Alicia Asturias was named to the All-Academic First Team for the second consecutive year.
The Golden Bears wrapped up one of the most successful seasons in program history with a sixth-place finish
Head coach Justin Howell picked up his second major coaching honor of 2013
Cal will compete against Georgia, Oregon State, Arkansas, Boise State and Arizona State for a national championship berth
195.075 total is best conference finish since 2004
Justin Howell, a well-respected coach on the collegiate and club level, was named the head women's gymnastics coach at the University of California, Director of Athletics Sandy Barbour announced on June 25, 2012.
"I am thrilled Justin Howell has accepted our offer to become the head coach of our women's gymnastics program," Barbour said. "Our student-athletes made great strides with Justin as a member of our staff this past season and this appointment continues to move the program in a positive direction with a foundation for future success. He possesses the innate qualities of a successful head coach and will work tirelessly to build Cal into one of the elite women's gymnastics programs in the nation."
An assistant coach with the Golden Bears this past season, Howell was elevated to the top post following a national search for the position. He replaces Danna Durante, who resigned last month to become the head women's gymnastics coach at the University of Georgia.
"I would like to thank Sandy Barbour for giving me this incredible opportunity to serve as the head coach for the women's gymnastics program," Howell said. "I am excited for the opportunity to lead this team and to continue the forward progress that we have already made in one short year."
In his first season on the Cal staff, Howell played a major role in guiding the squad to an average score nearly a full point higher than the year prior to his arrival. The Golden Bears saw measureable improvement across the board with 23 gymnasts recording personal high scores and eight student-athletes earning Pac-12 All-Academic honors.
Cal recorded its highest score since 2007 with a mark of 194.724 against Stanford inside Haas Pavilion this past winter in a season full of standout achievements. Two gymnasts competed at the NCAA Regionals, including all-arounder Madisyn O'Brien and beam specialist Nicolette Lew, who both return next season.
With a challenging schedule that included top-25 opponents in each of its final seven competitions, Cal's young squad gained valuable experience that will serve well for a promising future in Berkeley. The Bears return all but two gymnasts in 2013, including Leilani Alferos, who sat out this past season after transferring from Oregon State. Cal also welcomes incoming signee Serena Leong to the program next winter.
"With 12 student-athletes returning to our line-up and a strong incoming class, the future looks very bright," Howell said. "I am honored to be a part of Cal's mission, vision and values, and I will do everything within my power to lead this team towards national prominence."
Howell brings more than 15 years of experience as a head coach in the area, having served as the head coach and team director at Airborne Gymnastics in Santa Clara since 1997. His knowledge of the Bay Area landscape will bolster the Golden Bears' already strong recruiting footprint in the region.
In his career, Howell has coached more than 40 gymnasts to NCAA scholarships at 19 different universities, while leading Airborne gymnasts to 30 state championships. He coached two Junior Olympics. national AA champions, four JO National Team members and two U.S. National Team members. Howell was named the 2004 Northern California Coach of the Year, the 2008 Region I Coach of the Year, and was appointed a Visa Championships coach in both 2008 and 2010. He is the founder of the Rhythm Attic Dance Studio, a Zumba fitness studio in Santa Clara.
Howell, who is married to Elisabeth Crandall-Howell with two children Jacob and Noah, received an athletic scholarship at San Jose State University, graduating in 1999 with a B.S. in kinesiology.