Jan. 26, 2009
Bears Back at Haas this week The California Golden Bears women's gymnastics team, coming off a pair of tough road trips facing three top-25 opponents, get a break on both accounts this weekend. The team will be back in the comforts of their home arena, Haas Pavilion, hosting Washington and Illinois State in a tri-meet. Washington fell from the top-25 this week, currently ranking 29th overall and fifth in the Pac-10. The meet has a special 12 noon start time in order to make sure Cal fans have a chance to attend the meet and still be able to watch the Superbowl (which has a 3:28 p.m. kickoff).
Improvements The Bears posted season-best team scores in every event in Sunday's meet at UCLA. Junior Sophia Hocini, senior Joanna Bennett, and sophomore Avery Gee each scored a 9.800 on the balance beam, the highest score on any apparatus for a Bear gymnast this season. Gee and Hocini also posted the highest scores of the season in the vault (Gee with a 9.675), the bars (Hocini with a 9.775), and the floor (Gee with a 9.775).
The All-Around All five Bear all-arounders in the UCLA meet scored career-high marks. Sophia Hocini led the pack with a 38.875. Avery Gee, who did not compete as an all-arounder last season, scored a career-best 38.800. Sophomore Stephanie Cheng and senior Joanna Bennett also had career-bests. Freshman Erica Varon improved her all-around score by 1.425 over last week's mark.
Other Career Bests In all, the Bears had four performances that were new career highs in individual events and two more scores that equalled previous career highs.
Injury Updates The Bears top all-arounder from the season opener, Jessica Kelley, suffered an elbow injury in practice and is out for the season. Kelley was one of Cal's four representatives at the 2008 NCAA West Regionals, placing 13th in the All-Around. She has chosen to become an undergraduate assistant coach for the team. Senior Brigette Glass has begun practicing for the Bears and is nearing her return to competition.
Rookie News Freshman Shana Johnson made her collegiate competitive debut at UCLA, competing in the beam. Freshman Alexandra Leggitt was one of the Cal gymnasts to set a new career-best mark, hers coming in the vault, her lone event of the meet.
Did You Know Stephanie Cheng also enjoys figure skating.
Scouting Washington, Illinois State Washington (3-2, 0-1 Pac-10) and California (0-5, 0-2 Pac-10) are the only two Pac-10 schools presently not ranked in the Troester top-25 national rankings. Washington's strength is the vault, an event they scored a 49.000, with senior Ashley Houghting scoring a 9.900, last week against Utah. Illinois State (1-3, 0-0 MIC) is coming off their first win of the season, a come-from-behind victory over Bowling Green last Friday night. Sophomore Hannah Deutsch was awarded the Midwest Independent Conference (MIC) Gymnast of the Week awarded Jan. 14 for her performances in the Jan. 9 meet against Central Michigan.
Up Next The Bears are back on the road next weekend, going to Tempe, Ariz. to take on No. 16 Arizona State and Utah State. The Bears will be home for back-to-back weeks after that trip, hosting No. 4 Stanford and then No 24 Arizona.
Pink Meet One Cal home meet will once again be designated as the women's gymnastics' breast cancer awareness meet. The 2009 Pink Meet will be the Feb. 22 contest against No. 4 Stanford. The Golden Bear gymnasts will solicit flat donations or pledges for every Cal score of 9.5 and above. Cal will donate all money earned to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation Bay Area affiliate in the hopes of raising funds to eradicate breast cancer as a life-threatening disease through research, education, screening and treatment. Fans are encouraged to wear pink and "pink-out" Haas Pavilion, while the Bears don pink leotards for the event.
Cal Inks Six Newcomers For 2010 The California women's gymnastics team has signed six recruits to National Letter of Intent for the 2010 season. Nicolette Lew (Chino Hills, Calif.) was a Level 10 national and regional qualifier in 2008 and 2007. As a national qualifier, she took sixth on vault in 2008 and placed 19th in the all-around in 2007. Stina Olivere (Naperville, Ill.) was a four-time Level 10 state/regional qualifier and a three-time Level 9 state/regional qualifier, including a championship on bars at nationals. Arla Rosenzweig (Los Altos, Calif.) won the state championship on floor last year and was a regional qualifier. In 2006, she was the all-around state champion and the regional bars champion. Chelsea Spomer (Forestville, Calif.) was a three-time level 10 regional qualifier and a 2008 first alternate for nationals. She placed third in the all around at the state championships in 2008 and was also the Level 8 regional vault champion. Madisyn O'Brien (Sebastopol, Calif.) was a 2008 Level 10 national qualifier and a three-time Level 10 regional qualifier, including taking fourth in the all-around and second on bars in 2008. and Mariesah Pierce (Aptos, Calif.) took third on floor at national last year, and competed at nationals throughout her high school career. She also took second in the all-around at regionals in 2007 and 2008.
Head Coach Cari DuBois In her seventh year at California, head coach Cari DuBois has reshaped the women's gymnastics program from the day she arrived on campus. DuBois has posted a 66-74 record at Cal. Also, she was named the 2003 Pac-10 Co-Coach of the year and the 2003 West Regional Coach of the Year. Last season, DuBois guided the Bears to the NCAA West Regional, held at Cal's Haas Pavilion, and ended the campaign with a final ranking of 26. Earlier during her tenure, she led Cal to its first back-to-back dual-meet winning seasons since 1991-92 and led the 2003 Bears to their highest NCAA-regional finish (fourth) since 1992. In 2004, the Bears finished fifth at the NCAA regionals, the program's best back-to-back postseason showings since 1991-92. Prior to coming to Berkeley, DuBois worked as an assistant for nine years (six at West Virginia and three at Cal under Alfie Mitchell). DuBois also has spent time instructing and choreographing routines at gymnastics camps and clubs nationwide. DuBois graduated from Ball State in 1992 with a degree in exercise science and wellness and holds a master's degree in athletic coaching from West Virginia.