January 12, 1999
Fri., Jan. 15
UC Santa Barbara, UC Davis
BEARS OPEN AT HOME: The California women's gymnastics team kicks off the 1999 season at home this week versus UC Santa Barbara and UC Davis in a tri-meet at 7:30 in the Recreational Sports Facility on the Cal Campus. The Golden Bears finished the 1998 season ranked No. 28 in the nation with an 8-9 overall record and placed sixth at the NCAA West Regional.
ABOUT THIS WEEK'S OPPONENTS: UC Davis opened its 1999 season at home on Sunday with a 192.450-183.975 loss to defending Pac-10 Champion Stanford. Dawn MacDiarmid led the way for the Aggies with an all-around score of 36.850, including a tem best 9.575 on bars. UC Santa Barbara is coming off a 3-10 campaign in 1998 and has yet to compete thus far in '99. The Gauchos, who finished fourth in the Big West Conference, return eight of 10 gymnasts for 1999.
SERIES INFO: Cal competed against both UCSB and UC Davis last season, coming out with wins versus both schools. The Bears defeated UCSB on the road, 190.105-185.175, and knocked off UC Davis, 189.525-187.500 at home. The Bears hold a 16-3 advantage in the all-time series against UCSB. Cal also owns the edge in the all-time series versus UC Davis, 13-1.
A QUICK LOOK AT CAL: The Bears enter the 1999 season looking to continue the progress they made during last year's 8-9 campaign. Cal posted its second-best team score of the year in the season finale at the NCAA West Regional, scoring 190.600 to place sixth overall. The Bears top team score came at Stanford when Cal posted a combined 190.675.
INJURIES ALREADY TAKING A TOLL: The season has not even begun yet and already Cal head coach Trina Tinti has had to adjust her lineup due to injuries. In all, Cal has lost three potential starters Jennifer Bialosky, Elizabeth Berlin, and Jennie Kang to injury. Bialosky suffered a career-ending back injury during summer training and will help coach the Bears this season. Team captain, Berlin, suffered a season-ending knee injury in November and will not compete. Kang, who went down shortly after Berlin, also with a knee injury, has the best shot of making it back in '99, after having meniscus surgery in late December.
KHOURY TAKES AIM AT ALL-AMERICA HONORS: Leading the Bears in 1999 will be junior All-America candidate Leila Khoury. Last year, Khoury was a first team All-Pac-10 selection and the Bears MVP for the second consecutive season. Competing in the all-around in all 12 Cal meets last season, Khoury won three titles, finishing in the Top 3 seven times overall. In addition to her prowess in the all-around, Khoury also registered Cal's best scores on vault (9.7250) and floor exercise (9.850).
EVENT SPOTLIGHTS: In addition to Khoury, senior Angela Mapa was the Bears next most consistent vaulter last season. Mapa posted a season-best 9.600 at the Pac-10 Championships and owns a career-high score of 9.675 on the apparatus. On bars, sophomore Helne Kenny earned Cal's best mark with a 9.850 versus Arizona State. Khoury was the Bears next best on bars with a 9.775. Jennie Kang's 9.850 was the Bears best score on the beam a year ago. With her out of the lineup due to a knee injury, Cal will be relying on senior Emily Bails, who notched a 9.800 at UCSB, in addition to Khoury. On floor, Khoury was once again the Bears best performer, carding a 9.850 at UCSB. Mapa's 9.800 at Stanford and Bails' 9.750 at UCSB where Cal's next best scores.
THE COACHES: Head coach Trina Tinti enters her second season with the Golden Bears after leading Cal to an 8-9 record in 1998. Prior to coming to Cal, Tinti was the assistant women's gymnastics coach at the University of Minnesota for five years. Joining the Cal staff for his first season with the Bears is Peter Doyle, who for the previous five seasons was an assistant at George Washington University. After suffering a career-ending injury during the off season, former Cal gymnast Jennifer Bialosky joins Tinti's staff as a student assistant coach for 1999.
UP NEXT: California hosts its second-consecutive home meet when the Bears compete against Bay Area rival Stanford next Friday, Jan. 22, at 7:30 in the RSF on the Cal campus.