BERKELEY -- The University of California women’s gymnastics squad is set for a highly competitive 2014 campaign, with meets against eight teams who earned NCAA Gymnastics Regionals berths and three teams from the 12-team NCAA Championships field, including Super Six finalist UCLA. A pair of Cal’s regular season meets will be televised live on the Pac-12 Networks, as well as the Pac-12 Championships, which will be hosted in Haas Pavilion.
Opponents Denver, Utah, Arizona State, UCLA, Oregon State, Washington, Stanford and Kentucky all advanced to the 2013 NCAA Gymnastics Regionals, while Utah, UCLA and Stanford advanced to the NCAA Championships. Cal will play host to five home events, including the 2014 Pac-12 Gymnastics Championships.
“We have an incredible opportunity to go out and showcase how hard we’ve been working in the preseason and how talented and capable this team is,” said California head coach Justin Howell. “There’s no better stage than the Pac-12, and on top of that we’re going to the SEC– another one of the strongest conferences in the nation – and we’re incredibly excited to go up to Kentucky and show them what California gymnastics is all about.”
The season opens on Sunday, Jan. 5 with the five-team NorCal Meet at Sacramento State, featuring Cal, Stanford, UC Davis, Sacramento State and San Jose State. Cal will stay on the road for a dual meet at Denver on Saturday, Jan. 11 before the home opener in Haas Pavilion on Friday, Jan. 17 against perennial Pac-12 power Utah. The Utes are one of just five teams to have ever won an NCAA Gymnastics Championship since the NCAA began sponsoring women’s gymnastics in 1982.
Next, the Golden Bears will head to Tempe to face fellow 2013 NCAA Corvallis Regional opponent Arizona State before returning to Berkeley for one of the season’s most highly anticipated matchups in a dual meet vs. UCLA on Friday, Jan. 31. The meet will be televised live on the Pac-12 Networks. UCLA finished fourth in 2013’s NCAA Gymnastics Championships’ Super Six finals and is the only other Pac-12 team to have won a national championship in gymnastics.
The 2014 slate continues with a matchup at Oregon State on Friday, Feb. 7 in Corvallis, Ore., then back home for a triangular against Washington and Sacramento State on Saturday, Feb. 22.
The Golden Bears will enjoy a two-week break from competition before returning to the floor on Monday, March 3 at Stanford and live on the Pac-12 Networks. Cal will meet its first Southeastern Conference opponent that same week with a Friday, March 7 meet at Kentucky.
The Blue and Gold will continue the co-ed meet tradition at home in Haas Pavilion on Friday, March 14, hosting the UC Davis women’s gymnastics team along with Cal men’s gym and the Washington men’s team. Friday will also be senior night and a chance for fans to honor Alicia Asturias, Dallas Crawford and Leilani Alferos.
For just the third time in program history and the first time since 2005, Cal will host the conference championships. Both sessions of the Pac-12 Championships will be held in Haas Pavilion on Saturday, March 22 and will be televised live on the Pac-12 Networks.
“Gymnastics fans from all over the nation are going to be able to see two sessions of incredible gymnastics teams,” Howell said. “We’re really excited about the opportunity the Pac-12 Networks gives us to showcase every single athlete on every single event, and we’re thrilled we get to end our regular season at home. There’s no better place to be than to finish out the regular season on your home turf in front of your home fans.”
NCAA Regionals competition is set for April 5 at six sites – Minneapolis, Minn., Athens, Ga., Fayetteville, Ark., Baton Rouge, La., State College, Pa. and Seattle, Wash. The 2014 NCAA Championships will be held on April 18-20 at the Birmingham Jefferson Convention Complex in Birmingham, Ala.
Tickets for all regular-season home meets will be available for purchase at the ticket office on Spieker Plaza the day of the meet, beginning approximately one hour 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, which allows youth special perks such as an exclusive seating area and member t-shirt, will also be available for purchase.
Ticket and pricing information for the Pac-12 Championships will be announced at a later date.
The Golden Bears continue under the direction of NACGC West Regional Coach of the Year and Pac-12 Coach of the Year Justin Howell. This season also marks the return of 2013 Pac-12 Freshman of the Year Serena Leong and All-Pac-12 Second Team selection senior Alicia Asturias, who helped lead last season’s squad to Cal’s second-highest team score in program history. The Bears have also added seven newcomers to the roster, including senior international elite gymnast Jessica Howe and 2011 JO National Team member Isabelle Castillo, plus Dana Ho, Charlie Owens, Zoe Draghi, Amber Takara and Desiree Palomares.
2014 California Women’s Gymnastics Schedule
Nor Cal Meet
* Arizona State
* Oregon State
* Washington, Sac State
Palo Alto, CA
UC Davis (Co-ed Meet)
*Bold denotes home meets All times listed PT and subject to change