Coaching Flap Overshadows Strong Cal Invitational

George Chikovani of The Daily Californian staff contributed to this report.

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Adversity has been no stranger to the Cal women's gymnastics team this year. On Sunday, that adversity reached a stunning and disappointing climax during one of the most important meets of the year.

In Sunday's San Francisco Chronicle, Cal gymnasts, speaking anonymously, said Bears coach Trina Tinti uses poor practice techniques and has done so ever since becoming head coach.

The gymnasts said the poor techniques have been the cause of the numerous injuries this year and in previous years. In the four years that Tinti has been coach of the Bears, there have been 28 gym-related surgeries performed on members of her team, according to the Chronicle.

This is not the first time Tinti's methods have been questioned. Last year assistant coach Pete Doyle quit mid-season, citing among other issues, Tinti's training tactics.

"Trina's coaching style made gymnastics a miserable experience for the girls," Doyle told The Daily Californian last year.

"It's always been bad, it's just that this year people are standing up for it," ex-captain Lindsay Baker said Sunday.

The senior left the team last month, citing her inability to coexist with Tinti.

Tinti refused comment on the allegations made in the article, as did members of the team.

Meanwhile, the Bears hosted the California Invitational at Haas Pavilion. UCLA won with a score of 194.825. Cal finished second with 192.825, followed by UC Davis at 190.550 and UCSB at 185.500. UCLA was in control for the entire meet, leading after each rotation by large margins and never seeing threats from any of the other schools.

Bears freshman My-Lan Dodd won the all-around for the second time this year. She scored a 39.075, ahead of UCLA standout Malia Jones and Davis' Flora Bare.

UCLA's Jamie Dantzscher, one of the top gymnasts in the country, came through with another impressive performance. She scored a perfect 10 on her floor routine and tied with teammate Doni Thompson for first on the bars with a 9.975.

The Bears (5-4, 1-4 in the Pac-10) were happy to talk about their finish.

"I think we did really well," said junior Monique Johnson, who had an impressive floor score of 9.800.

In response to the injuries and illnesses the team has had to go through, she said, "I just want to make it through the season healthy and happy."

As for injury and illness concerns, Tinti said they are always an issue.

"Health is always a concern," she said.

depleted men squeak by


It was closer than anticipated, but the No. 10 Cal men's gymnastics team was able to defeat Stanford for the second time this season by a score of 206.350-206.050 Friday at Haas Pavilion.

The Bears (4-0, 2-0 in the Pac-10) were led by junior Cody Moore, who recently qualified for a spot on the U.S. National team. He scored a 53.100 in the all-around, winning the meet for the third time in as many meets for Cal this year.

What's scary about Moore's performance this year is that coach Barry Weiner believes Moore has yet to have a good meet.

"If he has a good meet, he can compete with anybody," Weiner said. "He has the potential to win the NCAA individual title."

Cal has never had an NCAA individual all-around champion.

Sophomore David Lloyd Eaton finished third in the all-around with a 52.750, including a 9.300 on the high bar late in the meet to put the Bears ahead of the Cardinal for good.

Freshman Graham Ackerman, one of the top performers this year, suffered a sprained ankle during warm-ups and was unable to compete.

"I didn't want him to compete hobbled," Weiner said.

Ackerman should be back in action next weekend at the UCLA Invitational.

Instead of the customary five competitors in each event, Weiner was forced to use only four gymnasts in all but one rotation. The top four scores in each event count toward the final total, with the lowest score being scratched.

Ackerman's injury and the current ineligibility of freshman JinJing Zhang meant the Bears had no room for error.

"(The gymnasts) showed a lot of courage," Weiner said.

David Durante paced the Cardinal (1-2, 0-2 in the Pac-10), scoring a 52.900 in the all-around to finish second.

On a sour note for the Bears, senior Brian Sano will miss the rest of the year after deciding to undergo arthroscopic surgery on his shoulder.


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