Injuries, Interruptions Mar Cal's Outing at NCAAs

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It was a rough season for the Cal men's gymnastics team. The NCAA championships were a testament to the hardships faced.

No one could have predicted the number of injuries that plagued the team. It wasn't until the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation championships that the Bears were really able to compete with a healthy squad.

And then a ring broke on the second day of the NCAA competition.

The entire meet seemed to feel the repercussions from this untimely anomaly, affecting not only the Bears' performance, but others as well.

"I was disappointed by the overall competition," sophomore Jim Kerry said. "Not with the team or the scores, but because when the ring broke, everything stopped for an hour. Because it kind of threw off the momentum, I just went all out afterward."

Cal ended up with a fifth place finish overall on Friday.

"I clearly wasn't what we wanted, but it was a reflection of what we've been dealing with all season with injuries," said Kerry, who suffered a shoulder surgery during the season. "It would have been lucky to come out of nowhere and win, but we did almost as well as we could have done."

Kyle Bunthuwong was among those who felt the effects of his season injury on his performance.

"We haven't really been in a two-day competition in a while," Bunthuwong said. "Some of us were really tired."

No. 6 Cal secured the team's qualification for Friday's team championship with its third place finish on Thursday.

Junior Kyle Bunthuwong won the all-around on Thursday night with teammate Glen Ishino following close on his heels to place second.

Junior Bryan del Castillo surpassed Bunthuwong and Ishino on Friday evening at the team qualifier by taking fourth place in the all-around, posting a score of 88.050.

Based on the gymnasts' performances on Friday, six of the Bears were sent to represent their team for the individual championships held on Saturday.

Four out of the six competitors for Cal earned All-American status in the individual championships by placing in the top eight spots for their events -- Del Castillo's sixth place finish on floor, Kerry's sixth place finish on parallel bars and Christian Monteclaro's sixth place finish on vault.

"The team really stepped up, especially knowing we were the underdogs," Bunthuwong said.

Despite the fact that the weight of injuries and an interruption to the competition played into the team's finish, there were definitely some pleasing performances.

"We had a really, really bad season luck-wise with injury" Kerry said. "I think we were ranked 18th at one point in the season, and then to move to sixth and then to getting fifth (at the NCAA's) -- that's something to be proud of."


Contact Kelly Suckow at [email protected]

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