Nov. 17, 2004
Calling it "possibly the best recruiting class ever at Cal," head women's gymnastics coach Cari DuBois and the Golden Bear program received national letters of intent from four gymnasts, school officials announced Wednesday.
Scheduled to join the Bears as freshmen all-around competitors for the 2006 season are Lydia Williams (Toronto, Ontario), a member of the Canadian national team; Jessica Kelley (Los Altos, Calif.), a Junior Olympics national team member; Joanna Bennett (Healdsburg, Calif.), a 2004 Junior Olympics National Championships qualifier and Bridgette Glass (Oakley, Calif.), a rising elite U.S. national competitor.
"We made our top offers and received our top acceptants," said DuBois, who is entering her third season as Cal coach. "We were impressed with their work ethic, attitude and experience level as all of them have competed at the national or international level. They will all be strong all-arounders for us."
At the 2003 Pan-American Games, Williams helped lead Canada to a second-place team finish. Individually, she was sixth in the all-around competition. Williams was scheduled to compete for Canada at the 2004 Athens Olympics before fracturing her back.
"An important goal for me is to continue in elite gymnastics," said Williams, who chose Cal above Michigan and Arizona. "Berkeley is such a great university academically, so combined with the climate and people, Cal definitely stood out from other universities as the complete package."
A four-time Junior Olympics qualifier, Kelley finished fourth in the all-around in 2002 and 2003 and fifth in 2004. Kelley has enjoyed extensive competition experience, earning numerous individual titles and honors at both the regional and state level.
"I chose Cal not only for its academic reputation, but also for the campus which provides a lively, spirited community for students. I was impressed with the coaching staff and relationship between the coaches and (team members)," said Kelley, who was also recruited by Washington and Denver.
Bennett accomplished a personal goal this season when she qualified for the 2004 Junior Olympics meet. Among her individual honors, she captured first on floor exercise at the 2004 California state meet.
"I've wanted to come to Cal since I was young. I wanted to stay near home and I really felt that I fit in very well on my recruiting trip, "Bennett said.
Glass recently took first in the all-around competition at the 2004 American Challenge meet. "At Cal, I feel I'll receive one of the best educations around and be part of a growing, successful program," said Glass, who was 20th in the all-around at the 2001 U.S. Championships.
"They're all amazing, positive and hard-working individuals who we expect will make immediate impacts as freshmen competitors," said DuBois, whose .656 dual meet winning percentage is the best among Cal coaches in over 30 seasons.
The Golden Bears finished the 2004 season ranked 25th in the nation after posting a 9-6 dual meet record. Cal opens the season January 14 at Haas Pavilion with a quad-meet involving Stanford, UC Davis and Brown.