Cal Coaching Staff Honored With Regional Awards
BOWLING GREEN, Ohio – Cal women's gymnastics co-head coaches Justin Howell and Elisabeth Crandall-Howell were named Region 6 Co-Coaches of the Year and Janelle McDonald is the Region 6 Assistant Coach of the Year the Women's Collegiate Gymnastics Association (WCGA) announced on Thursday.
The announcement meant the Bears swept the WCGA Region 6 Awards after Cal senior Kyana George was named the WCGA Region 6 Gymnast of the Year on Tuesday and Josh Hummel was named the WCGA Region 6 Administrator of the Year on Wednesday.
It is the sixth time that Howell has been named the regional coach of the year in his nine seasons at Cal. He previously won the award in 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2020. Crandall-Howell is a two-time winner of the Regional Assistant Coach of the Year award and won the WCGA National Assistant Coach of the Year Award in 2016, and she and Howell were named WCGA Region 6 Co-Coaches of the Year in 2020.
The Cal coaching tandem of Howell and Crandall-Howell made history with the Bears during the 2021 season. Cal finished the year ranked No. 5 in the nation and as the team with the top NQS in the West Region, neither of which Cal has done before. The Bears finished second at the Pac-12 Championship, their highest-ever finish at the meet, with a team-record Pac-12 championship score.
This year the Bears set program records on uneven bars, balance beam, floor exercise and overall team score. Cal set a program record with a 198.050 mark in their dual meet vs. UCLA, .950 better than any other program's best score in the region this year and the fourth-best in the country this year. Cal also recorded the second- and third-best scores in program history at the NCAA Regionals this past weekend. The Bears posted nine marks that were equal to or better than any other team in the region's best score during the 2021 regular season.
Cal is ranked in the top 10 nationally in all four events, including being ranked as the top uneven bars team in the country. The Bears are ranked first in the region in bars, beam and floor and rank second on the vault. This year, Cal posted five of the top nine total team scores in program history this year. Cal has also totaled three of the top 12 marks on vault, six of the top 13 uneven bars scores, three of the top four beam rotations and four of the top six floor scores in program history during the 2021 season.
Howell and Elisabeth Crandall-Howell were also named Pac-12 Co-Coaches of the Year for their performance in lifting the Bears to the top of the region, Pac-12 and into the national conversation. They've been helped by McDonald who is the Region 6 Assistant Coach of the Year for the second consecutive year.
McDonald coaches the Golden Bears' uneven bars lineup, which is ranked number one in the country. Cal tied a 17-year old NCAA record on the uneven bars vs. UCLA as they posted a score of 49.825, all six gymnasts scored a 9.90+ that afternoon including a perfect 10.0 by Emi Watterson and 9.975 scores by Andi Li and Maya Bordas. Watterson's perfect mark was only the fourth ever perfect 10 by a Cal gymnast and one of three on the uneven bars during the 2021 regular season.
Cal is ranked number one in the country on the uneven bars with a 49.606 NQS score, which is .106 better than any other school in the country. The season high of 49.825 is .200 better than any other school's best mark on uneven bars.
McDonald has coached four gymnasts that are ranked in the top 27 nationally in the event, those four are also all in the top six in the region, while Alma Kuc is ranked 10th, to put Cal's entire scoring lineup in the top 10 in the region. Nina Schank and Andi Li are also Regular Season All-Americans on the uneven bars. Overall, Cal has recorded 23 9.90+ scores on the uneven bars this year.
Cal posted an uneven bars score of 49.475 or higher on five occasions this year, displaying consistent excellence on the event and rewriting the school record book as those five marks are amongst the top five marks ever scored by a Bears' uneven bars lineup. A Bear has won at least a share of the uneven bars crown in every dual meet this year and five Cal student-athletes placed in the top nine at the Pac-12 Championships.
The Bears will be back in action at the NCAA Gymnastics Championship, which will be held on April 16-17 at Dickies Arena in Fort Worth, Texas. The Bears will be part of the first semifinal which will be at 10 a.m. PT/1 p.m. ET on Friday, April 16 and be broadcast on ESPN2. If the Bears, can be one of the top two teams in the semifinal they will advance to the final four on the floor on Saturday, which will be at 12:30 p.m. PT/3:30 p.m. ET on ABC. Tickets for the NCAA Championship are available here.
Join Cal Women's Gymnastics in the social media realm for behind-the-scenes access to the Bears. Follow Cal on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for meet scores, practice updates, exclusive photos, videos and more. Find Cal at:
• Twitter: @CalWGym
• Facebook: Facebook.com/CalWGym
• Instagram: @CalWGym