By ruining two chances to avenge early season losses this past weekend, the UCSB men’s gymnastic team’s hopes to earn a spot in the national championships appears faint. New hope, in a new week rose when Santa Barbara moved up three spots in the rankings. The Gauchos are now sparring with Nebraska for the 12th and final championship spot.
No. 13 Santa Barbara headed down to UCLA Thursday night taking on No. 2 Illinois, No. 7 Cal, and No. 11 Stanford in the Peter Vidmar Invitational. The quad meet was a preview to the men’s home opener, Saturday night in Rob Gym. Unfortunately the Gauchos failed to defend their home.
The Fighting Illini took home first place in the team competition with a score of 213.200, followed by Cal (209.400), Stanford (205.175) and UCSB which posted a solid score of 201.300.
“We don’t worry about any other team, because we don’t have direct confrontations with other teams like in basketball,” UCSB Head Coach Mircea Badulescu said. “All we worry about is ourselves, and our routines. Wins and losses do not matter in gymnastics, the rankings and final scores do.”
Senior Michael Kelly Sang-Ho and sophomore Andre Badilla paced the Gauchos with solid showings. Badilla tied for third on the vault with a 9.200.
“We really stuck our vaults,” Kelly Sang-Ho said. “Unfortunately we had some mistakes on our other routines and couldn’t beat out Stanford, whom we feel we should beat.”
Saturday night, Santa Barbara prepared to defend Rob Gym’s floor for the first time of the 2002 season. Santa Barbara improved its team score from two nights earlier with a score of 203.700.
The final team standings were identical with No. 2 Illinois in first, scoring 213.625, followed by Cal (212.000), Stanford (206.675) and UCSB.
“We all just need to put it together, there were no excuses for us this weekend,” Kelly Sang-Ho said. “We should have beat Stanford because this is the equipment we work on everyday, we had our opportunity and we didn’t capitalize.”
Obviously disappointed with the meet’s results, Santa Barbara knows that it can still gain a team spot in the NCAA Championships and that the individual performances will not be the Gauchos’ focus in the upcoming weeks.
“We have six individual gymnasts who are either already qualified for the National Championships, or very close,” Badulescu said. “But that is not my concern, I want my entire team in the competition because I know we are good enough, we are only a few points away.”