The Daily Californian Online

Still Winless in Pac-10, Cal Limps Into Big Flip

By Lauren Bachelis
Contributing Writer
Friday, February 22, 2008
Category: Sports > Winter > Gymnastics (Women's)

Jessica Kelley has been one of the bright spots for a Cal team that has yet to win a conference meet. She is slated to compete in the bars and on the beam against Stanford.

The Cal women's gymnastics team has repeated over and over again that even though it has had to deal with adversity, it tries to remain positive.

It seems that the Bears' scores and other difficulties are beginning to affect their mindsets, however, as junior Jessica Kelley admitted, "Our spirits have been getting a little bit low."

Given their position, it is not hard to see where they are coming from. Cal (2-5, 0-5 in the Pac-10) has yet to win a conference meet. On Sunday, No. 7 Stanford (5-4, 1-1), which has had a fairly successful season, will be host the Bears at 2 p.m. at Burnham Pavilion.

The Cardinal should prove a good match for Cal. In conference, Stanford lost to Oregon State 194.600-194.125 and barely edged Arizona-two teams that the Bears fell to early in its season.

Last Sunday, Cal suffered another conference defeat, this time 195.225-189.425 to UCLA in Haas Pavilion. The Bears' main goal this week is to fight their way out of their continuous slump.

"My expectation is that the meet will go better than the last couple meets have," Kelley said. "Knowing that we are putting the effort forth in practice and working on the minor things makes everything a whole lot better. We will come out and try to hit as many (events) as we can without falling."

Falling was the primary reason that Cal lost so drastically to the Bruins last Sunday. Many of the girls had off days, especially in the bars and on the beam.

"Sometimes falls happen," DuBois said. "Everyone has their good days and bad days just like any average person."

It is easy to forget that these gymnasts are human with vulnerability. And like any average team would do when it is struggling, Cal knows that practice is really all it can count on at this point.

"We take what we do in practice and each week we set goals of the team of what we want to accomplish during practice and then just carry that into the competition the following week," DuBois said. "We have been focusing on fine-tuning all of our skills and having good energy and staying motivated."

As DuBois points out, a great way to stay focused is to concentrate on the little things instead of anything major. Practices this week consisted of working on handstands, being aggressive at attacking each skill and having strong finishes.

With the consistency of junior Bridgette Glass, and with Kelley competing in bars and probably the beam, the Bears may end up having a successful meet against the Cardinal if all goes as planned.

If there is one thing DuBois is proud of, it is her team's motivation to pick up the energy after it has fallen.

"We have had a challenging season so far," she said. "But with the adversity we have had to deal with and some of the setbacks that we have had, I have just been amazed by the team's outlook and their attitudes."


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