Cal Hosts Utah In Battle Of Top Pac-12 Teams
BERKELEY – The top two teams in the Pac-12 face off on Saturday afternoon as the 11th-ranked California women's gymnastics team hosts No. 3 Utah at Haas Pavilion. The meet will start at 4 p.m. and gates will open at 2:30 p.m.
The Bears have opened the season by winning four consecutive meets, including two straight decisive wins over top-20 opponents in No. 14 Oregon State and No. 19 Stanford. The Bears will face a new challenge when the Utes come to town, but the Bears will be looking for their second win in their last three home meets vs. Utah.
Cal previously defeated Utah, ranked No. 4 at the time, in 2018 by a 197.500-197.450 margin. Toni-Ann Williams scored a 9.975 as the floor anchor to complete a program-record 39.700 all-around and propel the Bears to the win in front of the home crowd. These two programs finished first and second at the Pac-12 Championship last season and were both among the eight programs at last year's NCAA Championship.
Andi Li has been a force for the Bears this year as the sophomore has recorded back-to-back 39.525 scores in the all-around, including a 9.95 score on the uneven bars in Cal's win over Stanford. Grace Quinn returned to the lineup in the last meet and had a career-best 9.925 performance on floor.
FOLLOW THE ACTION FROM AFAR:
The Saturday afternoon contest will be broadcast on Cal's live stream channel with Evan Heiter providing commentary. Live results will be available on CalBears.com.
SETTING A NEW STANDARD
The Bears broke a program record for the best start to the season with a 196.325 score in the win over Stanford. Cal didn't better that score until the third meet (Feb. 14) of the 2021 season. The previous best season-opening score came in 2020. Cal has continued improving in every meet, tallying the best second-meet and third-meet scores in school history this year. In the win over OSU, the Bears tallied a 197.350, which is the 11th-best team score in school history, along with the 10th-best bars score in school history at 49.475.
WATTERSON WINS COACHES CHOICE
Watterson was named Pac-12 Coaches Choice Award Winner on Feb. 1st, after competing in her first meet of the 2022 season against Oregon State. She recorded a 9.925 score on beam and tied for the win after only five days of practice. Watterson had left the team after her father suddenly passed away on December 19. She returned to Australia to be with her family and attend his funeral. Due to COVID restrictions, Watterson spent nearly a month away with minimal practice time. After she landed her routine the Cal team swarmed her for an emotional Bear hug.
The Bears had a record-breaking season in 2021 that saw the team post six of the top ten total team scores in program history, and tie an NCAA record on uneven bars. Kyana George, Nina Schank and Emi Watterson all elected to come back for a fifth season, meaning Cal will sport 23 of the 24 routines that competed at the NCAA Championships. The Bears return uneven bars NCAA Champion Maya Bordas as well as AAI Award Finalist and Pac-12 Champion Kyana George. Neveah DeSouza was a three-time All-American while Andi Li and Nina Schank were both All-Americans on the uneven bars.
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