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Cal Women's Gymnastics survives and advances to Pittsburgh Regional Final
No.7 Golden Bears will need a better meet in the Pittsburgh Regional Final on Sunday to return to the NCAA Championships
No.7 California Golden Bears will need to be a lot better on Sunday than today, if they want to return to the NCAA Championships. However, making it to Sunday was always the only goal for the Regional Semifinal. Cal Bears easily booked a spot in the Regional Final despite a team score of just 197.250, an atypically low team score on a season where Cal’s National Qualifying Score (NQS) was a program-history high 197.825.
Cal Bears were solid on floor and bars but significantly underperformed on beam and vault. Maybe this was just some jitters for the first meet after a cross-country trip to Pittsburgh for this Regional Final. Bears had to make a similar trip two years ago when they competed at the Morgantown Regional Final in West Virginia. Ultimately, Cal will seek a repeat of that season when they booked one of only eight spots for teams at the NCAA Championships.
No.7 Cal will be joined by No.10 Michigan State (196.825) in advancing to Sunday’s Regional Final against two teams from tonight’s session II (expected to. be No.2 Florida and No.15 Arizona State or Maryland or Penn State). On Sunday, only the top-two schools will advance to the NCAA Women’s Gymnastics Championships in Fort Worth, Texas on April 13th-15th.
ROLL ON YOU BEARS!
I live-blogged this meet. You can retroactively follow the action below.
Before the Meet:
Judging from NQS (national qualifying score): if Cal can perform near their NQS of 197.825, they should make it through this weekend against Michigan State (197.595), Western Michigan (196.590), and West Virginia (196.515).
The top-4 teams expected to compete on Sunday are No.2 Florida (198.110), Cal, Michigan State, and Arizona State (197.105).
With a major mistake deduction being around 0.3, Cal should be able to withstand counting a fall (which would be two falls in one rotation) on Friday and still advance. Such margin would likely not exist for Sunday (assuming the Bears do get there).
Cal will start on Beam → Floor → Vault → Bars
Michigan State will start on Floor → Vault → Bars → Beam
Western Michigan will start on Bars → Beam → Floor → Vault
West Virginia will start on Vault → Bars → Beam → Floor
Here is the tentative Cal starting lineup:
ROTATION I: Cal on Beam
Nevaeh DeSouza (9.850) - solid leadoff routine, definitely took a small hop on landing though
Maddie Williams (9.825) - another solid routine, not the cleanest landing with a visible hop backward
Andi Li (9.850) - another small hop forward on the landing…again, this should not matter today, but probably another sub 9.9 score
eMjae Frazier (9.850) - solid not perfect with another slight hop on landing
Mya Lauzon (9.725) - uncharacteristic major balance check on her pass, best landing of the rotation so far
Gabby Perea (9.900) - easily the best routine of the rotation, allow Cal to drop Lauzon’s 9.7 score
Team Score: 49.275 (NQS of 49.540 coming in), early jitters for the Bears as they posted the 3rd lowest beam score of the season. Nonetheless, this is probably nothing to worry about with regards to advancing to Sunday. Just need to stay in the top-2.
No.7 Cal 49.275, No.10 Michigan State 49.475, Western Michigan 48.725, West Virginia 49.075
Michigan State had a out-of-bound on their first routine but was able to drop that score to take the early lead.
ROTATION II: Cal on Floor
Nevaeh DeSouza (9.875) - the senior with another solid score, DeSouza might not get the highest scores on the team anymore but one can always count on a 9.8+ from her
Gabby Perea (9.900) - another hit routine for the junior with some minor wobble on landings
Maddie Williams (9.925) - a very clean routine for the sophomore for the top Cal score of the day so far
Andi Li (9.875) - another reliable routine from the junior
Mya Lauzon (9.900) - excellent routine
eMjae Frazier (9.950) - best routine of the day so far from a Cal Bear, very clean landings on all the powerful tumbles
Not a good rotation on vault for Michigan State, they have to count a 9.6 and two 9.7 scores.
Commentators talked about how the Cal program got the support of a sports psychologist via the Cameron Institute. This is a very mental sport.
A very good 49.550 rotation, outperforming their NQS of 49.495, for Cal to take the lead and command of this quad meet.
