Men’s Gymnastics To Honor Two Seniors Saturday
BERKELEY – As California men's gymnastics prepares to face old foe Stanford for the fifth time this season, its members are focused less on the caliber of their opponent and more on the anticipation of participating in their last home meet, which will take place in Haas Pavilion on Saturday, March 12 at 2:00 p.m. PT. There, they will honor their two graduating seniors, Caleb Rickard and Kyle Abe.
To head coach J.T. Okada and the rest of the team, the legacy of the two seniors will not soon be forgotten.
"Caleb is the heart and soul of the team," Okada said, beginning with the team's co-captain Rickard. "He always brings energy and looks to see who he can promote and pump up. He's very selfless in that sense, the way that he's always looking to highlight someone else."
Sophomore Jelani Sweet also has nothing but high praise for Rickard, whose ever-present grin and boisterous presence on the floor brings extra excitement to every Cal meet.
"He has such a great personality," said Sweet. "Caleb is always positive, always making sure that he picks other people up, whether they're having a good or a bad day. He helps put things into perspective."
As for Abe, his calm presence and versatility make him no less important to the Golden Bears.
"Abe is invaluable to us," said Okada. "He's the perfect roleplayer in the sense that he's able to step in wherever he's needed – rings, high bar, floor, anywhere. He can fill in wherever there's an opening and perform consistently, which is a quality that any coach would love to have on their team."
"He doesn't try to be anyone other than himself," Sweet said. "You can always talk to him, relate to him. He's lighthearted, but can talk seriously when you need it."
Rickard and Abe both helped Sweet feel comfortable as a freshman, despite the double-edged uncertainty that came with the spread of COVID-19 and with being in a new environment. "It really helped having them around," he said. "Just them being there, they were a big source of support.
"Even on days when you don't trust yourself out there," he finished, "they trust you."