2020 California Golden Bears

Cassidy Keelen
  • Competed BB in 13 of 14 meets in 2019
  • #1 returning score on BB (9.865)
  • Competed VT, FX in 2018 season
  • Competed VT each week in 2019
  • #3 returning score on VT (9.820)
  • Showed 9 FXs, NQS of 9.795
Kyana George
  • Competed VT, FX every week in 2019
  • Competed UB in 13 of 14, BB in 10 of 14
  • #1 returning score on FX (9.885)
  • #2 returning score on VT (9.865)
  • NQS of 9.835 UB, 9.745 BB
Alma Kuc
  • Competed 7 UBs in 2019
  • Average 9.839, peak of 9.950
  • Did not compete in first two seasons
Victoria Salem
  • Did not compete in first two seasons
Nina Schank
  • Competed UB in first 12 meets in 2019
  • #2 returning score on UB (9.870)
  • Showed 3 FXs, average 9.725
Emi Watterson
  • Competed UB every meet in 2019
  • #1 returning score on UB (9.915)
  • Showed 4 VTs (9.763 avg), 1 BB (8.150)
Maya Bordas
  • Competed in 13 of 14 meets in 2019
  • Made final lineups on UB (9.840 NQS), VT (9.806 avg)
  • Showed 10 FXs (NQS 9.815)
  • Showed 8 BBs (NQS 9.550, peak 9.950)
Milan Clausi
  • Competed VT, BB, FX every meet in 2019
  • #1 returning score on VT (9.890), FX (9.885)
  • #2 returning score on BB (9.855)
  • Showed 1 UB (9.725)
Talitha Jones
  • Made final 2019 lineups on VT, UB, BB
  • NQS of 9.835 UB, 9.800 VT
  • Average of 9.825 BB
Grace Quinn
  • Did not compete in first season
  • Showed exhibition on FX
Abi Solari
  • Competed in only the first meet in 2019
  • Scored 9.800 FX, 9.700 VT
Nevaeh DeSouza
  • Dream Xtreme
  • 10th AA, 2019 JO Nationals
  • 4th AA, 2018 JO Nationals
Maya Green
  • Airborne
  • 2nd UB, 2018 JO Nationals
Natalie Sadighi
  • Azarian
  • 20th AA, 9th VT, 2019 JO Nationals
Ashton Woodbury
  • Wildfire
  • 14th VT, 2019 Region 1s

2019 – 11th
2018 – 9th
2017 – 16th
2016 – 7th
2015 – 18th
2014 – 16th
2013 – 28th
2012 – 49th
2011 – 50th
2010 – 55th

Cal’s 11th-place finish in 2019 ranks among the better results the team has put up since it turned good, so the 2019 story should be a mostly satisfying one. The team rose at the end of the season, even withstanding the Toni-Ann Williams injury to put up a valiant effort and program-record team score in a nearly impossible regional final—going up against Oklahoma and Home Georgia and ultimately finishing .375 short of making nationals.

Toni-Ann Williams – VT, UB, BB, FX
Sofie Seilnacht – UB, BB, FX
Sylvie Seilnacht – VT, FX
Chelsea Shu – UB, BB, FX

A surprisingly large contingent of routines has been lost from last season, though Cal did have practice dealing with the most significant of those losses since Williams missed the end of the 2019 season with injury. The team must still account for 7 lost routines from the final 2019 regionals lineups, though only 2 appeared in the second half of lineups.

Cal brings in a freshman class of four, out of which Nevaeh DeSouza is the most compelling contributor as an all-around option and lock for vault. On net departed-to-incoming gymnasts balance, Cal looks to be losing routines, which is a concern heading into the season. The plan will be to gain back that depth on increased contribution from juniors and sophomores—a key to Cal’s success in 2020.

Because of the potential to make up for some of those lost scores with already-present gymnasts, Cal will at very minimum look to keep pace with last year’s scoring, as well as pinpointing a few areas of expected improvement.

The team spent most of last season ranked in the 14-16 zone, but that was a little soft for that roster and would be soft for this roster as well, which will target an assault on the top 10 to set itself up in a more comfortable position to play nationals spoiler this time around.


2019 Event Ranking: 12

Lineup locks: Milan Clausi, Rachael Mastrangelo, Nevaeh DeSouza, Kyana George
Lineup options: Maya Bordas, Talitha Jones, Abi Solari, Nina Schank, Grace Quinn, Ashton Woodbury, Natalie Sadighi

Cal will add a Yurchenko 1.5 from freshman Nevaeh DeSouza to last year’s final lineup to give the team three definite 10.0 starts—Clausi, Mastrangelo, and DeSouza—along with a necessary full from George. That quartet will be the core of a lineup that can expect a little scoring boost, especially compared to its post-Williams vault scores, because of the addition of DeSouza.

A couple other borderline-possible 10.0 starts are pecking around the edges, and while Cal would love to get them into the lineup, they’re not sure things. Solari has a handspring tuck full but wasn’t close to hitting in the intrasquad, Jones has done a 1.5 in the past though lately has returned to the full, and Woodbury did a Tsuk full in JO—but at this point those are more in-a-perfect-world 10.0s than definite 10.0s.

