No. 6 Cal Dispatches Huskies
SEATTLE – The Cal women's gymnastics team came into Wednesday's midweek meet at Washington coming off a historic performance vs. UCLA over the weekend where the Bears set a program record score and tied an NCAA record on uneven bars. They did not disappoint in their encore performance as they easily dispatched the Huskies by a 197.225-196.525 margin to win their sixth dual meet of the season at Alaska Airlines Arena at Hec Edmundson Pavilion on Wednesday afternoon.
Nevaeh DeSouza won three individual events and the all-around as she claimed the title on the uneven bars, vault and the beam. She won the vault with a score 9.925, the third time this year she has hit that mark, which equals her career high. DeSouza was also one of three Bears to score a 9.875 on the uneven bars, which was good for first place. The sophomore also scored a 9.90 on the beam to claim another title. Overall, she tallied a 39.550 score in the all-around to claim her third all-around title of the season.
"This was a test and they passed," co-head coach Justin Howell said. "With the short turnaround, travel and not having a lot of time in the gym; a lot of it is about recovery management and being efficient. I thought they did a good job of that. There were some areas where our performances were a little flat, where they weren't drilling routines like we did on Saturday. But to get on the road, and score above a 197 is a testament to what this team is consistently capable of. I think this is a really good benchmark; we weren't firing on all cylinders and we are still in the 197's and we improved our NQS. I think that's a really positive sign as we head into the postseason."
Andi Li had one of the best meets of her young career as the freshman completed her second career all-around competition with a score of 39.500 as she took second place. She set personal bests on the balance beam and floor exercise with 9.90 marks. She won the beam competition, while taking second on floor, third on vault and fourth on bars; a comprehensive performance for the freshman.
"Seeing Andi post a 39.500 score in only her second time in the all-around was encouraging," Howell said. "We made a change on her floor routine that paid off big, she did a double pike instead of a full twisting double pike. It's an easier element and she has a huge beautiful double pike that she can land well, and that's exactly what she did. It's exciting to see her starting to find herself in college gymnastics."
Grace Quinn posted a 9.900 on the floor exercise, the second straight meet that she has stuck a 9.90 floor routine to begin the floor lineup. She tied her career high and took second place.
"That's so huge for us to be able to start off with a leadoff routine on floor with a 9.90," Howell said. "Grace has just been better and more secure with her landings than she was earlier in the season. Her elements are big, her leaps are huge. Her performance quality of the routine is fantastic. When you put all those together, you're in the 9.90's and she's starting to figure that out."
Alma Kuc and Nina Schank tied with DeSouza on the bars to make it a three-way split for first place as all three tallied 9.875 marks. Kyana George claimed a first-place finish on the balance beam with her 12th 9.90+ score of the season as she was one of three Bears to score a 9.90 on the event.
The Bears will return to Haas Pavilion for a Sunday afternoon rematch against Washington. Cal will be celebrating their senior class of Alma Kuc, Kyana George, Victoria Salem, Nina Schank and Emi Watterson in a pre-meet ceremony.
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