Del Castillo Shines, but Cal Loses Second Straight Meet

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In previewing the the team's upcoming season, Cal men's gymnastics coach Barry Weiner was clear about the keys to the Bears' success in 2010.

"Our most important people are Kyle (Bunthuwong) and Glen (Ishino) ... and Bryan (del Castillo) will be a key contributor," he said.

Weiner's insight was spot-on during Cal's latest meet at Stanford, as the three gymnasts combined to lead the Bears in five of six events at Burnham Pavilion.

Unfortunately, del Castillo was the only member of the trio to compete in every event, as Cal fell short once again to the defending national champions, 349.50-340.850.

The team's most consistent gymnast from the season-opening home meet against the Cardinal, del Castillo once again performed well for the Bears, earning a team-high 15.100 on the floor and capturing the all-around competition over Stanford's Alex Buscaglia, 86.900-84.300.

"Bryan definitely had a strong meet for us," Bunthuwong said. "He is still coming back from an injury that hurt him the past couple of years, but he is definitely on his way."

Bunthuwong turned in some solid routines himself, topping Cal on the high bar and still rings, and winning the individual parallel bars title with a 15.250. However, the junior was slowed down by an injury he incurred mid-meet.

"After the (floor exercise), I kind of hurt my knee, which threw me off, and which made me skip the vault," he said. "The rest of the events I did pretty well."

And while Saturday's rematch against the Cardinal saw the season debut of sophomore Glen Ishino, he was only able to perform one event after missing the opener.

The All-American and U.S. national senior team member returned to pace Cal with a 14.00 the pommel horse, the Bears' only event victory.

Meanwhile, Cal's freshmen continued to gain experience, with Steven LaCombe competing on the floor exercise for the first time. Donathan Bailey once again participating in five of six events, and improved his score on the floor and high bar since his first meeting with Stanford.

The freshmen weren't enough, however. Even the vault, the team's signature event, did not go as smoothly as Bunthowong would have liked.

"We started off pretty unstable, so that kind of threw us off our game and we kind of had to pick it up later in the meet," he said. "We could have put in a lot more work.

"(Saturday's meet) is definitely going to motivate us to put in more numbers for next week."

The Bears will get a chance to put their work on display next Saturday, as they return to Burnham Pavilion to face off against their cross-bay rivals in the Stanford Open-the teams' third consecutive dual meet.


Contact Ed Yevelev at [email protected]

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