Jan. 11, 2013
BERKELEY - Senior Alicia Asturias and the Golden Bears earned a victory over UC Davis in one of the best Cal gymnastic performances in recent memory. Career bests were set and school records were matched in the victory over the Aggies where the Bears prevailed 194.575-192.425. Asturias won the all-around with a score of 39.300, Cal's highest mark since My-Lan Dodd and Stephanie Kim scored a 39.575 on March 12, 2004.
"This team is competing with so much confidence and I'm so proud of that," said head coach Justin Howell. "It's something our fans and alum are recognizing. These performance are putting Cal gymnastics back on the national map and I think everyone is going to be proud."
"Our score tonight, at the end of the meet, felt like a letdown after we were on pace for such a high score after three events, but it was still higher than anything we did last year. To count two falls on beam and still score a mid 194 shows what this team is capable of. We're going to train hard this week to get ready for Washington next Friday."
The Golden Bears started out the meet on the bars, where they received strong performances from junior specialist Dallas Crawford and senior Madisyn O'Brien. Both scored 9.800 on the apparatus to place second at the meet. Freshman Jordan Widener scored a 9.550, setting a new season high on the apparatus. The Bears left the bars posting a very strong score of 48.575.
Cal next moved to the vault where sophomore Crystal Paz wowed the audience by nailing a full layout to lead off the event, scoring a season high 9.775. That performance was just the beginning for the Bears, as junior Alicia Asturias scored the Golden Bears' second 9.900 of the season to win the individual competition. The score is tied for third in the Cal record book, and the first 9.900 a Bear has earned on vault since My-Lan Dodd did it on March 7, 2005. Freshman Serena Leong kept up the pace by hitting a 9.825, her new season high. Crawford performed her first vault of 2013 and scored a 9.775. After two rotations, the Golden Bears were ahead 97.675-96.500.
Paz led off on the floor and posted a new career best of 9.725. Senior Carol Chang and freshman Kristina Heymann followed up with big scores of their own: 9.725 and 9.825, respectively. Then Asturias scored big with her second 9.900 of the night. The score, like her vault, tied her for third in the Cal record book. It's the highest score on the floor for the Bears since Bridgette Glass scored the same on March 16, 2008. Not to be outdone, Leong quickly followed up the outstanding performance, claiming a 9.900 of her own. The 49.175 was the Bears' highest team score on the floor since scoring a 49.425, the school record, at Stanford on Feb. 20, 2004.
"This team works harder than any team I've coached," said Howell. "That's where our success is going to come from. It's not coming from talent, though we are talented, but it's coming from the work that we do every day and the sacrifices that the athletes make. They are choosing to be athletes. They make good choices so that their hard work will show up in every single meet."
On beam, Asturias finished her superb night with a 9.725, while Chang and Pierce also finished strong with 9.775 and 9.750, respectively. Chang's score was the top for the apparatus. Cal finished with a 47.625 on the event.
Cal stays on the road on Friday, Jan. 18 at 7:00 for a dual meet in Seattle against Pac-12 foe Washington.