Husky Gymnasts Host No. 13 UCLA
Jan. 18, 2006
The Meet: The No. 22 Washington women's gymnastics team (2-4) will host Pac-10 rival UCLA (5-1) at Bank of America Arena on Friday, Jan. 20 at 7 p.m. This will be the second of four meetings between the 13th-ranked Bruins and Huskies. Live scoring will be available for free on www.gohuskies.com and live video streaming is available for those fans who purchase a Dawg Channel All-Access pass. Former Husky gymnast Carly Dockendorf will be providing commentary of the meet on the live video stream.
Series History: The Huskies are 2-29 all-time against UCLA. They faced the Bruins earlier this season, meeting at the Hawaiian Classic on Jan. 3. UCLA won that six-team meet with a score of 193.775. Friday will be the second of four meetings this season between the squads. The Huskies will also compete against UCLA in Los Angeles on Feb. 12 and will see them at the Pac-10 Championships on March 25. Last year, UCLA and Washington competed on the same mat three times, including the NCAA West Regionals in Seattle last April. The Huskies last defeated the Bruins on Feb. 27, 2004, when UW won 197.225-197.100 over No. 1 ranked UCLA.
Last Week: The Huskies opened their home schedule against No. 4 Utah and lost the meet 195.625-193.325 last Friday. Kelly McDonald led the way for the UW, taking second on beam and bars with scores of 9.85. Utah was led by Ashley Postell who won all-around, vault and beam to lead the Utes sweep of the Huskies. Freshman Ashley Houghting scored a 9.875 on vault to lead the Huskies and was third all-around with a 38.525. Junior Chelsea Bakken was the Huskies top all-around finisher with a 38.625. Freshman Kristen Omori was second on floor with a 9.825.
Scouting the Bruins: UCLA, five-time NCAA Champions, last competed on Jan. 7 against Utah, where they lost to the Utes 194.875-193.850. UCLA led the meet through three rotations before Utah overtook the Bruins on the final rotation. All-American Kate Richardson won all-around at the meet for the Bruins. UCLA is coached by four-time national coach of the year Valorie Kondos Field. Field's squad includes three All-Americans from last year's Pac-10 and NCAA West Regional championship squads, including reigning NCAA champion Tasha Schwikert, 2003 NCAA bars and beam champion Richardson and 2005 beam All-American Jordan Schwikert. UCLA has seven freshmen on the squad, including Kristina Comforte, a current member of the U.S. National Team. Tasha Schwikert is out for up to three months after undergoing shoulder surgery and will not compete in Seattle on Friday, but her sister, Jordan, is expected to return to the Bruins lineup on Friday after missing the first two meets.
Husky Head Coach Bob Levesque: Washington head coach Bob Levesque is in his 16th season coaching the Huskies in 2006. Levesque owns a career record of 221-208-2. 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.
Fabulous Freshmen: With many Husky veterans out due to injury, Levesque is counting on contributions from his five freshmen. Ashley Houghting competed all-around against Utah, and is currently tied for 10th in the nation on vault with a 9.862 average. She had a stellar debut winning the event at the Hawaiian Classic. Kristen Omori has also been a pleasant surprise, finishing second on floor with a 9.825 against Utah and also contributing on vault and beam in the first two meets. Kelly Gilbert has been in the floor and beam lineup, while walk-ons Emily Epsten and Katie Boyko have each seen action on the vault.
Injured Dawgs: The Huskies will be without three of their key scholarship athletes for the 2006 season. Third-year sophomore Nicole Waiss will miss the season after tearing her right ACL in fall camp. She was expected to be a regular in the vault and beam lineup. Brittney Brabec, the team's 2005 Most Promising Freshman, will red-shirt this season after undergoing Tommy John Surgery on her elbow. Fellow sophomore Julie Medeiros will sit out this season while nursing a stress fracture in her left foot. Red-shirt freshman Jessica Brown, expected to compete all-around, is still recovering from shoulder surgery and has yet to compete for the Huskies.
The Last Dawg Standing: Kelly McDonald is the only senior on the Huskies roster. She was also the only junior on last year's roster. McDonald was originally part of a six-person class, but is the proverbial 'last man standing' after the other five athletes either retired from gymnastics due to injury or quit the team. McDonald has endured her share of injuries, twice undergoing right heel surgery during her career. The native of Seattle underwent her original surgery in May of 2004 and had her latest surgery in May of 2005. She is limited to bars and beam while recovering from her injury, but hopes make an appearance on floor and vault again before her career ends. McDonald owns 15 career individual titles as a Husky, including one bars title from this season. She is one of four Huskies to record a 10 on vault, accomplishing that feat on Feb. 13, 2004 vs. Arizona State.
Ranked Dawgs: Rankings are currently determined by average scores. From Feb. 20 on, the rankings will be based on regional qualifying scores. Here's where the Huskies stand in this week's GymInfo rankings:
Event Ranking AvgOverall 22nd 191.875Vault 26th 48.312Bars 25th 48.150Floor 25th 47.787Beam 23rd 47.625