Cal Finishes Season at NCAA West Regional

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The season came to an end for the Cal women's gymnastics team on Saturday, as the Bears' three West Regional representatives who competed at Bank of America Arena in Seattle did not earn trips to the national championships.

Junior Sophia Hocini, who was recently nominated for second-team All-Pac-10 in the all-around, earned Cal's highest finish of the meet by placing 10th overall in the event.

Although she was unable to match her ninth-place finish from last year's competition in Corvallis, Ore., she did surpass her 2008 score by earning a 38.750.

Hocini's 9.775 mark on the floor-the fourth-highest in the event by a Cal gymnast this season-was good for 23rd overall.

She finished just ahead of fellow teammate Avery Gee, who garnered a 27th-place finish with a 9.750.

Gee's score exceeded her mark at the Pac-10 championships, but it was still a tenth of a point below the sophomore's best mark this season.

Surprisingly, the Bears' lowest output of the competition came from senior Bridgette Glass. Competing in what ended up being her last collegiate meet, the bar specialist could not replicate her impressive performance from last year's regional, where she turned in a 9.825 beam routine to finish 11th.

All season long, the senior had excelled on the bars, posting only two scores lower than 9.800. But in Seattle, she finished with her lowest mark of the season in the event, scoring a 9.650 to finish a distant 35th.

Cal's representatives did not earn any national berths on Saturday, as the night unquestionably belonged to Utah.

The Bears anticipated the level of competition they would face at the NCAA West Regional, something that some of the squad expressed prior to the competition,

"It usually draws in a big crowd, and it gives us another opportunity to compete against some of the best ... gymnasts in the country," Hocini said.

And indeed, the fans in Seattle ended up seeing that the Utes possessed just that level of talent.

Aside from winning the team competition with a score of 197.675, Utah dominated the individual awards.

Senior Kristina Baskett posted scores of 9.950 on the vault and floor-capturing both event titles -- while finishing as runner-up on the bars and winning the all-around competition.

Illinois finished as the second team qualifier, while San Jose State's Thomasina Wallace won the bars and the Utes' Jamie Deetscreek captured the beam to round out the national representatives.

Coming into the regional competition, Cal gymnasts were looking to punch their tickets to Lincoln, Neb., but were forced to settle for an early return flight to Berkeley.

Next year, their sights will be set on Gainesville, Fla., as an end-of-season destination.


Contact Ed Yevelev at [email protected]

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