Cal Heads South for meet at No. 2 UCLA

Jan. 20, 2009


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Bears Head South to Take on No. 2The California Golden Bears women's gymnastics team, coming off last weekend's third-place finish at a tri-meet featuring the then-ranked No. 5 Arkansas Razorbacks and No. 13 Oregon State Beavers, face another tough road trip this week, going to Westwood for a dual against the No. 2 team in the nation, the UCLA Bruins. The Bruins rose to No. 2 in this week's Troester rankings. In all, the Pac-10 has five teams in the top-25 this week, with Arizona State and Washington both moving up the list and into the top-25. Cal is presently ranked No. 59.

Improvements The individual Bear gymnasts had 11 scores improve on events over their season-opening marks against Sac State and Davis. Sophomore Avery Gee led the team in improvements, with Gee improving on three of her four events. The only event she did not improve on was the beam where she scored a 9.625 for the second straight week. Gee also scored a career-best on the bars. Junior Sophia Hocini was the top-finisher in the all-around for the Bears, improving on her last week's all-around score. Hocini scored a 9.700 on the beam, the best for any Bear on that apparatus this season.

The Rookie Freshman Erica Varon competed in all four events this week, posting the first all-around score of her Cal career.

The Comeback Senior Joanna Bennett, who suffered a season-ending injury two meets into the 2008 season, was back in full force in Oregon. Bennett had only competed in one event, the beam, in the season-opener, but was back in all four Friday night. Bennett posted a 9.675 in her season-debut on the bars, the second highest score in the event for a Bear this season.

Injury Updates The Bears top all-arounder from the season opener, Jessica Kelley, suffered an elbow injury in practice last week and is out for the season. Kelley was one of Cal's four representatives at the 2008 NCAA West Regionals, placing 13th in the All-Around.

Pink Meet One Cal home meet will once again be designated as the women's gymnastics' breast cancer awareness meet. The 2009 Pink Meet will be the Feb. 22 contest against No. 7 Stanford. 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 No. 2 Bruins

Scouting the BruinsThe UCLA Bruins moved up to No. 2 in the national rankings after they posted a 196.375 against Arizona last weekend. The began their season with a tough loss at Utah. Against Arizona, the Bruin gymnasts had career-high marks on 16 of 24 routines, Freshman Vanessa Zamarripa led all competitors with a career-high 39.4 in the all-around, and sophomore Mizuki Sato posted wins on vault and floor with career-best marks of 9.9 on each event. Freshman Aisha Gerber was awarded the first-ever Pac-10 Special Performance of the Week honor for her 9.9 meet-winning balance beam routine in the Bruins' season opener at Utah. Gerber commenced her collegiate career with stunning proficiency, capturing first place honors on the balance beam with a 9.9

Cal Inks Six Newcomers For 2010 The California women's gymnastics team has signed six recruits to National Letter of Intent for the 2010 season. Nicolette Lew (Chino Hills, Calif.) was a Level 10 national and regional qualifier in 2008 and 2007. As a national qualifier, she took sixth on vault in 2008 and placed 19th in the all-around in 2007. Stina Olivere (Naperville, Ill.) was a four-time Level 10 state/regional qualifier and a three-time Level 9 state/regional qualifier, including a championship on bars at nationals. Arla Rosenzweig (Los Altos, Calif.) won the state championship on floor last year and was a regional qualifier. In 2006, she was the all-around state champion and the regional bars champion. Chelsea Spomer (Forestville, Calif.) was a three-time level 10 regional qualifier and a 2008 first alternate for nationals. She placed third in the all around at the state championships in 2008 and was also the Level 8 regional vault champion. Madisyn O'Brien (Sebastopol, Calif.) was a 2008 Level 10 national qualifier and a three-time Level 10 regional qualifier, including taking fourth in the all-around and second on bars in 2008. and Mariesah Pierce (Aptos, Calif.) took third on floor at national last year, and competed at nationals throughout her high school career. She also took second in the all-around at regionals in 2007 and 2008.

Up Next After facing this pair of top-25 teams, it doesn't get any easier for the Bears. They next head to Los Angeles where they will face the No. 3 UCLA Bruins. The Bears compete at Pauley Pavilion, the home gym of the Pac-10 leaders, at 2 p.m. on Sunday, January 25.

Head Coach Cari DuBois In her seventh 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 66-74 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 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.

Did You Know Junior Sophia Hocini had the strongest perfomance of her career at the 2008 NCAA West Regional, finishing ninth in the all-around with a career-best 38.700.

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