WALNUT CREEK, Calif. – Following a successful opening weekend in which Cal posted its second-highest season-opening score in program history, a pair of Golden Bear gymnasts have nabbed two of the Pac-12’s weekly honors. Senior Alicia Asturias is the Pac-12’s Gymnast of the Week and freshman Charlie Owens is the Freshman/Newcomer of the Week, the conference announced Tuesday. Stanford’s Amanda Spinner was voted Specialist of the Week.
Captain and all-around veteran Asturias (Granite Bay, Calif.) continued her senior season right where her junior season left off – as a rock-solid competitor for the Golden Bears. Among the 120 routines displayed at the NorCal Meet in Sacramento, Asturias stole the show and turned in four hit routines to claim the top all-around spot (out of five competitors) with a 39.175.
Asturias finished the afternoon with three event titles on beam, floor and all-around and helped lead No. 22 Cal to a near-upset of No. 9 Stanford and Cal’s second-highest team score in a season opener in program history with a 194.650. Asturias’ 9.85 on beam was a new career high, topping her previous best of 9.80 set last season vs. Nebraska.
Newcomer Owens (Alta Loma, Calif.) was the lone freshman between all five schools to compete as an all-arounder at the NorCal Meet, but her inexperience did not show. Instead, Owens hit all four of her routines with poise and confidence to tally a 38.950 overall, good for second in the all-around competition. Owens was bested only by Asturias but beat out three other all-arounders.
Aside from the all-around, Owens finished in the top 10 of three other events, finishing sixth on vault with a 9.75, ninth on beam with a 9.775 and eighth on floor with a 9.75. Despite a last-minute lineup swap that put Owens in the uneven bars lineup when she was originally scheduled only to exhibition on bars, Owens did not get rattled and put together a 9.675 routine to help Cal to its final total.
Gymnast of the Week has been selected every week of the season since 2001. The Specialist of the Week award was added in 2008. This is the second year for Freshman/Newcomer of the Week honors. Owens' Freshman of the Week honor is the first-ever for the Cal program, and this is just the second time in program history that a Cal gymnast has been named Gymnast of the Week. The last was My-Lan Dodd on March 11, 2003.
The Bears return to the competition floor on Saturday, Jan. 11 at 6 p.m. where they will face Denver at the University of Denver.
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