February 1, 1999
THIS WEEK: Sat., Feb. 6 at Recreation Sports Facility, 7:30 p.m.
BACK IN BEAR TERRITORY: The No. 6 regionally ranked California women's gymnastics team returns home to take on the Arizona Wildcats Saturday, February 6 at 7:30 p.m. in the Recreation Sports Facility on the Cal campus. Cal enters this dual meet with 1-11 all-time record against Arizona. In last week's competition, Utah State (3-0) defeated the Bears (2-2) 192.950-180.425 at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum on the USU campus. Despite the disappointing final result, California posted its top scores of the season with a 48.075 on beam and 48.275 on floor.
A LOOK AT THE WILDCATS: Arizona enters Friday's dual meet with a 3-2 overall mark on the season and a 1-1 record in the Pac-10 conference. The Wildcats are ranked 18th nationally and 5th in region three. In a three-way competition last Sunday at Boise State, Arizona defeated Cal State Fullerton 188.600-184.575, but lost to Boise State (192.575). The Wildcats are returning with twelve gymnasts from last year's team including three solid all-arounders: Heidi Hornbeek, Kara Fry and Kristin McDermott.
BEAR NOTES: California's home meet against Arizona is the Bears second Pac-10 competition this season; the first was Cal v. Stanford on Jan. 22 (188.350-193.775). The 1999 season record for the Bears is 2-1 at home and 2-2 overall. Cal produced two of its top five all-time marks against University of Arizona on the balance beam (49.025, 3- 22- 97) and the team all-around (194.325, 3-22-97). In the 1998 Pac-10 Championships held at UCLA, the Bears were only one slot behind sixth place Arizona 189.200-192.800. Stanford won the competition with the team score of 195.275.
THE CREW OF SEVEN: The Bears finished last week's meet against Utah State University with a number of solid performances on beam (team total of 48.075) and floor (team total of 48.275), but Cal's small battalion of seven could not overcome the depth of USU's eleven-person team. Christy Denson of USU placed first in the all-around (39.175), uneven bars (9.850) and beam (9.875). Other first place finishes went to Aggies Jessica Ambrego on vault (9.700) and Amber Jamison on floor (9.825). Paula Chang, one of Cal's top vaulters, was unable to successfully complete her Yurchenko vault resulting in the Bears counting only four vault scores. (Up to five scores on each event can be counted for the total team score.) It was a major disadvantage that Cal could not overcome, however the Bears scored well enough individually to place in the top three on several events. Freshman Lindsay Baker placed third in all-around posting a career best of 38.175. Junior Leila Khoury had a strong second place finish on both vault (9.625) and floor (9.800). Other career bests for the Cal gymnasts included freshman Kristine Kaibara (beam 9.575), sophomore Helene Kenny (beam 9.625; floor 9.625) and sophomore Paula Chang (bars 9.025; floor 9.625).
RECOVERING BEARS: A few of the injured Bears will soon rejoin the team on the competition bandwagon. Junior Jennie Kang is in her fifth week of recovery from knee surgery. Kang tore her meniscus while training on bars in preseason. She holds the all-time school record on the balance beam with a score of 9.900. Kang is healing well and will be a major contributor for Cal once back in the lineup for bars and beam. Freshman Kristine Kaibara will soon be able to compete on vault after recuperating from a stress fracture in the right tibia. Kaibara has been a powerful force for Cal on bars and beam in her debut season. Freshman Dawn Suksanong has not yet seen action due to a fracture in her left hand five weeks ago. Suksanong is expected to compete on vault and floor during the latter half of the 1999 season.
THE COACHES: Head coach Trina Tinti is in her second season with the Golden Bears and boasts a career record of 10-11. 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 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 Tinit's staff as a student assistant coach for 1999.