Jan. 31, 2012
Thursday, Feb. 2
1 p.m. - Winter Cup Challenge Qualification Round
Las Vegas Sports Center - Las Vegas
Saturday, Feb. 4
7:15 p.m. - Winter Cup Challenge Finals
Las Vegas Sports Center - Las Vegas
BERKELEY - Three current Golden Bears and a pair of former gymnasts have the chance to earn spots on the U.S. senior national team at this weekend's Winter Cup Challenge. Steven Lacombe, Donothan Bailey, Glen Ishino, Kyle Bunthuwong and Bryan del Castillo will travel to Las Vegas to compete at the two-session meet.
About the Winter Cup
Select members of the squad will travel to Las Vegas for the annual Winter Cup Challenge at the Las Vegas Sports Center. The qualification rounds take place Thursday, Feb. 2 and the top gymnasts based on points earned will advance to the finals, which are Saturday, Feb. 4. Scores from both days of competition count toward the final rankings for the all-around and individual events. Seven gymnasts will be named to the U.S. Men's senior national team based on the national team points ranking system from the Winter Cup Challenge, and one each will be selected by the Men's Program Committee and men's national team coordinator. The six members of the 2011 U.S. Olympic Team for men's gymnastics can petition for spots, and the Men's Program Committee will name additional members to the senior national team if any Olympic positions are unused. The 15 gymnasts named to the team will comprise the U.S. Men's Senior National Team until the 2012 Visa Championships in August.
For more information, please go to the event Web site at http://www.dustyritter.com.
Gushing About Glen Ishino
Senior Glen Ishino has been consistently contributing to the Bears' success. In this year's season opener on Jan. 13 when Cal defeated rival Stanford, the Bears just edged the Cardinal on pommel thanks in no small part to Ishino's first-place score of 15.00. In the re-match against the Cardinal on Jan. 21, due to Ishino's pommel-horse winning score of15.600, which outscored his nearest competitor by nearly a full point, the Bears took pommel horse. In the latest meet on Jan. 28, Ishino tied for second on the pommel horse, notching a 14.500 and his score of 14.800 on the floor led him to tie for fourth. Ishino advanced to the finals of the WCC.
Scouting Steven Lacombe
Steven Lacombe, a fierce collegiate competitor, has proven himself a valuable asset on rings. In the season opener against Stanford, Jan.13, Lacombe powered the Bears to the team event win on rings thanks to his first-place score of 15.500, more than a full point in front of second place. In the second meeting with the Cardinal on Jan. 21, Lacombe finished third on rings with a 14.650. He then tied for fifth, scoring a 14.500, in the Stanford Open on Jan. 28. In 2011, Steven Lacombe advanced to the finals of the WCC, where he competed in floor, rings, and parallel bars. Lacombe finished fifth on rings at the 2011 NCAA Championship (15.250) and tenth (14.625) in the 2010 Championship.
Talking About Donothan Bailey
Since his standout performance as a true freshman two years ago, junior Donothan Bailey continues to perform exceptionally for the Bears. In Cal's season opener on Jan. 13 against Stanford, Bailey took second in the all-round with an 82.600 behind Stanford's Eddie Penev's 84.200. He also tied for first on the floor and the parallel bars. More recently, in the Bears' fall to the Cardinal on Jan. 21, Bailey led the Bears on high bar, scoring a 14.300, and his 14.800 was tops amongst the Bears rings. On Jan. 28 at the Stanford Open, Bailey was second in the all-around, accumulating an 87.400. He also finished second on floor (15.400) and tied for second on rings (14.800). Bailey led the Bears on high bar, scoring a 14.300. Bailey's performance in the 2011 WCC as a sophomore earned him a 14th place finish overall. In the 2011 NCAA Championship, Bailey tied for sixth (14.400) on the pommel horse, which was an improvement from the 2010 Championship where he placed 10th with a score of 12.225.
Reminiscing About Kyle Bunthuwong
Even after his accomplished career at Cal, Kyle Bunthuwong continues to shine as a Bear and will travel with the squad to this year's Winter Cup Challenge. Though he did not compete in the WCC in 2010, Bunthuwong successfully petitioned for a spot on the U.S. Senior National Team. He also earned a place on the U.S. Team as a sophomore based on his performance at the 2009 WCC, where he finished sixth in the all-around with 172.100 points. In the 2011 NCAA Championships, Bunthuwong ranked third on the high bar, scoring 15.100, and eighth on the pommel horse with a 14.150.
Boasting About Bryan del Castillo
Another former student-athlete, Bryan del Castillo will compete in the Winter Cup Challenge this year. Del Castillo traveled, but ended up not competing in last year's WCC due to injuries. In 2010, del Castillo scored a 13.600 for 36th place against some of the best competition in the country. Del Castillo took eighth after two nights of competition on pommel horse with a combined score of 28.400. Del Castillo placed fifth on the parallel bars (14.500) at the 2011 NCAA Championship as well as tenth (13.300) on the pommel horse. In 2010, del Castillo finished sixth in the NCAA Championship, notching 15.300 on the floor.
Last Year at the Winter Cup
Three Bears competed at the 2011 Winter Cup Challenge in Las Vegas on Feb. 3 and 5. Though he did not compete in the finals of the Winter Cup Challenge, standout Glen Ishino earned placement on the U.S. Senior National Team while Donothan Bailey and Steven Lacombe finished competing in their first-ever Winter Cup Challenge finals on Feb. 5 at the Las Vegas Sports Center. Despite not competing in the finals, the Men's Program Committee and men's national team coordinator deemed Ishino's past performances worthy of placement on the team. Of the 42 competitors in the final, Bailey finished in 14th place, a very strong showing for the sophomore who made his first trip to the Winter Cup Challenge. The highlight of the night for the Cal contingent was Donothan Bailey's pommel horse routine, which garnered him a 14.650 to place him sixth on the event after two days of competition. As he did in the qualifiers, Steven Lacombe competed in three events - floor, rings and parallel bars. On floor, his performance garnered a 13.250. Rings saw him earn a 13.450. After two days on rings, one of Lacombe's specialty events, the sophomore tied for eighth thanks to his 27.650. His best showing was on p-bars, on which he scored 14.850. Overall on floor, Lacombe tied for 29th with his collective 26.800.
Next Week in the Gym
Cal returns to team action on Feb. 12 against Stanford and Oklahoma. That meet, which will be held at Haas Pavilion and be free for all to attend, will be combined with the Cal women's gymnastics team against Stanford. Following the Winter Cup Challenge, just three regular-season meets stand between the Bears and the postseason.