Cal Picks Up First Two Wins of Regular Season at Sacramento State Quad-Meet

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With the Pac-10 championships at Stanford only a week away, the Cal women's gymnastics team capped off the regular season on a high note, picking up its first two wins of 2009 and posting a season-high team score in its Sacramento quad-meet.

The Bears' overall mark of 191.975 was enough to edge Seattle-Pacific and UC Davis, placing the team in second behind host Sacramento State.

Yet the meet did not start out perfectly.

After an unbalanced performance on the beam that earned just a 47.600, Cal had to respond quickly.

"The beam was our lowest scoring event," Bears coach Cari DuBois said, "(but) they didn't let it get to them. I said, 'Let's focus on getting it back on the next routines'."

Cal did just that, particularly excelling on the uneven bars -- where the Bears had previously struggled to maintain consistency -- with a new season-high of 47.950.

Bridgette Glass paced the Bears in the event, tying her personal-best mark of 9.825.

"She is one of the best bar swingers I've ever been around," DuBois said of the senior gymnast, who also earned a 9.875 to capture the balance beam in her only other event.

The score tied Sacramento State's Amber Basgall for the highest individual result in any event on Friday.

"Whether (Bridgette) competes in one event or all four, (her) performances are solid and consistent," freshman Alex Leggitt said. "(She) always boosts our team score."

But it wasn't just Glass that gave the Bears a spark on Friday.

Sophomore Avery Gee continued to excel on the floor exercise, finishing third in the event with a 9.825 -- her fourth score of 9.800 or higher on the floor this season.

Meanwhile, Sophia Hocini, who has been Cal's top all-around performer in every meet since the opener, ended the regular season with a 38.900 -- just missing her season high and placing her second in the all-around on Friday. The junior's 9.725 also earned her a second-place finish on the vault.

In addition to praising her team's individual efforts, DuBois looked ahead to the possibilities heading into next week's Pac-10 Championships which determine regional qualifying.

"I totally believe Bridgette can win bars if she goes up and she does what she's capable of doing," DuBois said. "Avery's floor is super dynamic ... Sophia is coming in strong and continues to build more and more each meet."

And as a team, Leggitt feels the Bears have hit their stride at just the right moment.

"The timing has been great," she said. "Last meet's victory really gave everyone a confidence boost going into this week's training for Pac-10's, our most important meet of the season."

Yet despite the accomplishments in Sacramento, the coach believes that Cal still has room for improvement before next week's competition.

"We still made mistakes ... (and) haven't put it all together," DuBois said, although she was happy that many of the gymnasts' errors Friday came from aggressively approaching their routines.

And that's exactly the mindset with which she wants the Bears to enter Maples Pavilion -- being aggressive and heading in "with nothing to lose."

"People are overlooking us," DuBois said, "(but) I really think we can surprise some people next week."


Contact Ed Yevelev at [email protected]

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