Bears Dig Themselves a Hole in First Two Rotations, Take Third in Tri-Meet

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On Sunday, the Washington women's gymnastics team made it nearly impossible for Cal to get a win for the first time this season.

The Huskies posted a 194.400 team total, a score that the Bears have not been able to best since March 9, 2007. And needing its best performance in years to overcome Washington, Cal (0-7, 0-3 in the Pac-10) didn't do itself any favors in the first two rotations at Haas Pavilion.

"Sometimes the scores are out of your control," Cal coach Cari DuBois said. "You can be perfect in everything and still lose in gymnastics."

Although Washington put itself in a near untouchable position with four complete rotations, Cal's other opponent, Illinois State, couldn't keep up with the Huskies in the fourth.

The girls from Normal, Ill., were anything but normal during the first three rotations, staying within a point of Washington heading into the fourth, but a few falls on the bars almost let the Bears back into the mix.

In the end, the Bears' first two rotations proved too detrimental to overcome their deficit in the last two frames, as they also fell to the Redbirds 191.350-190.950.

"It was a tale of two competitions," DuBois said. "We really came out and expected to execute better than we did."

At the beginning of the second rotation it looked bad for the Bears, as sophomore Avery Gee received an 8.350 to open things up. Freshman Erica Varon then missed the top bar while parallel to the ground and fell straight to the mat, although she was able to stay on the equipment with her next effort to somewhat salvage her routine with an 8.675.

"It was really exciting to see us pick it up in the last two events," Gee said. "We have had a lot of injuries and we are finally getting our full lineups back. It feels good to get back into position."

Fortunately for Cal, its second act started a little early, as the last four Bears gymnasts notched quality performances on the bars, highlighted by Bridgette Glass' score of 9.825.

In the third rotation, five Cal gymnasts scored over 9.5 on the beam. Again it was the senior Glass who lead the Bears with a 9.85, heavy-duty pink knee brace and all.

By the fourth, it seemed as though it would be a two-team race for first place, as Cal trailed both teams by more than three points. But some costly falls on the bars and a near flawless effort from the Bears on the floor momentarily brought second place into question.

"Floor is an event that we have actually been struggling on due to a lack of depth," DuBois said. "But we were very aggressive with our upgrades and we went five for five."

The Huskies closed out strong on the vault with four of their gymnasts scoring over a 9.700 to secure first place in the overall team competition.

"Our efforts are really helping to turn our season around," junior Sophia Hocini said. "We have a bye week coming up and we are going to pick it up in practice. Our next meets will only get better."


Contact Joseph Cannon at [email protected]

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