Bears Finish Season with No. 25 Ranking
April 22, 2004
BERKELEY - The 2004 season was an upward stride for the Bears. Cal accomplished such feats as being ranked in the final Top 25 and setting school records in the uneven bars (49.550), the balance beam (49.300) and the floor exercise (49.425). Cal also established an all-time best team all-around score versus Ball State (196.800) and team members set 30 individual career bests during the year.
After a turn-around 2003 season, head coach Cari DuBois knew she had a top-notch squad to work with this past season. With help from key contributors such as seniors Karissa Chock and Stephanie Kim, and junior My-Lan Dodd, the Bears are inching closer and closer to their goal of an NCAA championships team appearance.
The star of the 2004 season was none other than Dodd. The Seattle native conquered the incredible challenge of bringing home the gold on beam at the Pac-10 championships with a 9.95 - just the fourth individual champion in school history. She not only helped her team out at the Pac-10 meet, but also competed in every event at every single meet of the season, usually placing in the top three. The Bears also relied on the duo of Kim and Chock. Both women consistently performed in the all-around and averaged scores of 38.870 and 38.612, respectively. Kim's most impressive night came at Senior Night when she placed first with a personal record of 39.650.
The Bears also had some mid-season assistance from sophomore Britani Pittullo. After an early season injury, Pittullo returned to action at the Feb. 27 meet versus Boise State. She immediately made an impact, notching a 9.825 on beam to contribute to Cal's record-setting performance. Pittullo is also a strong all-around competitor who averaged a 39.000 this season. In addition, junior Miho Maeda shined this season in the all-around. Maeda set personal bests of 9.875 on bars and 9.825 on the floor exercise to aid the Bears in their success.
Cal was fortunate to have several event specialists who were able to make an impact. Sophomore Monique Chang was an immaculate performer who regularly scored 9.925 or better on the uneven bars and floor exercise. Junior Lauren Shipp also had some top finishes on vault, uneven bars and balance beam. Her best performance came at the upset of Oregon State in January when she won the vault with a 9.95, while she placed third at NCAA regionals on beam with a 9.90.
The 2004 freshman class was able to provide depth to a squad with older solid performers. Isabel Garcia saw the most time this season performing on the balance beam and the floor exercise. Hawaii-native Elyse Wong also stood out on both vault and floor. The final member of the rookie trio, Justine Cephus, saw limited time, but did make one appearance on the floor exercise. These young Bears should be key competitors in the upcoming seasons.
Outside of the gym, the Bears also were making their mark. Dodd earned second team Pac-10 All-Academic honors for the second time, while Kim and Chock were voted to All-Academic honorable mention.
Overall, 2004 was a year of transition. The Bears improved their rankings and scores and were able to begun showing the nation what Cal gymnastics is all about. The trends brought upon by DuBois' tutelage show that Cal is continually making more NCAA regional and national appearances and becoming a strength not only in the Pac-10, but also on the national circuit.