Feb. 24, 2013
BERKELEY - In another close contest in Palo Alto, the No. 9 California men's gymnastics team (1-6) fell to No. 4 Stanford (6-1) 428.800-424.550.
Small improvements in fundamentals over the past two weeks have made great impacts in a number of Cal's routines, and several gymnasts once again set new season or career-bests in their performances against Stanford.
"The guys were looking like they were on top of the world and having a great time hitting routine after routine after routine. They were so supportive of each other and cheering loudly for everyone," said assistant head coach Colin Christ.
For the second time in as many weeks, freshman Takahiro Kawada set a new career-best in the pommel event, scoring a 14.95. Kawada tied for first on the event with Stanford's John Martin, and freshman Colt Kucker earned third with his 14.65 performance. The 71.20 team score was also Cal's best pommel performance of the season, up from 69.70.
Cal also set a new season-high in the floor exercise, scoring 74.20. That score was bolstered by a new individual season-high score from junior Jeffrey Langenstein, who claimed first on the event with a 15.700, nearly a full point higher than every other floor competitor. The Golden Bears swept the floor competition, with senior Steven Lacombe finishing behind Langenstein with 14.80 and freshmen Kevin Wolting and Ryan Patterson tying for third with scores of 14.65.
Four gymnasts posted a score of 14.650 in the vault event to share second, including Cal's Patterson, Wolting and senior Christian Monteclaro, and California finished with a 73.00 on the event. Halfway through the meet, the Bears held a 218.40-212.40 advantage over the Cardinal.
The Bears continued to set new records with the rings event. Junior Matthew del Junco registered a season-best 14.70 to finish second and add to the team's final score of 70.950 on the event. The Bears started to get behind on the final two events, and though the team only scored 68.150 on the high bar, Wolting claimed the title by setting a career-high 15.050. California finished the meet on the parallel bars, registering a 67.050 with Patterson earning third place for his 14.350 routine, but the score was not enough to best Stanford.
"We have a very talented team, but it's a young a team and we're going through a bit of a rebuilding stage," Christ said. "Our trajectory is going great, and despite some mistakes I'm really proud of the team and the effort they've been putting in."
California will face the Cardinal a fifth time, along with Washington and the Japanese Collegiate National Team, in Palo Alto next Saturday at 7 p.m.