Binging your favorite TV show is an electric ride –– you fall in love with a cast, go on adventures with them and are right there by their side during the craziest of plot twists. And when that show finally comes to a close, you sit there yearning for more. Luckily for fans, the Pac-12 champion’s season still has a few more episodes to go.
No. 10 Cal will face off against Big Ten opponents No. 16 Ohio State and No. 20 Iowa this coming weekend, the program’s last two meets before postseason play begins. The Bears will first travel to Covelli Center to meet the Buckeyes, who went 7-2 in conference and took second in the Big Ten.
While Cal will not be in the den for the March 11 meet, the program adheres to the “bear bubble” code, and is proud of their focus throughout the season. Senior all-arounders Maya Bordas and Grace Quinn each attested to the team’s dedication to focus throughout different points of the season.
“One thing we’ve done a really good job at is staying in our ‘bear bubble’ and focusing on the team and our tasks,” Quinn said.
Outside noise can be a large distraction. But despite location, the Bears are determined to put forth their best paw. Ohio State, though, is an impressive program, and its season-best 197.525 sits only 0.050 below Cal’s 197.575.
Buckeyes freshman Jenna Hlavach and all-arounders junior Elexis Edwards and senior Colby Miller are powerful forces in the Big Ten. Hlavach and Miller both took five individual event titles at five meets during conference, while Edwards walked away with six event titles.
Yet, Ohio State hasn’t broken an individual score of 9.925 this season, something that Cal has achieved at several meets. The upcoming event seems favorable for the Bears, but fans will have to wait for the Friday episode to find out what happens next.
Remarkably, this is only the first episode. Cal will return back to the den to meet Iowa for the last episode before postseason begins –– which, for Cal, is only the beginning.
“We haven’t peaked yet –– this is just the beginning of our season,” Quinn said.
The Bears will look to climb even further as they face the Hawks, which went 5-4 in conference and took fourth in the Big Ten just behind Michigan State. The team has yet to break 197.000 this season, falling just under at a season-high 196.825. But, Iowa packs a powerful kick, and some gymnasts to look out for are senior specialist Lauren Guerin and junior all-arounder JerQuavia Henderson.
Both gymnasts have been consistent and have each achieved impressive 9.975s this season. Guerin, who just received her 9.975 during the team’s last meet against Iowa State, hasn’t received below a 9.8 thus far.
Guerin is a dedicated senior who has been an incredible contributor to the Hawks, and was recently awarded the title of Big Ten Specialist of the Week. The March 16 meet will also mark Senior Day for Cal, which will commemorate this year’s seniors for their contributions to the team crowned Pac-12 champion.
At the beginning of the season, co-head coach Justin Howell remarked on Cal’s team composition this year, and was confident about what this season would bring. Thus far, he has predicted the episodes accurately, and is optimistic about the future of the 2022 season.
“I really do believe that this team has depth, the skill and the experience. This team has the ability to go all the way, deep into the postseason,” Howell said.