Feb. 3, 2013
BERKELEY - The No. 20 California women's gymnastics team (6-3, 1-3 Pac-12) fell to No. 14 Oregon State (6-5, 2-1 Pac-12) 196.050-194.700 Sunday at Haas Pavilion, but battled through adversity to turn in solid performances.
The Golden Bears started the meet with the loss of senior all-arounder Mariesah Pierce, who suffered a minor injury during warm-ups, but did not let the loss of a prime performer hinder their routines. The team turned in its second-best balance beam score of the season with a 48.675, and several gymnasts stepped up to make their debut in the event lineups. Junior Alicia Asturias made her contribution with a 9.85 first-place floor finish, and shared second place with Oregon State's Brittany Harris in the all-around for her 39.175 total from all four performances. Because of injuries only five Bears were entered in the vault rotation, forcing each competitor to hit, and the team responded by posting a 48.825.
"The team completely pulled themselves together even though the situation wasn't ideal. You can't really have more adversity than that, and that's when champions are made," said Cal assistant coach Elisabeth Crandall-Howell. "It didn't matter what the score was because it was all about how they were able to rise up against adversity and still put together a great performance against all odds."
Freshman Serena Leong continued her string of impressive performances, setting a new career-high on the vault, posting a 9.85 to place third in the event. Leong's previous high of 9.825 came against UC Davis on Jan. 11, and again the next week at Washington on Jan. 18. She also matched her career-best on the balance beam with 9.775 and took third in the floor exercise with her 9.8 routine.
"Little by little, we've seen more of Serena's spark and her power and her hunger and personality come out. She's just blossoming all over the place, and she anchored three of our events today. For a freshman to be the end of the lineup on three events is almost unheard of," Crandall-Howell said. "She's starting to be such a solid, reliable staple of this team."
On the uneven bars, senior Madisyn O'Brien shared second place with Oregon State's Harris after registering a 9.825. Sophomore Maddie Kratzke entered her first bars lineup of the season with a 9.650 performance, upping the team's bars score to 48.450. Freshman Jordan Widener made her debut in the floors lineup with an 8.9 after a slight slip. The team finished with a 48.75 on floor.
Next up, the Golden Bears meet perennial gymnastics power and No. 9-ranked Utah on the road in Salt Lake City at 7 p.m. on Feb. 9.
Cal vs. Oregon State Event Winners