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No. 11 Cal Finishes Sixth In NCAA Qualifier

Apr 16, 2021
Yu-Chen Lee Notched A Career Best On High Bar And Pommel Horse On Friday

MINNEAPOLIS - The No. 11 California men's gymnastics team finished sixth in its qualifying session at the NCAA Championships from Maturi Pavilion on the University of Minnesota campus. The Golden Bears needed to finish in the top three to advance as a team to Saturday's finals. 

Cal still went out on a high note, posting a season-best team score of 392.055, the second time this season that the Bears hit the 390 mark. 

"I'm incredibly proud of the team," head coach JT Okada said. "Our 392 was a season high, and I believe that puts us in 10th place overall, so we're leaving here ranked higher than what we came in with. These guys just fought every single day in the gym, and they did every protocol that we asked for with Covid. With such a young team, I'm really hopeful that this is just the beginning of a big run that we will be able to make."

The Bears secured four personal bests on floor, culminating with a season-best team score of 69.065 in the event, surpassing the previous best mark of 66.400. 

Yu-Chen Lee, Aidan Giusti and Jelani Sweet each garnered personal bests in two events. Caleb Rickard posted Cal's top score of the night with a 14.300 on vault. Rickard also earned a personal best on floor (13.633). 

Sweet secured a personal best in the first rotation of the night on rings with his score of 12.866. He tied with Savion Perea for Cal's best scorer in the event. Next, on vault, Sweet tied his PR (13.900), while Giusti posted his first personal best (13.966). Between their scores and Rickard's top mark, the Bears earned their second-best team vault score of the season with a 69.965.

Cal also notched its second-best high bar score of the 2021 campaign with a mark of 63.531. Lee posted a career-best 12.966, while Rickard led his squad for the sixth straight meet in this event with a 13.233. 

Lee and the CGA Rookie of the Year Noah Newfeld competed in the all-around, both securing personal bests with Newfeld scoring a 78.630 and Lee a 78.430. Newfeld finished sixth in the qualifier and Lee ninth. 

Although Cal didn't advance as a team, four Bears advanced as individuals for tomorrow's finals - Lee on floor, Newfeld on high bar, and Rickard on vault and high bar. Saturday's finals begin at 5 pm PT.