There’s something special about being on the road. Not only are you pushed out of your comfort zone, you’re able to embark on new adventures, fall in love with new scenery and cuisine, discover lessons that otherwise may have remained out of reach — and the list only continues.
For Cal women’s gymnastics, the past three meets (and three weeks) have soaked in all the novelty of being on the road — learning how to adapt to competing in back-to-back road meets, unlocking new records, falling short of expectations and everything in between.
On the road, the Bears soared to incredible heights, ranking No. 3 on Road to Nationals after their first place showing at the Super 16. At the Wasatch Classic, the program took yet another first place victory, ranking No. 6 nationally. However, the Jan. 20 meet against Arizona in Tucson, while still a victory, marked the team’s weakest performance this season with a score below 197.000.
This meet dropped the team to a No. 7 ranking on Road to Nationals. Being on the road is special for many reasons, and the team’s last meet taught them lessons that otherwise would have remained out of reach.
“That’s the beauty of this sport. There’s always something you can improve on,” said co-head coach Justin Howell.
Yet, however special being on the road is, there is also something uniquely special about being home. Being at home means familiar scents, familiar grooves in the floors, familiar warmth in the air. There is beauty about being on the road, but there is also beauty in returning to your roots.
“When I think back to the time when I committed, I just really didn’t know anything about the team or the coaches really,” said sophomore all-rounder Mya Lauzon. “It was just really all a gut feeling and I’m really glad that I’m here, and it feels amazing to be a part of this program. Our coaches are amazing and our team is just full of so much energy.”
Home is where the heart is, and at 2 p.m. Jan. 28, Cal will face none other than rival Stanford in its home opener.
The Cardinal, currently ranked No. 22 on Road to Nationals, have yet to notch an overall score above 197.000 in the last two seasons. However, the team has also yet to lose in its past three meets: The program beat out Rutgers, Georgia and Oregon State at the Super 16, then proceeded to beat out San Jose State at home in Palo Alto and finally Arizona State on the road.
Both the Bears and the Cardinal have yet to lose thus far, which means only one thing: One team will continue its win streak, and the other will meet its maker and falter to none other than its biggest rival. This situation makes for particularly high stakes, and fans on both sides of the den can enjoy an exciting meet in Haas Pavilion this Saturday.
“We work hard in the gym every single day, and we’re just showing up with what we practice and it’s great,” Lauzon said. “I think we’re doing a really great job and it’s just the beginning of the season.”