Oklahama Beats Bears by Three to Stay Undefeated
Monday, March 7, 2011
Category: Sports > Winter > Gymnastics (Men's)
A mere three points doesn't seem like a large margin, but it made all the difference on Saturday night as the Cal men's gymnastics team gave Oklahoma the ninth win of its undefeated season.
No. 1 Oklahoma (9-0) should maintain its top ranking in the nation after the 360.850–357.750 win, while No. 4 Cal's record falls to 3-3.
Collective wins in the parallel bars and vault event were not enough for the Bears to claim the victory. The Sooners managed to take the other four events in the dual meet to seal their status as winners.
"It's really tough to sit back at home and support them from here, but I know that they are going to do very well and it's going to be a close meet," junior Glen Ishino said before the contest.
The Bears' usual go-to guy is still suffering from an injury, but Ishino has his hopes set on returning prior to the start of April.
"Win or lose, it's going to help us prepare for the NCAA Team Championships," Ishino said. "Our primary goal is to grab first place at NCAAs and these meets are going to help transform our team into a top team."
Cal took the lead at the completion of the fourth round, after Oklahoma got off to a solid start. The meet swayed back and forth in favor of both teams.
"I think we will beat our team high this season," sophomore Donothan Bailey said.
In the all-around, Bailey placed second with an 88.750 behind Oklahoma senior Steve Legendre's 90.400. He finished first on parallel bars, followed by sophomore Dennis Mannhart's second place performance. Senior Kyle Bunthuwong did, however, score 15.100, for the team high in pommel horse.
Sophomore Steven Lacombe came away with a strong showing on rings to score a winning 15.750. Nonetheless, it was Oklahoma who saw collective success on the same event with a 60.650 to Cal's 59.650.
"It is great to have Cal down here, because it may be the last time with the closing of their men's gymnastics program," Oklahoma head coach Mark Williams said.
Even the Cal gymnasts admit that the trip to Oklahoma was one worth taking in spite of the disappointing performance.
"After this meet, I just want everyone to continue to work hard like they are and stay healthy," Bailey said.
And it's clear the Bears are taking Saturday night's performance as a learning experience – the stepping-stone for the all-important meets ahead at the twilight of their final season at Cal.
Camellia Senemar covers men's gymnastics. Contact her at [email protected]
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