Bears Stay Healthy but Succumb to Defending Champion Cardinal

Photo: Junior Kyle Bunthuwong finished second in the all-around in Cal's season opener on Friday night. Stanford defeated the Bears, 352.75-340.10, in six rotations of competition.
Anna Hiatt/Staff
Junior Kyle Bunthuwong finished second in the all-around in Cal's season opener on Friday night. Stanford defeated the Bears, 352.75-340.10, in six rotations of competition.

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A gymnastics meet serves as a demonstration of the limits of human strength. Hard falls, muscles stretched to the max and tendons forced to do what should never be done are all ordinary occurrences.

It's no wonder that Kyle Bunthuwong said the No. 2 Cal men's gymnastics team's primary objective for last Friday's meet against Stanford was to survive unscathed.

"Our main goal is just to stay healthy," Bunthuwong said. "We've been plagued with injuries for a while."

Competing with an average of four gymnasts per event-compared to six or seven for the Cardinal-the Bears managed to keep their competing gymnasts healthy, but they couldn't topple the defending national champions.

Stanford led through all six rotations and had higher scores in all but two events, defeating Cal by a final score of 352.75-340.10.

"As a team, we wanted to hit at least four-for-four because we didn't have enough people in each event," Bunthuwong said. "We ended pretty well."

The statistical loss didn't seem to sting the Bears too much. The team looked loose and relaxed throughout the meet, and afterward agreed that it was still too soon to assess their performances.

"It's hard to say right now (which events need the most work) because we didn't have our full team competing," senior Bryan del Castillo said. "We just have to work on everything."

The most notable absence in Friday night's season opener was that of sophomore Glen Ishino. Last year, Ishino took home All-American honors in the pommel horse, parallel bars and high bar as a true freshman. Ishino sat out the Stanford meet with an injury.

Because of Ishino's absence, coach Barry Weiner awarded freshman Donathan Bailey his first collegiate action. Bailey competed in five events, recording his highest score in the pommel horse (14.75). Freshmen brothers Jean and Christian Monteclaro also competed in the vault.

Two Cal gymnasts competed in the all-around, del Castillo and Bunthuwong. Bunthuwong, who posted the high-score in the parallel bars (15.50), finished second, with 86.70 total points. Stanford gymnast Ryan Lieberman took first, with 87.10.

In his first time competing in all six events, del Castillo accumulated 86.35 total points, good for fourth place. Del Castillo was also Cal's most consistent performer. He scored 14 or more points in every event.

Now, the Bears have just a few days to prepare for their next meet, another matchup with Stanford, this time at Maples Pavilion.

"We knew this is the first meet so we were kind of expecting to be a little shaky all around," Bunthuwong said. "We just have to go to the gym and kick butt and get ready for next week."


Contact Katie Dowd at [email protected]

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