Date: Friday, Feb. 14
Time: 7 p.m. PT
Location: Sacramento, Calif.
Venue: The Hornet’s Nest
Live Stats: HornetSports.com
BERKELEY -- No. 24 Cal (3-5, 0-4 Pac-12) has a Valentine’s Day date with Sacramento State and San Jose State as the teams meet for the second time this season at the Hornet’s Nest in Sacramento, Calif. beginning Friday, Feb. 14 at 7 p.m. Live stats and a live stream will be available at www.HornetSports.com.
The teams previously met in their season opener at the five-team NorCal Meet hosted by Sac State in the same venue. Cal started 2014 with the highest score in a season opener in program history, a194.650, to claim second at the meet behind Stanford’s 194.825. San Jose State finished third with a 194.400 and Sac State finished fourth with a 193.450, just ahead of UC Davis’ 193.325.
This week’s triangular at Sac State comes after the cancellation of Cal’s meet against Oregon State on Feb. 8 due to inclement weather. Previous to the Oregon State meet, Cal hosted gymnastics heavyweight No. 9 UCLA at Haas Friday, losing 196.575-195.550 in a meet that saw the Bears claim two of the four event titles and finish in the top three in each event. Alicia Asturias was the evening’s uneven bars champion with a new career-high 9.90, and freshman Jessica Howe made her all-around debut with her introduction to the vault lineup. Howe claimed the beam title for the third time in as many weeks with a career-high 9.90 performance.
• This is the second time this season that Cal, Sac State and San Jose State are all meeting in the same competition. The three programs all opened their seasons at the five-team NorCal Meet hosted by Sac State. Cal claimed second (194.650), San Jose State was third (194.400) and Sac State was fourth (193.450).
• Alicia Asturias is ranked in the Top 25 nationally on the uneven bars (19).
• Freshman Jessica Howe is on a three-meet beam title streak after claiming the beam titles vs. Denver, ASU and UCLA.
Cal will suit up at Haas to host a triangular including Washington and non-conference foe Sacramento State. The Golden Bears return Saturday, Feb. 22 at 7 p.m. The meet is Cal’s breast cancer awareness meet and will be themed the “Pretty in Pink” meet. Fans will have access to pink nail-painting, pink hair bows and pink poster-making stations.
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NO SOPHOMORE SLUMP
The 2013 Pac-12 Freshman of the Year Serena Leong has yet to show any signs of a sophomore slump, claiming event titles at both the NorCal Meet season opener and at Arizona State. The consistency has also continued from other upperclassmen including leading all-arounder Alicia Asturias and specialists Dallas Crawford and Maddie Kratzke.
The Cal squad has benefited immensely from from the addition of eight newcomers to the Golden Bear roster as freshmen have filled holes in the lineup for every single event. Charlie Owens and Jessica Howe have both competed in all four events and are joined by specialists Emily Richardson and Desiree Palomares as freshmen who have entered the competitive lineup.
SHE’S GOT THE KNOW-HOWE
Freshman Jessica Howe has claimed three consecutive balance beam titles in the past three competitions, against Utah, at Arizona State and most recently with a career-high 9.90 vs. UCLA.
ASTURIAS, OWENS CLAIM PAC-12 WEEKLY HONORS
A pair of Golden Bears have earned three Pac-12 weekly gymnastics honors for Cal this season. Both senior Alicia Asturias and freshman Charlie Owens claimed the weekly Pac-12 honors for the week of Jan. 7 - the program’s first weekly honors since 2003. Asturias nabbed the Pac-12 Gymnast of the Week award after claiming three event titles at the NorCal Meet, becoming the first Cal gymnast since My-Lan Dodd in 2003 to earn a weekly honor. Newcomer Charlie Owens was the program’s first-ever Freshman of the Week since the introduction of the award last season. Owens repeated with another Freshman of the Week award for the week of January 28.
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.