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No. 9 Cal Falls To No. 3 Utah In Tight Affair

Feb 26, 2021


SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH – No. 9 California women's gymnastics recorded the second-best beam score in school history, but it wasn't enough to topple No. 4 Utah on Friday night at the Jon M. Huntsman Center as the Utes won, 197.325-197.125.
All six gymnasts in Cal's beam rotation recorded at least a 9.875, led by Kyana George's 9.925 mark and Maya Bordas' 9.90. Cal totaled a 49.450, a mark the Bears have only bettered when the team notched a 49.475 at the Cal Quad Meet on March 17, 2019. It was also the sixth-best beam score by any team in the country this season.
"What was so special about our beam rotation, is that they performed even though warm-ups were not great," co-head coach Justin Howell said. "But warm-ups are warm-ups. We focused on the task and how to do it, which we have talked about with the team constantly. We are there to compete against ourselves and continue to get better. They didn't let warm-ups or the team score affect them. They stayed in the moment and delivered six great performances."

Cal needed all of those points on the final rotation as they sought to get back in the competition. The Bears led after one rotation by the narrowest possible margin, 49.200-49.175. The Bears won the second rotation by the same margin, 49.275-49.250, to take a .050 lead into the second half of the meet. Utah posted a 49.500 on the beam to take a lead after three rotations as Cal posted a 49.200 on floor. However, Utah was able to maintain the lead through the final rotation as Cal lost for the first time in 2021.
Cal had four of the top six scores on the vault. Salt Lake City native Milan Clausi won the competition with the only 9.90 of the first two rotations. It was a season-high score for Clausi as she won her first event of the season and 12th of her career. Kyana George and Nevaeh DeSouza both recorded 9.875 scores as they tied for second place.
"We vaulted really well," Howell said. "We didn't have a lot of stuck landings, but they were huge, powerful, technically-sound vaults. If we did stick the landings we would have seen a couple of 9.95 vaults."
Nina Schank and Maya Green tied with Maile O'Keefe and Crystal Isa from Utah as all four gymnasts notched 9.875 scores to top the uneven bars competition. Green equaled a career high with that score and also claimed her first career win.  
"Maya Green was super-clutch on the uneven bars," Howell said. "Kyana fell which meant that everyone else had to hit. Maya being in the sixth spot, she had to hit that routine. It was a lot of pressure and she didn't let it get to her. She delivered a beautiful routine, something she can put in the confidence bank and continue to grow from."
George took third place with a 9.875 score on the floor exercise while Clausi matched her season high with a 9.850.
DeSouza finished second in the all-around as she totaled a 39.375 by posting 9.875 marks on both the vault and beam. Bordas took third in the all-around with a 39.350 mark thanks to her standout beam score.
"This meet was awesome for their confidence," Howell said. "The last few years that we've competed head-to-head with Utah, we've either beaten them or it's come down to a small margin. We know we can compete with the best teams in the country. We're not going into competitions and getting smaller, we're rising to the occasion and going routine-for-routine with them, which is huge for our confidence."
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