No.7 Cal 98.825, No.10 Michigan State 98.475, Western Michigan 97.675, West Virginia 97.850
ROTATION III: Cal on Vault
Andi Li (9.850) - 9.95 starting value and a cleanish stuck landing
Maddie Williams (9.750) - another stuck landing after a slight fight
Casey Brown (9.725) - a significant hop for the other Cal freshman who will compete this weekend
Nevaeh DeSouza (9.800) - first 10.0 starting value vault for the Bears and a fairly clean stuck landing
Mya Lauzon (9.775) - a step back to save a fall, definitely could be better
Ella Cesario (9.750) - a late sub for eMjae Frazier, probably nothing to worry there, the best landing of the rotation
Cal earned a mediocre 48.925 (NQS of 49.370 coming in) rotation on vault. The judging might be quite tough for this apparatus today, but Bears got to be a lot cleaner on Sunday.
No.7 Cal 147.750, No.10 Michigan State 147.800, Western Michigan 147.075, West Virginia 146.325
Michigan State has retaken the lead after a strong bars rotation. There is still a sizable gap of 0.675 between Cal and Western Michigan going into the final rotation, so no real pressure there.
On Sunday, Cal will almost surely need to be better than Michigan State to advance in second place along with No.2 Florida. Cal should be able to pass Michigan State in the final rotation though.
ROTATION IV: Cal on Bars
Nevaeah DeSouza (9.850) - tiny step on her landing but a great start
eMjae Frazier (9.850) - had to fight the landing momentarily but another great routine, especially coming off a major mistake on this apparatus by Frazier at the Pac-12 Championships last time
Gabby Perea (9.950) - while most Cal Bears wobbled today, Perea earned 9.9 or better on all three of her routines, a great meet for the Cal junior
Andi Li (9.800) - a slight hop on the landing, room to improve for Sunday
Maddie Williams (9.900) - Bears performing closer to expectation here
Ella Cesario (9.950) - a great landing and score to cap the meet for the Bears
Team score: 49.500 (NQS of 49.575) to cap an uneven day for the Bears.
Cal will advance to Sunday with a team score of 197.250. It is the second lowest score of the season, but the main object of survive and advance is mission accomplished today.
If you have not been paying attention, you have missed another exciting season for Cal Women’s Gymnastics. You should definitely go check them out in person next year, especially with Berkeley being one of the four Regional hosts.
Thanks to the addition of the super talented freshman eMjae Frazier and the maturation of the sophomore and junior classes, this Cal squad might be the best in program history. Golden Bears twice rewrote history on the program-best team score (198.275 is the new record) late this year and grabbed a share of the Pac-12 regular season title for the second straight year.
The 2023 Cal Bears made history by earning the program’s first perfect-10s on floor (eMjae Frazier) and balance beam (Mya Lauzon). Even with the two extra set of eyes judging in the postseason (although the scores will be the average of the middle two scores from the four judges), do expect Cal Bears to flirt with perfection.
The scoring system of collegiate women’s gymnastics is different from that of the men or the Olympics where better skills will be rewarded more points. Instead, almost all of the gymnasts are capable of earning a perfect-10 on most of the routines (other than vault). This also means that in any given meet, upsets could happen if a team has two bad scores in a rotation and are forced to count one of them (top-5 of 6 routines per rotation count toward the team score).
Cal Bears to watch:
Senior Nevaeh DeSouza has been an all-around mainstay since her freshman year. So is junior Andi Li, who is ranked 6th in the nation in uneven bars (NQS of 9.960) and 14th in all-around (NQS of 39.585). Freshman eMjae Frazier will also be another all-arounder. Frazier is ranked 8th in the country on Floor (NQS of 9.95). Last of Cal’s regular all-arounder is sophomore Maddie Williams, who is ranked 8th in the country on the uneven bars (NQS of 9.955). While fellow sophomore Mya Lauzon has done some all-around, she has competed more recently in just three events where she’s really good: 7th on vault (NQS of 9.930), 7th on beam (NQS of 9.950), and 12th on floor (NQS of 9.945).
As a team, Cal is nationally ranked 4th on Bars, 6th on Beam, 10th on Vault and Floor. Cal had a near-perfect beam rotation this year that earned a score of 49.825, 2nd highest score in NCAA history.