Jan. 19, 2005
WHAT'S ON TAP: The No. 8 California men's gymnastics team (0-1) travels to Palo Alto for the Cardinal Open. The Bears will compete against No. 6 Stanford, No. 14 Air Force, Arizona State and Washington.
LOOKING BACK AT LAST WEEK'S ACTION: The Golden Bears dropped their season-opening meet, held at Haas Pavilion, to No. 6 Stanford, 216.275 - 214.200. Senior Jay Yee, a 2004 NCAA finalist in the still rings, finished first on the pommel horse (9.550). Freshman Tim McNeill, in his first collegiate competition, made an immediate impact, recording three scores of 9.400 or higher. McNeill finished second on pommel horse (9.400), fourth in the rings (9.400) and second on parallel bars (9.450). Fellow freshman Tyler Block came away with a third place finish on the parallel bars with a score of 9.300, and finished fifth on the rings at 9.350.
A QUICK LOOK AT THE BEARS: The 2005 Golden Bears gymnastics team, stocked with depth and talent, looks to improve on what was an impressive 2004 season: a 16-1 overall record complimented by a Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Conference crown and sixth-place NCAA Championship finish. The Bears are led on the floor by seniors Graham Ackerman and Yee. Ackerman, a six-time All-American and co-captain, has developed into one of Cal's all-time great gymnasts. At the 2004 NCAA individual finals, the Washington native became the first Golden Bear to win two national titles (floor exercise and vault) in one year, as well as the fourth to capture four All-America honors (floor, vault, parallel bar and high bar) in one night. Junior co-captain Shawn Mowry will provide plenty of support for Cal, coming off of a successful 2004 campaign. Junior Chris Rodriguez and a talented sophomore class, comprised of Randall Heflin, Bromley Palamountain, Alan Parsons, Jason Pierce and Hiroki Yokoyama will add much-needed depth to an already accomplished squad. In what Simons describes as the "most talented freshman class that I've seen in the five years I've coached here," the Bears will welcome seven new additions to the roster. Highlighted by McNeill, the class is rounded out by Block, Kyle Brady, Colin Christ, Mark Freeman, Kyle Litow and Aaron Moy.
HEAD COACH Barry Weiner: Largely credited with developing the University of California men's gymnastics program into one of the nation's finest, Barry Weiner (14th year, 197-49-1) led the Golden Bears to national championships in 1997 and 1998, a total of six Top 5 national finishes and seven NCAA individual champions in his fourteen seasons at Cal. Weiner was named National Coach of the Year in 1997 and 1998, as well as being a four-time MPSF Coach of the Year honoree, most recently in 2004.
ASSOCIATE HEAD COACH Kip Simons: Kip Simons is in his fifth year as an assistant with the Golden Bears. Simons had a successful collegiate career at Ohio State University, where he was honored as the Big Ten Freshman of the Year, team captain his senior season, a Nissen Award Recipient and the 1994 OSU Male Athlete of the Year. His crowning achievement came when he represented America while competing in the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games in Atlanta, Ga.
THIS WEEK'S OPPONENTS: Despite the season opening loss, the Bears have an edge in the all-time series record against the Cardinal, 115-36-2...Cal is a perfect 19-0 versus Air Force...Cal, who last faced Washington in 2003, leads the Huskies 18-4 overall...Arizona State is one of only seven NCAA teams whom have an advantage in the series record over the Bears. The all-time standings are 14-17 in favor of the Sun Devils.