March 2, 2013
The No. 9 California men's gymnastics team posted a 422.750 to place third in a field of five teams at the Collegiate Challenge at Stanford Saturday. The Bears finished behind the Japanese Collegiate National Team (438.850) and No. 5 Stanford (431.20) but downed the Arizona State club team (389.90) and University of Washington training team (357.70).
"This meet was a great stepping stone. There were a lot of positive routines and new bests, and routines done as well as they could've been. We had some mistakes, but the team never gave up and rallied and got it back together. Every time we made a mistake, the team rallied and got it back together," said Golden Bears assistant head coach Colin Christ. "We had a lot of routines to be really proud of."
Cal gymnasts claimed at least a share of the top three spots in three of the night's events. The floor event's first-ranked gymnast in the country, junior Takahiro Kawada posted a 14.700 for second place, and senior Steven Lacombe shared third for his 15.150 effort on the still rings.
The Bears started the night on the still rings, scoring a team season-best 71.35 before moving on to the parallel bars, where they scored a 69.650. The team registered a 73.200 on vault, following with a 68.0 on the H bar, 72.1 on floor, and closing out the night with a 68.45 pommel horse performance.
Saturday's meet was the first time the new "five up, five count" scoring system was used, in which only five gymnasts enter an event for each team and all five scores count. Previously, teams could enter six gymnasts but drop the lowest score to count only five in the team total.
"The new scoring system changes a lot of things. We had a few instances where we scored lower than we were capable of, and that's huge for the team score. It was a learning experience and I think the pressure of the situation really built up with knowing every score counts," Christ said.
Cal now holds an 8-3 record. Next, the Golden Bears will host Temple at home in Haas Pavilion at 2 p.m. on March 10.