MEET NOTES: DENVER
Date: Saturday, Jan. 11
Time: 5 p.m. PT
Location: Denver, Colo.
Venue: Hamilton Gymnasium
Live Stats: DenverPioneers.com
Series History: Denver leads 10-3
BERKELEY -- Coming off the team’s second-highest score in a season opener in program history, No. 22 Cal (3-1, 0-1 Pac-12) heads to No. 18 Denver (0-0) to face the Pioneers on Saturday, Jan. 11 at 5 p.m. in Hamilton Gymnasium. Denver leads Cal 10-3 in regular-season meetings between the two teams.
Follow the action online with live stats available on DenverPioneers.com.
Cal began its 2014 season at the NorCal Meet in Sacramento on Sunday, where the Bears posted a 194.650, the second-highest score in a season-opening meet in program history. The Blue and Gold claimed six top-three finishes, including three event titles by Alicia Asturias and a second-place finish in the all-around by newcomer Charlie Owens. The opening weekend success continued into this week as Asturias became the first Golden Bear to be awarded Pac-12 Gymnast of the Week since 2003, and Owens was named Cal’s first-ever Pac-12 Freshman of the Week.
Denver will open its 2014 campaign vs. the Bears.
• Denver leads Cal 10-3 in meetings in the regular season between the two programs. The teams last met on March 8, 2011 at a quad meet in Oregon State. Cal lost to Denver 194.625-194.175.
• Alicia Asturias was named Pac-12 Gymnast of the Week on Tuesday, the first honor for a Golden Bear since 2003.
• Charlie Owens was awarded Pac-12 Freshman of the Week, the first-ever of that honor for the Cal program.
• Denver is the second of eight preseason-ranked teams Cal faces in 2014. The Bears lost to No. 9 Stanford 194.825-194.650 on Sunday.
• Cal claimed six top-three finishes in its last outing, and three returning gymnasts set new career-high totals.
The Blue and Gold returns to Berkeley to host perennial Pac-12 power Utah in the home opener on Friday, Jan. 17 at 7 p.m.
ASTURIAS, OWENS CLAIM WEEKLY HONORS
A pair of Golden Bears earned weekly Pac-12 honors - the program’s first weekly honors since 2003. Alicia Asturias nabbed the Pac-12 Gymnast of the Week award after claiming three event titles at the NorCal Meet. She becomes the first Cal gymnast since My-Lan Dodd in 2003 to earn a weekly honor. Newcomer Charlie Owens is the program’s first-ever Freshman of the Week since the introduction of the award last season.
POWER IN THE PAC-12
The Bears are scheduled to face eight teams ranked in GymInfo’s preaseason top 25 during the 2014 regular season, including three top 10 opponents in UCLA (No. 4), Utah (6) and Stanford (9). Three other Pac-12 schools made the cut – Oregon State (12), Washington (20) and Arizona State (25). Cal’s non-conference matchups include jaunts against No. 18 Denver and No. 21 Kentucky.
BEARS PICKED TO FINISH SEVENTH
Pac-12 coaches projected the Golden Bears to finish seventh in the conference in this year’s preseason coaches poll. Cal finished seventh last year ahead of Arizona State and has never finished higher than fifth (2008, 2000).
PAC-12 CHAMPIONSHIPS RETURN TO BERKELEY
The Pac-12 Gymnastics Championships will return to Berkeley for the first time since 2005 as the Bears are set to host all eight Pac-12 schools on Saturday, March 22 in Haas Pavilion.
THREE MEETS TELEVISED IN 2014
Three meets featuring the Cal women’s gymnastics team will air on the Pac-12 Networks this season. Those meets are:
• Friday, Jan. 31 vs. UCLA (Pac-12 Bay Area & LA)
• Monday, March 3 at Stanford
• Saturday, March 22 Pac-12 Championships
GET YOUR GOLDEN TICKET
All regular-season Cal women’s gymnastics home meets will be ticketed this season. Tickets for all home meets will be available for purchase at the ticket office on Spieker Plaza the day of the meet, beginning approximately 1.5 hours before the start of each meet and through the end of the second rotation. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for youth (12th grade and under) and seniors (age 65 and above). Membership for the popular Cub Club season-pass program, which allows youth special perks such as an exclusive seating area and a member t-shirt, is also available for purchase for $30 (cash or check only) for the season.
This season, Cal has three veterans to look to for leadership. Seniors Alicia Asturias and Dallas Crawford and junior Maddie Kratzke have been named captains for 2014. Along with the captains, five more letterwinners return - Pac-12 Freshman of the Year Serena Leong, Kristi Heymann, Jordan Widener, Crystal Paz and Leilani Alferos. All eight of Cal’s returning members combined for a total of 35 top 3 finishes in 2013.
EIGHT NEWCOMERS ADD DEPTH
Newcomers comprise exactly half of Cal’s 16-Bear roster this season as head coach Justin Howell added eight freshmen who are expected to make an immediate impact in the lineup. Cal’’s eight new faces include: international elite gymnast Jessica Howe, 2013 state vault champion and regional beam, floor and all-around champion Charlie Owens, Amber Takara, 2011 Junior Olympic National Team member Isabelle Castillo, 2013 Region 3 beam champion Dana Ho, Zoe Draghi, 2013 Region 1 all-around and beam champion Desiree Palomares and WOGA standout Emily Richardson.
TWO FOR 2015
The Bears will get another major boost of talent next year, as Toni-Ann Williams and Alicia Gallarzo commited to Cal in the early signing period to join Cal starting in 2014-15.
An international elite gymnast, Williams (Randallstown, Md./United Gymnastix) is a two-time World Championships competitor and Jamaica National Team member, while Gallarzo (Burbank, Calif./Wallers’ GymJam) was California’s 2012 Level 10 uneven bars champion and finished ninth on beam at the 2013 Junior Olympic Nationals.
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