEN IMPROVING IN THE TWILIGHT OF 2001 SEASON: What a way to start off your collegiate career. Have a good first semester of training, then when gymnastic season is about to begin, you wind up with an injury that puts you on the shelf for the first half of the season. That's the story of Karissa Chock, one of two freshmen this year. She injured her elbow in preseason not to recover until the middle of the season. Her college debut came against a No. 5-ranked Stanford squad and in the spotlight of a televised meet. Chock went on the beams and didn't even flinch, she just did her routine and came away with a 9.575. Chock, recruited as an all-arounder, has gone on to performing in two events (beam and floor) regularly in the second half with improving scores.

'Karissa is doing really well,' said coach Tinti. 'She's coming on strong. She started vaulting again in practice, which is a good sign. It's quite possible that she could participate in that event in the (NCAA) regionals.'

With the addition of the vault to her repertoire, she is that much closer to coming full circle as an all-around competitor. Even though Chock will not finish her freshman campaign doing all four events in one meet, watch out for her in 2002 as a healthy and experienced sophomore.

WHAT'S AHEAD: The Bears will travel to the great northwest this weekend to attend the Pac-10 Championships hosted by the University of Washington in Seattle. The conference championship has a big impact on the fate of the conference teams in the NCAA postseason. All seven teams in the conference are in contention for a postseason berth. Like Cal, most teams will be gunning to be included among the top 18 teams in the country. If the Bears do not make it to that elite group, they will face the prospect of staying in the Western Region to go up against region host, No.1 UCLA.

Currently, Cal, with an RQS of 195.130, is seventh in the Pac-10, .06 points behind Arizona (195.190).

INJURY REPORT: Junior Kristine Kaibara and freshman Stephanie Kim will join Genine Ishino, who is out for the season, on the bench for the Pac-10 Championships. Kim is still nursing a bad back while Kaibara is recovering from a hyper extended knee suffered on the vault against UCLA.

THE COACHES: Head coach Trina Tinti is in her fourth season with the Golden Bears and has a 25-36 career record. During her tenure at Cal, nine different records (six team, three individual) were broken. In Tinti's third year, the Bears broke the team record of 194.325 four separate times with the new mark being just shy of 196 at 195.975. This year, the Bears overtook that record as Cal posted a 196.075 on Feb. 18 against No. 5 Stanford. Former Cal gymnast Jennifer Bialosky is in her third year on Tinti's staff, first year as an assistant coach.

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