Bears Register Improvements In Seattle
SEATTLE – Cal men's gymnastics approached the season's first out-of-state meet with their usual gusto, hoping to continue their momentum from six days ago and transform it into success at the Pac-12 Open, where they faced old foe Stanford as well as Washington and Arizona State on Friday night at UW's Alaska Airlines Arena at Hec Edmundson Pavilion. To some degree, they did, with a season-high score of 66.650 on the parallel bars and four personal bests contributing to their overall score of 386.950.
Still, the Bears felt that they could have performed better.
"It's weird, but I'm glad that the team is dissatisfied with how the night went," said head coach J.T. Okada. "It's a good sign that they're processing this and know that they can achieve much higher scores. We were coming off a short week, but now we have a long week before we head back to Stanford. We can sleep on it and take that extra time to work on fixing mistakes and generally improving."
At the end of the night, Stanford led the teams with 412.150 points, while Washington finished third with 363.150 and Arizona State finished fourth with 354.950.
Cal's evening started on the pommel horse, where sophomore Noah Newfeld led the Bears with a score of 13.100 in the first of his five events. In the team's next event, senior Yu-Chen Lee paced the team with a 12.700 on the still rings.
After that, the team started picking things up. In the floor exercise, freshman Tyler Shimizu posted a personal-record score of 13.700, good for third place out of all competitors, while junior Aidan Giusti scored 13.500 in his season floor debut. Sophomore Collin Cunane, filling in for an injured teammate, set a new personal record of 13.450. Following the floor exercise, Giusti kicked off the parallel bars event with a new personal best of 13.200, followed by freshman Landon Wu's PR of 13.550 and Lee's score of 13.900 that tied for third place overall.
Senior Caleb Rickard notched another individual third-place finish for the team, posting a score of 13.000 on the horizontal bar. Afterwards, the Bears took on the vault to close out the night; Giusti made another season debut, scoring 13.500, while sophomore Seth Ornelas posted a season-best 13.150 as a last-minute substitution.
"I'm proud of the guys who stepped up after the injury," said Okada. "When that happens, it can shake you, but Collin and Seth didn't blink when I told them that they were filling in. They're the kind of guys that I like to have on this team."
The Bears head back down to Stanford's Burnham Pavilion for The Big Flip Open on Feb. 13, scheduled to start at 1:00 p.m. PT.