BERKELEY -- The No. 21 California women’s gymnastics team (5-5, 0-4 Pac-12) will be Pretty in Pink for breast cancer awareness Saturday as the Golden Bears play host to No. 24 Washington and Sacramento State. The meet begins Feb. 22 at 7 p.m. in Haas Pavilion, and fans are encouraged to wear pink in support of the breast cancer awareness movement and its survivors. Pre-meet activities include a pink ribbon-making station, as well as a pink polish nail painting and poster-making stations. Live stats will be available on CalBears.com, with scoring updates provided on Twitter @CalWGym.
Cal set a season-high 196.725 in a Valentine’s Day date with Sacramento State and San Jose State in Sacramento, Calif. Friday, sweeping every event title en route to the program’s highest road score in history and second-highest team score in history. The Bears set season-high team totals in three of the four events, and Cal gymnasts produced 12 top three finishes. Jessica Howe claimed her first all-around title, beating out seven other all-arounders, and Serena Leong claimed two event titles with career-high 9.925s, which also matched the second-highest individual scores on those events in program history. Sacramento State finished third with a 194.900.
No. 24 Washington’s 195.650 score against UCLA this weekend was the team’s second-highest score this season, second only to a 196.200 against Stanford. The Huskies are led by Aliza Vaccher, who is averaging 39.121 in the all-around.
• This will be the third time Cal and Sacramento State meet this season. The Bears beat the Hornets in both meetings, claiming a 194.650-193.450 advantage at the season-opening NorCal Meet and beating Sac State 196.725-194.900 on Friday.
• Jessica Howe claimed her first-ever Pac-12 Freshman of the Week award after beating out seven other all-arounders at the Sacramento State tri meet. It was Cal’s third Freshman of the Week honor this season since Charlie Owens claimed the program’s first-ever honor on Jan. 7.
• This is the first meeting between Cal and another top 25 ranked program this season where Cal has been ranked higher than its opponent.
NEXT UP The Bears will enjoy a slight break from competition before returning to the floor on Monday, March 3 to take on Bay Area and Pac-12 rival Stanford down at the Farm. The meet will be televised live on the Pac-12 Networks beginning at 7 p.m.
CAL’S WEEKLY PAC-12 HONORS CONTINUE FLOWING IN This week’s Pac-12 Freshman of the Week honor for Jessica Howe makes three Golden Bears who have combined for four Pac-12 weekly gymnastics honors for Cal this season. 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.
ALL-ACCESS PASS Join Cal Women’s Gymnastics in the social media realm for behind-the-scenes access to the Bears. Follow Cal on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for meet scores, practice updates, exclusive photos, videos and more. Find Cal at: • Twitter: @CalWGym • Facebook: Facebook.com/CalWomensGymnastics • Instagram: @CalWGym
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.
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.