Jan. 12, 2005
WHAT'S ON TAP: The fifth-ranked Golden Bears men's gymnastics team opens its 2005 season this Sunday, Jan. 16 at 3 p.m., against the No. 6 Stanford Cardinal at home.
A QUICK LOOK AT THE BEARS: The 2005 Golden Bears gymnastics team, stocked with a wealth of depth and talent, look 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 will be led on the floor by seniors Graham Ackerman and Jay 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. Jay Yee, a transfer from UC Santa Barbara, made an immediate impact for the Bears last season, capturing the MPSF still rings championship, and finishing 10th in the NCAA individual finals. Yee, considered one of the strongest gymnasts in the country, should be a major force this season on rings, pommel horse and vault. 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 Tim McNeill, the class is rounded out by Tyler 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 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. The results of Weiner's hard work and dedication first paid dividends in '97 when he was named National Coach of the Year after leading the Bears to a perfect 17-0 regular season and the team's first NCAA team title since 1975. Weiner then outdid himself the next year, as Cal swept through the entire '98 season without a loss en route to its second-consecutive team championship. Following that season, Weiner was named Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Coach of the Year for the third time (he won the award for the fourth time in 2004) and National Coach of the Year for the second straight campaign. Including the 16-1 overall record of 2004, Weiner's career record stands at an impressive 197-48-1 (.800) spanning over the last fourteen years.
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.
CAL V. STANFORD SERIES HISTORY: The Bears hold a commanding all-time series record of 115-36-2 over the Cardinal. Cal defeated Stanford five times in 2004, including victories in the MPSF conference championship and NCAA National Qualifier.