Jan. 9, 2002
WHATS ON TAP: The Cal women's gymnastics team opens the 2002 season on the road against Cal State Fullerton. The Bears face the Titans for the second consecutive year after dropping a dual meet to CSUF last season, 194.750-192.600, Feb. 3, in Fullerton.
ADDED DEPTH, RETURNING TALENT THE KEY TO SUCCESS IN 2002: On any given championship team, it's not the proven talent nor the superstars that separates the team from other challengers, but the role players and the supporting cast that distinguish the elite teams from the contenders. In the same way, this year's Cal women's gymnastics squad has the ingredients for a championship squad. The talent at the top is in place. Lindsay Baker, Carrie Kreifels and Janet McKnight have proven meet-in and meet-out that they will hit the scores necessary for the team to be competitive, but the supporting cast that was often absent last season will be a strong force this year.
In addition to the five other returning gymnasts, the 2002 campaign features six incoming freshmen that have the ability to bring solid depth to the Golden Bears program.
"Last year, our top four were really strong, but we didn't have the depth needed in spots five through 10," says fifth-year coach Trina Tinti. "This year, we have a large freshman class and more experienced returnees. Hopefully, this additional depth and talent will allow us the flexibility to vary our line-up and rest key scorers so that we can be healthy and strong in our postseason championships."
Cal brings back virtually all the key ingredients from last season's team that went 17-19 and finished fifth at the NCAA Regionals (192.175). The lone loss, albeit a key subtraction, is two-time All-Pac-10 selection Pari Olver, who averaged a 38.708 in 2001, and set a Cal individual record on the beam (9.925) at San Jose State, Mar. 16. The graduated Olver participated in every event in all 12 meets last year, and Tinti will have to find an adequate replacement for Olver's high scores to have a successful season.
After breaking numerous records in 2000, the Bears were back at it again last year. Four team records, including a new all-time high on the all-arounds (196.075), and one individual record were broken last season. The 196.075 scored against Stanford was the first 196 mark by a Golden Bears team ever. The lone individual high was on the beam where sophomore Stephanie Kim and Olver scored a 9.925 against Stanford and San Jose State, respectively.
The Bears again feature just one senior on the squad just like last season when Olver was the only fourth year gymnast. Lindsay Baker will fill Olver's role as co-captain of the team along with junior Janet McKnight. Baker ended up becoming a key all-around performer midway through last season debuting on all four events in the triangular meet versus Washington and UC Davis. Baker recorded a career high in the all-arounds with a 39.025 against Stanford, her second meet of the season. She re-recorded personal highs on the vault, the beam and the floor from her sophomore year.
The junior class features Lisa Arnold, Monique Johnson, Carrie Kreifels and Janet McKnight. Arnold, a vault and floor specialist, set a career high of 9.925 on the vault against Stanford (Feb. 18) and a personal high of 9.825 on the floor versus Washington and UC Davis. Johnson, also a vault and floor specialist, scored her personal best on the vault twice last year, most recently at the Pac-10 Championships (Mar. 24) scoring a 9.750. On the floor, Johnson notched a 9.850 at UC Davis (Feb. 25) to record her personal best in that event. Kreifels was the most consistent performer next to Olver in the all-arounds. Last year's co-captain set individual highs on three of four events. Kreifels set an all-around career high with a 39.200 twice last season. McKnight, who started off 2001 focusing on the vault and the bars, became a mainstay on the floor exercise, as well, four meets into the season. One of the most powerful vaulters on the squad, McKnight recorded career highs on that event (9.875 at Pac-10 Championships) and the floor (9.825 vs. Washington & UC Davis).
Stephanie Kim, the only returning gymnast to hold a No. 1 spot on the all-time Cal scoring list in any event, leads the sophomore class, which also includes Karrisa Chock and Katreece Stone. Kim stepped in as a freshman last year and participated in all-around competition before an injury kept her out of select events. Her career high of 9.925 on the beam also placed her in the top spot for Cal's all-time scoring list. Chock also struggled with some injuries and was out for the early part of the season, but came back strong, posting a career best 9.750 at San Jose State on the beam. She also posted a 9.825 at the Pac-10 Championships. Stone participated on the beam and the floor, also seeing time on the bars for the first three meets of the season. On the beam, Stone posted a career high of 9.900 in back-to-back meets. The redshirt sophomore also scored a 9.925 on the floor, which gives her the second highest score all-time. Stone has floor scores that place her second, third and fifth all-time at Cal.
FRESHMEN A KEY FACTOR IN 2002: With six decorated freshmen coming into the Golden Bear program, Cal's future looks bright. Sheilah Buack, Tara Capsuto, My-Lan Dodd, Adrienne Garcia, Miho Maeda and Lauren Shipp all have the capability to participate in the all-around. Buack and Dodd, particularly, have a good shot at moving up to the top four spots in many of the events. But above all, the sextet will give Cal the added depth that it lacked last season. "I think for our large freshmen class, because it's a new environment, how they adjust to the situation will be a factor in how well we do," said coach Trina Tinti. "We're excited to get the season underway."
"The team wants to go to the NCAA Championships - we all want to go to NCAA's. The best thing the team can do is to make sure we are seeded in the top 18 prior to regionals and then hit all 24 of our routines there," says Tinti. "If we do that, we will be in a position to qualify and have a really good shot. This year, we hope to reach that next level."
CALIFORNIA 2002 ROSTER:
Name Yr. Ht. Event(s) Hometown/Last School Lisa Arnold Jr 5-0 V, BB, FX Marina/Monterey HS Lindsay Baker Sr 5-4 AA Los Altos/Gunn HS Sheilah Buack Fr 5-1 AA Yorba Linda/Esperanza HS Tara Capsuto Fr 5-4 AA Yorktown, NY/Yorktown HS Karissa Chock So 5-4 AA Huntington Beach/Ocean View HS My-Lan Dodd Fr 5-4 AA Seattle, WA/Garfield HS Adrienne Garcia Fr 5-3 AA Fullerton/Rosary HS Monique Johnson Jr 5-3 V, UB, FX San Diego/Mission Bay HS Stephanie Kim So 5-3 AA Darien, IL/Hinsdale South HS Carrie Kreifels Jr 5-3 AA Omaha, NE/Millard North HS Miho Maeda Fr 5-3 AA Granada Hills/Granada Hills HS Janet McKnight Jr 5-4 V, UB, FX Lafayette/Acalanes HS Lauren Shipp Fr 5-7 AA Libertyville, IL/Libertyville HS Katreece Stone So 5-0 AA So. San Francisco/Newark Memorial HS
Head Coach: Trina Tinti/42-55 (5th Season) Assistant Coach: Jennifer Bialosky (4th Season), Steve Wilken (1st Season)
SCOUTING CAL STATE FULLERTON: The Titans dropped their season opener to Utah State Jan. 4, 192.750-191.375. Representing the Big West conference, CSUF finished second in the league in 2001 (11-9 overall) and placed sixth at the NCAA Regionals. Leading the Titans this years is 2001 Big West Conference all-around champion Kelly Mathiasen and senior Joanna Hughes. CSUF is coached by Julie Knight, who has a 30-20 record in her fourth year.