No. 11 Bears Qualify For NCAA Championships
BERKELEY – For the seventh consecutive season, the No. 11 California men's gymnastics team qualified for the NCAA Championships, as announced by the NCAA Men's Gymnastics Committee on Tuesday.
The NCAA Championships will be held on April 16 and 17 from Maturi Pavilion in Minneapolis, Minnesota. On Friday, April 16, Cal will compete in the evening qualifying session at 5 p.m. PT, and the championship round begins on Saturday, April 17, at 5 p.m. PT. Three teams and the top three all-around competitors not on one of the qualifying teams, plus the top three individuals on each event not already qualified on a team or as an all-around competitor, will advance to Saturday's finals session.
"I'm really excited and happy for this team to have qualified for the NCAA Championships," head coach JT Okada said. "It's been a long road with all the challenges from the pandemic to training, and for this team to have shown the consistency that they have and qualify speaks volumes to their resiliency and dedication."
The Golden Bears will be joined at the NCAA meet with fellow MPSF foes No. 1 Oklahoma and No. 3 Stanford, along with individual qualifiers from Air Force.
Cal finished the regular season with a fourth-place finish at the MPSF Championships on April 3. The Golden Bears went 5-3 in dual meets during the regular season, including a victory over NCAA-Championship qualifying team William & Mary.
Regular-season highlights include freshman Noah Newfeld garnering CGA Rookie of the Week honors four times during his rookie campaign, most recently picking up the award for the fourth time on Tuesday. Will Lavanakul was tabbed the CGA Specialist of the Week after notching a career-best 14.250 on pommel horse that currently ranks tied for sixth in the nation. Yu-Chen Lee was also named MPSF Gymnast of the Week twice.
Team captain Caleb Rickard reached the podium at the MPSF Championships last week after he notched a career-best score of 14.650 on vault for the second time this season. The score is Cal's best individual score of the 2021 season and ranks tied for first in program history.
In 2019, Cal didn't advance past the Day 1 qualifying session, but Aaron Mah and Darren Wong advanced to the second day's all-around finals, with Wong finishing 13th overall and Mah 15th. The 2020 NCAA Championships were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Cal has won the NCAA title four times in program history, most recently with back-to-back championships in 1997 and 1998. The last time a Cal individual won a national title was Glen Ishino in 2012 on pommel horse.