Husky Gymnastics Team Opens Season at Stanford

Jan. 14, 2002

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The Meet: The Washington women's gymnastics team opens its 2002 season Friday at Stanford (0-1). The Huskies and Cardinal will meet at 7:30 p.m. PT at Burnham Pavilion. Stanford is the defending Pac-10 champion, under the direction of first-year coach Kristen Smyth. This will be Stanford's first home meet of the season. The Cardinal opened at Minnesota on Jan. 12 and lost 195.800 to 194.675 in a dual meet.

The Polls: Washington was ranked 19th in the GymInfo National Rankings preseason coaches poll. Stanford was ranked eighth in that list. Washington is unranked in this week's poll, which does not include teams that have yet to compete. The Cardinal dropped out of the rankings after their season-opening loss at Minnesota.

About the Huskies: Washington returns nine letterwinners from last season's team that finished with a 17-13-1 mark and competed at the NCAA South Central Regional. The Huskies' postseason appearance marked the 20th consecutive season they have competed at an NCAA Regional. Washington finished the season ranked 15th. Gone from last year's squad are lettermen Lanna Apisukh, Sidney Field, Mandi Klug and Jessica Schedler. The Husky roster also features six new faces, including five freshmen and one transfer.

Wong Out Again: Washington junior Stacy Wong will likely miss the entire 2002 season after suffering a knee injury during training on Jan. 11. 'We think she tore the ACL in her left knee, but we won't know for sure until we get the results of the MRI,' said Husky coach Bob Levesque. Wong, UW's top performer, missed most of the 1999 season due to injuries and had to sit out the 2000 season due to an ACL injury in her right knee. She became UW's school-record holder in the all-around in 2001, scoring 39.725 at the Pac-10 Championships. She won the Pac-10 title on bars with a score of 9.975. She was second on beam at the 2001 NCAA South Central Regional. Wong won a total of 14 event titles last season to lead Washington. She earned all-Pac-10 honors on all-around, vault and bars.

More Injuries: Washington will also be without sophomore Daniela Medlin for the 2002 season. A series of foot surgeries will cause her to seek a medical redshirt for the year. Medlin competed on bars for Washington in 2001, recording a career-high score of 9.900 at the Pac-10 Championships.

Lucky 13: Washington head coach Bob Levesque is in his 13th season coaching the Huskies in 2002. Levesque owns a career record of 127-100-1. He came to Washington in 1991 after a career as a highly-successful club coach. He has taken the Huskies to the NCAA Championships three times (1994, 1997, 1998) and guided the team to one NCAA Regional championship (1998). Levesque was honored as the Pac-10 coach of the year in both 1997 and 1998. As a club-level coach, he tutored six future Olympians. He also coached Tanya Chaplin, the current head coach at Oregon State. Levesque is a 1972 graduate of Fresno State.

Sophomore Sensation: Washington's Emily Pritchard hopes to go from freshman phenom to sophomore sensation in 2002. Last year she arguably had the best season ever by a Husky gymnast. An all-arounder, Pritchard competed in every meet for the Huskies, won the NCAA South Central Regional bars title (9.900) and finished second in the all-around at that meet. Pritchard's top performance came during the Pac-10 Championships when he recorded career highs on bars (9.925), beam (9.850) and floor (9.825) for a season-best score of 39.500. Pritchard competed as an individual at the NCAA Championships. Her top finish was a 33rd-place showing on vault (9.775).

Stepping Up: With the loss of Stacy Wong due to a knee injury, two sophomore are expected to see more time as all-arounders this year. Making the move will be Molly Seaman and Tanya Powers. Last year Seaman competed in every Husky meet on vault, beam and floor. She totaled career-high scores of 9.900 on beam and floor and 9.825 on vault. After missing the first four meets of the season, Powers became a regular on vault, bars and beam for Washington.

The Boss is Back: After missing the 2001 season due to an Achilles tendon injury, Allison Bruce returns to the Washington lineup this season as the team's lone senior. Bruce has competed on all four events during her UW career, but never once as an all-arounder. In 2000, as a sophomore, Bruce was a regular on vault, beam and floor.

Young Pups: This year's Husky team will be one of the youngest since Husky coach Bob Levesque took over the program in 1991. The active roster features just one senior (Allison Bruce), seven sophomores and five freshmen.

From Ute to Husky: Washington welcomes one transfer to its roster this season, sophomore Tacia LaBatte. The native of Kaneohe, HI, transferred to Washington after spending her freshman season at Utah. She competed on vault and bars for the Utes. Husky coach Bob Levesque feels LaBatte could be an all-arounder for the Huskies by the end of the season. She is recovering from a broken foot she suffered this summer that could limit some of her routines in the early portion of the season.

Local Ties: There is a distinctive northwest flavor to this year's Husky squad. A total of eight of Washington's 15 gymnasts hail from the state of Washington. Another, freshman Carly Dockendorf, is from British Columbia.

Home Opener: Washington will have to wait until the third competition of the season before it will compete at home. The Huskies face California on Sunday, Jan. 27 at 1 p.m. at Bank of America Arena at Hec Edmundson Pavilion in their first home meet. The remainder of UW's home schedule will include three Friday night competitions in the Arena.

The Schedule: Washington once again faces a very challenging schedule in 2002. The Huskies will meet six of the teams ranked in the preseason top-10 of the GymInfo National Rankings coaches poll. All but one of Washington's events this year are dual meets. The Huskies' schedule features just four home dates this season.

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