Pac-12 champ Cal Women's Gymnastics twice set program-record team score ahead of postseason
Mya Lauzon is the first Cal Bear to earn a perfect 10 on the balance beam
And that is how you want to head to the postseason!
With two home meets as the final tune-ups, No.7 Cal Women’s Gymnastics will roll into the 2023 postseason this weekend after achieving the two best team scores in program history.
Golden Bears first rewrote the record book with a 198.100 in the first Haas Pavilion quad meet on Friday before another rewriting when they earned a 198.275 in the second Haas Pavilion quad meet on Sunday! The previous program-best team score was 198.050 from the memorable home win over UCLA in 2021.
Although the postseason will mean two extra sets of eyes to scrutinize every routine for deductions, the California Golden Bears can still perfect a few more minor things to improve on the 198.275.
By the way, between the Friday and Sunday meets, Cal Bears also found themselves as the back-to-back Pac-12 regular-season champions. Cal needed Oregon State to defeat Utah on Saturday to forge a four-way tie atop the Pac between Cal, UCLA, Utah, and Oregon State. The same four schools will likely be battling for the Pac-12 postseason crown this Saturday night in session II of the Pac-12 Tournament from West Valley City, Utah.
The Pac-12 Championships will also be the final road (even for nearby Utah) meet for the schools and the last chance to improve their National Qualifying Score (NQS) - calculated from the top 6 scores, at least 3 from the road, and the average of 2nd through 6th best scores. NQS, which currently has Cal 7th in the country at 197.765, is used entirely in determining the NCAA top-16 seedings and which of the four regionals where Cal Bears will compete in two weeks.
Even though there is arguably scoring inflation in collegiate gymnastics to make 10s more common, earning a perfect 10, AKA 10 from two judges, is a special achievement. Just a little bit over a week after freshman eMjae Frazier earned the first Cal perfect 10 on floor, sophomore Mya Lauzon earned Cal’s first perfect 10 on beam. Cal has finally achieved perfection in all four apparatus in school history. Toni-Ann Williams, Jamaican “Calympian”, had twice earned 10s on vault. Cindy Tom in 1992 and Emi Watterson in 2021 earned the 10s on uneven bars.
Be sure to check out Mya Lauzon’s routine in the embedded Tweet below.
While Lauzon was the only one to get two 10s from the two judges, a couple of other Cal Bears got one 10 from a judge, including senior Nevaeh DeSouza, in her penultimate routine at Haas.
Junior Gabby Perea also got a 10 from a judge as the anchor of Cal’s beam rotation. When it was all over, Cal had to drop a 9.925 score en route to a near-perfect 49.825 rotation.
Not only is the 49.825 on beam the best in Cal history, it is also the 2nd-best in collegiate gymnastics history for the always fickle balance beam. Cal also earned a 49.825 on bars when they first broke the 198 team score two years ago, also with a perfect 10 in the mix (earned by Emi Watterson).
The full meet can currently be found on YouTube below:
On Sunday, Cal started the meet with a somewhat pedestrian 49.225 on vault, with eMjae Frazier held out of that rotation. Even though the Bears (with Frazier) do only have three vaults in their rotation with a starting value of 10.0, they should still score around 49.350. Just on Friday, they recorded a 49.400 on vault to eventually set a new team score of 198.100.
Friday’s score was also buoyed by then program-best 49.600 on the beam rotation. Cal’s previous program best was 49.525 from the NCAA Regional Final last year.
Mya Lauzon foreshadowed her imminent 10 by getting a 10 from one judge on Friday to earn the 9.975. Before this season, Cal had never received any 10s from even just one judge on beam as 9.95, last achieved by both Lauzon and Li on last year’s NCAA Regional Final.
Cal took a step forward in the 2023 season thanks to not only the addition of a super freshman like eMjae Frazier (link to her season scores as compiled by Road to Nationals) but the emergence of sophomores Mya Lauzon and Maddie Williams as all-around. Frazier (individual all-around NQS of 39.405), Lauzon (12th on floor, 16th on beam, not enough bars scores to get an all-around NQS), and Williams (individual all-around NQS of 39.520) are all capable of earning 9.9 or better on every event (39.6 in the all-around). Both Frazier and Lauzon had tied the Cal all-around record of 39.700 this season. Bears also got solid routines from specialists like freshman Casey Brown on vault and sophomore (but in the first year of action) Ella Cesario on bars. Junior Gabby Perea, a regular on bars, beam, and floor may be a bit volatile in her scoring but is also capable of 9.9+ when she hits. Throw in two known quantities in the reliable all-around senior Naveah DeSouza (individual all-around NQS of 39.485) and junior Andi Li (team-high individual all-around NQS of 39.585, 11th in the country), no wonder the Bears are rewriting the history book on a meet-by-meet basis, particularly with the talented underclassmen achieving their potential.
Bears will next challenge themselves to the feat of replicating this home success on the road. A road team score above 198.0 will be another first in program history. Also at stake is the possible first Pac-12 tournament win in program history. Take care of the former and the latter may just follow.
UCLA's season-high is the same as that of Cal at 198.275. Utah set their season high in the dual meet against Cal when they hit 198.550, the second-highest score in the country this season behind only Oklahoma. One can never rule out Oregon State with their own superstar in US Olympian Jade Carey, but they do have the most extreme home/road split amongst the four Pac-12 co-champions.
After the Pac-12 Championships, Cal will surely be a top-2 seed at a Regional Final (March 29 - April 2nd) where only the top-2 will advance to the NCAA Championships. Cal just missed out last year and will be looking to make the program's second trip to the NCAA Championships after that field was condensed from 12 to 8 teams starting in 2019. The NCAA Championships will again be hosted at Dickies Arena in Fort Worth, Texas (April 13-15), the same venue as 2021 when Cal last made the NCAA Championships.
ROLL ON YOU BEARS!