Cal Claims Victory Over No. 15 Oregon State
BERKELEY – The 11th-ranked Cal women's gymnastics team recorded the 11th-best score in school history with a 197.350 as they defeated No. 15 Oregon State on Saturday afternoon at Haas Pavilion.
The Bears won 197.350-196.575 as they recorded their best score ever for the third meet of the season.
The Bears were consistent throughout their vault rotation as all five scorers posted an 9.825 or a 9.850. Andi Li and Nevaeh DeSouza both recorded 9.850 marks and tied for fourth place as the Bears posted a score of 49.175 and trailed by .025 after the first rotation.
However, the Bears took the lead on the second rotation with some consistently excellent scores on bars. Nina Schank and Madelyn Williams both recorded 9.925 scores and tied for second place, while Li, DeSouza and Maya Bordas all recorded 9.875 scores. The Bears' score on bars of 49.475 was the fourth-best in the country so far this season. Cal took the lead by a 98.650-98.550 margin after two events and they never relinquished it over the final two rotations.
"From the beginning of the preseason, I never heard Maddie's name in the chatter about our bars lineup," co-head coach Elisabeth Crandall-Howell said. "People are sleeping on her; she's stunning. She's a tough, strong dedicated athlete. She's delightful to coach and she doesn't over-process mistakes. It's easy to break down skills with her, she's open minded and each week she's going to get more confidence. The bars routine is fantastic, but she also went 9.875 on her exhibition beam routine."
After spending the first two weeks of the season away from the team due to the death of her dad, Emi Watterson made an emotional return and anchored the beam lineup. Watterson brought the house down with a 9.925 score, which tied for win. Afterwards, the rest of the team swarmed her in an emotional Bear hug.
"Emi has been back from Australia since last Friday, but we didn't see her until Monday's practice because we were in Washington," Crandall-Howell said. "I think that she got to train a little bit when she was in Australia, but she was really happy to be back and we're thrilled to have her back. Her gymnastics is stunning, but the holes that we felt while she was away are enormous; her personality, her jokes, how she supports others. Those were voids we were missing and to have her come back and hit one of her best beam routines was an incredibly emotional moment for everyone that knows what she's been through in the last month."
Milan Clausi added a 9.900 to take third place on beam, which continued a fantastic meet for the senior. She finished with a 9.925 on floor to tie for second place on that event as well.
"Milan had a spectacular day today," Crandall-Howell said. "She was hard on herself after our first meet back. I felt like she was so mentally connected to what she needed to do in the present and that was able to shine through in her performances. As a coach you know what each of these athletes experience in any given day, so you know how tough they are. By the time they get out here, this should be relatively easy. You're already perfect, don't wait for a judge to tell you that. That shined through for Milan today."
Li tied with Clausi as they both finished with 9.925 scores on floor. Mya Lauzon ended her day with an emphatic floor routine as she scored a 9.90 and took fourth on floor.
"I definitely feel like we're pacing so we can be strongest at the end of the year," Crandall-Howell said. "We're little by little adding more difficulty. We're starting to dial in on landings. This week we put a huge focus on not going after sticks, but creating the energy and dynamics that make the sticks that come to you. That'll help us develop our power, today we saw a lot of improvements from the things that we worked on. We'll continue on that plan and continue to add difficulty in the next two weeks, especially on vault and floor."
Oregon State's Jade Carey tied with Watterson on beam and won the vault, bars, floor and all-around competition. She recorded 9.95 scores on vault, bars and floor and finished with a 39.775 on all-around. Carey won an Olympic Gold Medal this summer while competing with the United States.
The Bears will be back in action next week as they take on Stanford on Friday evening in the South Bay. The meet will begin at 7 p.m. and be broadcast on the Pac-12 Network.