No. 11 Bears Head To NCAA Championships
BERKELEY – For the seventh consecutive season, the No. 11 California men's gymnastics team will show what it can do on the national stage when the Golden Bears compete in the NCAA Championships from April 16-17 from Maturi Pavilion on the Minnesota campus.
Cal will compete in the evening session on Friday at 5 p.m. PT, and the Bears will be joined by No. 2 Michigan, No. 3 Stanford, No. 6 Penn State, No. 7 Iowa and No. 10 Minnesota. Fellow MPSF foe and top-ranked Oklahoma will compete in the afternoon session, and Air Force will bring individual qualifiers to the Midwest.
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, which also starts at 5 p.m. PT.
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. 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 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.
Lee has earned career highs in four of six events this season, while Rickard has posted career bests in four of five events competed in. Lee has paced the Bears on floor in every meet except for one, while Rickard has led the way on vault in every meet except for one. Rickard has also led Cal on high bar in the last five competitions.
Cal enters NCAAs with a team-best score of 390.600 earned in the regular-season finale in Berkeley against the Sooners.
Lee, Newfeld and Kyle Abe have all competed in the all-around this season, and Newfeld owns Cal's top all-around score of 78.000, which he earned at the MPSF Championships. Newfeld has been Cal's top scorer on rings in every meet this season except for two.
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. Since the 1998 title, Cal has finished in the top three twice (2001-02) and in the top five on 11 occasions.
The last time a Cal individual won a national title was Glen Ishino in 2012 on pommel horse. In 2018, both Kyte Crigger and Yordan Aleksandrov earned All-America honors, with Crigger tying for fifth on floor with a score of 14.200 and Aleksandrov taking fourth on high bar (13.966).