Cal does have a hearty collection of competition-ready Yfulls to fill out all necessary remaining spots, which also means those borderline 10.0s are going to have to be good to get into the lineup, not just voting present. Bordas and Jones competed last year and are probably the most likely to come in with fulls, but Schank has also been looking super clean on hers, Grace Quinn appears to be providing another option, and Natalie Sadighi achieved her best JO scores for a full on vault.


2019 Event Ranking: 12

Lineup locks: Emi Watterson, Nina Schank
Lineup options: Alma Kuc, Maya Bordas, Kyana George, Maya Green, Talitha Jones, Nevaeh DeSouza, Grace Quinn

Bars overtook beam as Cal’s signature event last season (recall the 49.575 in the regional final) and is poised to provide the team’s top scores in 2020 with only Seilnacht’s leadoff routine departing from the final group.

Watterson and Schank brought the biggest scores in 2019 and should be 9.9+ threats again, and of course an ideal Cal bars lineup would also have Alma Kuc as a major feature because her potential is similar to (or even greater than) Watterson and Schank’s if she’s hitting.

The team shouldn’t be short of options because then we have Bordas who went as high as 9.950 last season and really started to find her 9.875+ footing toward the end, George who has been a constant bars presence in her career, Maya Green who has a huge Gienger that the team will hope to bring along in a competition-worth set, DeSouza who is bringing a very 9.850-looking option, Jones who was a constant for 9.8+ scores last season, and Quinn whose routine looks like its coming along as a work in progress. (Also insert the requisite mention of how amazing Victoria Salem was on bars in JO, but she has never been healthy in college.)

Judging by that group, Cal will have choices to make and shouldn’t need to put up a sub-9.850 bars routine as part of its six. If enough people stay healthy/get consistent, last year’s 49.275 NQS should be on the low end of what Cal scores this season.


2019 Event Ranking: 13

Lineup locks: Milan Clausi, Maya Bordas
Lineup options: Cassidy Keelen, Emi Watterson, Grace Quinn, Talitha Jones, Nevaeh DeSouza, Kyana George, Nina Schank, Alma Kuc

Beam requires a bit more of a lineup revolution for Cal this season because Williams is gone, Seilnacht is gone, Shu is gone, and Keelen has been MIA lately. And lineup revolutions can go any which way.

The main challenge will be whether the roster’s most beautiful beam workers show the consistency required to get into the final lineup. For instance, in Cal’s intrasquad over the weekend, Emi Watterson performed the most beautiful, legit 9.950 beam (to quote the only note I wrote down during her routine, “Dayum”), but she has done exactly one competition beam routine in the last two seasons, and it was for 8.150, so, errrr. (Also insert the requisite mention of how amazing Alma Kuc could be on beam…)

In that vein, Maya Bordas struggled with consistency early in her freshman year but was strong toward the end and will need to become the lineup leader in 2020. She and Clausi, the most dependable returning score (along with hopefully Keelen) will need to be the backbone of the group. On the dependable front, Jones went 7-for-7 after coming into the lineup in the leadoff spot in 2019, which could earn her a spot in 2020.

Grace Quinn and Nevaeh DeSouza are both presenting new, realistic possibilities for the lineup—not necessarily givens, but in with a shot—and Kyana George will always be there as an option, though struggles with consistency have seen her pop in and out of the beam group and it’s her least likely event on which to feature.

There are fledging sprouts of a truly exceptional beam lineup here—and there shouldn’t be a problem coming up with enough 9.800s and 9.825s to stay reasonable—but it’s TBD whether all of the most 9.9-potential-y routines will earn spots.


2019 Event Ranking: 21

Lineup locks: Milan Clausi, Kyana George, Maya Bordas
Lineup options: Rachael Mastrangelo, Grace Quinn, Abi Solari, Nevaeh DeSouza, Nina Schank, Ashton Woodbury, Natalie Sadighi

Floor was the weakness for Cal in 2019, and the lack of obvious high-powered routines coming in leaves room for concern about how competitive the lineup can become in 2020 to change the story.

Clausi will certainly return her full-in as the most important routine in the lineup, and Kyana George will be essential again with her front 2/1 and combination rudi, but beyond those two stars, much depends upon the sophomore class improvement project. That will determine whether Cal stays sort of 49.1 and 49.2ish or is able to begin getting those essential 49.3s and 49.4s that nationals-contending teams regularly expect on floor.

In the sophomore project, Maya Bordas is looking to upgrade to a full-in first pass, which would make her a lock for the lineup, Grace Quinn is working a front lay to front 2/1 for what currently looks like her most likely lineup routine, and Cal will hope to get Solari in there regularly in 2020 as well. All of those routines coming together would provide a clear upgrade from the 9.750s that Cal was settling for in the early half of the lineup last year. But they have to come through.

Those three, with Clausi, George, and Mastrangelo, probably combine tp make the ideal floor lineup, but you’ll also have DeSouza and Schank with viable double pike-type routines to round out the depth. And then there’s Woodbury, who does have a full-in, but we’re going to have to see whether the rest of the routine content is there.

2 thoughts on “2020 California Golden Bears”

  1. For some reason it’s not noted the way it is for gymnasts on other teams, but Nevaeh DeSouza was also a junior elite at one point.

    1. Actually wait maybe she never fully qualified… I definitely remember her name from qualifier rosters though.

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