BERKELEY - The No. 7 California Golden Bears defeated the Arizona State Sun Devils on Saturday afternoon in Berkeley by a score of 426.450-394.000. Cal was led once again by the all-around performance of redshirt senior Donothan Bailey, who totaled 88.100 points and won the all-around title at the meet. His best routines came on the pommel horse, when he posted a 15.300 and on high bar, with a career-best routine of 15.400. Not far behind Bailey was his teammate, sophomore Kevin Wolting, who scored an 86.900 in all-around competition.
“I could definitely see some rust after a weekend off,” said Associate Head Coach Brett McClure following the meet on Saturday. “We came out a little tentative today and never quite found our rhythm until the last event. That is something I addressed with the team right when the meet was over, and we really need to do a better job of getting into that rhythm from the first routine and carrying that momentum through the last event.”
The Golden Bears won each event this week against Arizona State, but did come out of the gates a bit slower than usual, posting a season-low of 70.450 on the floor exercise. Wolting, however, put together a season-high routine of 15.200 to win the individual event and make sure Cal cracked 70 points on the floor. Sun Devils’ senior Lee Wilkerson showed very well for the visitors, scoring a 14.800 on his floor routine.
The Bears had a team score of 69.850 on the pommel horse, an apparatus that has been somewhat of a challenge for the team thus far in 2014. Bailey and Wolting did lead the way for Cal on the pommel horse with very solid routines. Bailey, the Division I CGA Gymnast of the Week last time out, posted a score of 15.300, and Wolting added a routine that earned him a 14.400.
Sophomore Kyle Zemeir and redshirt senior Jeffrey Langenstein paced the Bears on the still rings, each earning scores of 14.800, while Wolting continued his impressive start to the day with a 14.400 of his own.
California began to pick up some steam on the vault, improving on their total from the Stanford Open (71.600) and finished today with a 72.950. As a group, Cal scored no lower than a 14.300, allowing them to capture the event over Arizona State. Freshman Ty Loughridge led the way for the Sun Devils with a very solid effort, scoring a 14.800 and took home the individual title.
Junior co-captain Jon Liu stole the show on parallel bars, and as the team’s anchor on the event, developed some serious momentum for the team heading into the final rotation. Liu set a career-best with a jaw-dropping routine that saw him score a 15.450. Bailey also impressed again, posting a routine that earned him a 14.800.
“I feel really awesome for Jon,” McClure added after Liu’s routine wowed the crowd in attendance at Haas Pavilion. “He had been struggling with that event, which is his best one, all year. We made some adjustments in practice and he was really confident this last week or so, practicing that routine. I think that really showed up today and he was able to really go attack and get after it.”
Cal finished the meet on a high note on the high bar, posting a team score of 71.800, which was their second best performance on the apparatus this season. Bailey set a new career-best with a routine that scored a 15.400, shattering his previous high of 15.000. Wolting (14.700) and fellow sophomore Kyle Zemeir (14.550) also impressed in the event for the Golden Bears on their way to the meet victory.
California hits the road next week for a Valentine’s Day battle with the third-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes on Friday, Feb. 14 at St. John’s Arena in Columbus at 4:00 p.m. PT.