April 21, 2009
BERKELEY - The No. 5 California men's gymnastics team put forth an excellent outing at this year's 2009 NCAA Championships and set multiple team and individual bests in the process. The Golden Bears (17-8) finished third at the team qualifier on April 16 and took fourth overall in the team championships.
Senior Evan Roth won his first-ever national championship on still rings in the individual portion of the NCAA championships.
Roth's title was his first and the 29th individual title in program history. Seven Bears competed in the 10 events and they combined for nine All-America honors - freshman Glen Ishino and junior Bryan del Castillo on high bar; Ishino on pommel horse; Roth and Kyle Brady on rings; Roth on vault; and Brady, Ishino and freshman Jim Kerry on parallel bars.
The 13 top-10 individual finishes mark the first time since 1959 that a Cal team has achieved this feat and only the second time in program history.
Cal's fourth-place finish is the 10th time in the past 12 years that the team has closed the year as one the top five teams in the country at the NCAA Championships. It was also the highest the Bears have finished since 2002, when they were third.
The Bears finished the year at 17-8 overall, one of the best records in recent school history.
Head coach Barry Weiner is now 255-97-1 in 18 years at the helm of the Bears.
In the two days of competition at the national championships, Cal set five team season and four program bests. In the championships, the Bears achieved a school high on floor with a 60.250, 59.700 on pommel horse, 63.150 on vault and team total of 361.150. Cal's 60.650 in the team championships was a season high.
Freshman Nic Blair earned a 14.550 in the team championships for a new season and career high.
Kyle Bunthuwong set two personal highs - 14.900 on horse and 14.900 on rings - and two 2009 bests - vault (15.750) and parallel bars (14.650).
First-year law student Kyle Brady hit two final bests in his last meet as a Golden Bear. Brady earned a 15.300 on rings in the team championships for a season best and scored a 15.075 on parallel bars in the individual championships for a new career high and second place.
Co-captain Kyson Bunthuwong achieved three season and career highs. In the team qualifiers, he notched a 15.250 on high bar for a personal best and placed him second amongst the other 41 gymnasts. During the team championships, he broke his records with a 15.200 on pommel horse and 89.000 in the all-around. His 15.350 on parallel bars in the qualifier placed him first.
Del Castillo scored his best marks of the season in Minneapolis. Het set new personal bests on vault (15.500) in the qualifier as well as floor exercise (15.200) and horizontal bar (14.750) in the championships.
Junior Daniel Geri turned in two key performances in the team championships - grabbing a 14.700 on horse and 14.350 on h-bar for new career bests.
Ishino had three standout nights, setting three personal bests and repeating one. In the team qualifier, he scored a 15.050 (rings), 15.000 (h-bar) and 91.150 (all-around). His all-around score placed him second. In the championships, he repeated his score on horizontal bar to tie his career high. He won pommel horse in the qualifier with a 15.300, which was .100 shy of tying his personal best.
Kerry excelled in his first NCAA outing, grabbing a 14.600 on floor for a career high. He also earned a 14.750 on p-bars to tie for fourth in the qualifier.
Roth set three new career highs to end his years at Cal on a high note. In the qualifier, he scored a 14.700 on floor and 16.100 on vault, where he placed third overall. His national-championship winning 15.600 on rings in the individual round was a new career high.
Freshman Michael Salipante scored his highest marks of the year on rings, his specialty event in his freshman campaign, where he earned a 14.700.