BERKELEY -- The 2014 Pac-12 Gymnastics Championships return to Berkeley for the first time since 2005, and Cal enters the championships as the No. 5 seed. The Golden Bears will compete in the evening session, which begins at 6:30 p.m. PT, along with seeds 6-8 - Arizona, Arizona State and Washington. The afternoons session will begin at 1 p.m. and feature the conference’s No. 1-4 seeds in Utah, UCLA, Stanford and Oregon State. Both sessions will air live on the Pac-12 Networks with commentary from Amanda Border and Jim Watson, with live stats on CalBears.com and twitter updates on the @CalWGym Twitter.
All-session tickets for Saturday’s Pac-12 Championships are available via the “Buy Online” link on CalBears.com, by calling 1-800-GO-BEARS (462-3277). All-session passes are $15 for adults, $12 for seniors (age 65 and above) and youth (12th grade and under), and $8 for students. Single-session passes are $12 for adults, $8 for seniors and youth, and $5 for students. Single-session tickets will be sold at the ticket office on Spieker Plaza during the day of the Pac-12 Championships only.
LAST YEAR AT THE PAC-12 CHAMPIONSHIPS At the 2013 Pac-12 Championships in Corvallis, Ore., the Golden Bears scored a 195.075 to finish seventh of the eight teams. The hosting Oregon State Beavers won the Championship with a 197.850. No Cal gymnast finished in the top three of an event, but after the meet head coach Justin Howell was announced as the Pac-12 Coach of the Year and Serena Leong was named Cal’s first-ever Freshman/Newcomer of the Year. Then-senior Mariesah Pierce and Alicia Asturias were named to the All-Pac-12 Second Team for their all-around performances.
• Cal finished seventh at last year’s Pac-12 Championships with a score of 195.075. The Bears have never finished higher than fifth since the Pac-12 Championships began in 1987.
• As the fifth-seeded team, Cal earned the right to compete in Olympic Order and will begin Session II on vault, then follow on bars, beam and floor.
• The last Golden Bear to win the title on an event at the Pac-12 Championships was My-Lan Dodd, who won beam with a score of 9.95 in 2004. Only three other Cal gymnasts have been a Pac-12 champion - Mindy Ornellas (1997, floor), Lisa Washington (1995, vault) and Cindy Tom (1992, bars).
SHE’S GOT THE KNOW-HOWE This week, freshman Jessica Howe claimed her second Pac-12 Freshman of the Week honor after posting a career-high 39.350 all-around score and claiming her fourth beam title of the season. The two awards tie Charlie Owens’ two titles this season as the pair of Bears have combined for four of the possible 11 Freshman of the Week honors in 2014. Prior to this season, a Cal freshman had never claimed the Freshman of the Week award since the honor was introduced in 2013.
NEXT UP Cal awaits its postseason fate, which will be announced live on the NCAA Women’s Gymnastics Championships Selection Show at noon P.T. on NCAA.com. Mathematically, Cal has earned a berth to NCAA Regionals with its Regional Qualifying Score, and a strong performance at the Pac-12 Championships could also propel the Bears to a spot as one of the 18 seeded teams. Minnesota, Georgia, Arkansas, LSU, Penn State and Washington will host.
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
ASTURIAS NAMED AAI AWARD FINALIST
Alicia Asturias was one of 17 finalists for the prestigious AAI Award, sponsored by the American Athletic, Inc. The senior all-arounder was just one of four Pac-12 finalists, joining gymnasts from UCLA, Utah and Stanford.
CLEAN SWEEP The Bears swept every event, including the all-around, in two consecutive meets - first at Sacramento State in a tri-meet with San Jose State on Feb. 14, and again in a home triangular with then-No. 24 Washington and Sac State on Feb. 22. Between the two events, Alicia Asturias and Serena Leong combined to claim eight event titles.
ASTURIAS BREAKS 10-YEAR DRY SPELL Alicia Asturias nabbed the Pac-12 Gymnast of the Week award on Jan. 7 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.
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.
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.