Husky Gymnasts Host No. 13 ASU and SPU

Jan. 25, 2006

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The Meet: The No. 30 Washington women's gymnastics team (2-5) will host Pac-10 rival Arizona State (2-0) and cross-town rival Seattle Pacific (1-0) at Bank of America Arena on Friday, Jan. 27 at 7 p.m. 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 Kim Lewis will be providing commentary of the meet on the live video stream.

Series History: The Huskies are 13-37 all-time against the Sun Devils. The Huskies defeated the Sun Devils last year 193.050-192.750 for their first-ever win over ASU in Tempe. The Dawgs also met the Sun Devils at the 2005 Pac-10 Conference Championships where the Huskies placed fifth, one spot ahead of Arizona State. Washington is 58-3 all-time versus Seattle Pacific. SPU last beat the Huskies on March 8, 2004. Washington has a two-meet win streak over the Falcons.

Last Week: The Huskies fell to No. 13 UCLA 194.600-190.650 at Bank of America Arena. Although UCLA swept all the events as a team, the meet was much more competitive than the final score indicated. UW was forced to count three falls on bars, and were never able to recover. Kelly McDonald won bars and Ashley Houghting won vault to give the Huskies their only individual event wins for the evening. All-American Kate Richardson won the all-around, beam and floor to pace UCLA.

Scouting the Sun Devils: Arizona State is ranked No. 13 in the latest GymInfo poll. Last week, the Sun Devils upset then-ranked No. 13 Arizona 195.300-195.150. Ashley Kelly won the 16th all-around title of her career, winning two events and placing no lower than third. For her efforts, Kelly was named the Pac-10 Gymnast of the Week. Freshman Tia Orlando won vault with a career-high 9.9. The Sun Devils are coached by John Spini, who is in his 26th year at the helm. ASU is practing this year in the new $2 million John Spini Gymnastics Training Facility on the ASU campus after having to train off campus for the past five seasons.

Scouting the Falcons: Seattle Pacific opened its 2006 season last Friday in record-setting fashion. The Falcons, ranked 26th in the latest GymInfo poll, posted a record opening-night score of 191.85 to defeat Alaska-Anchorage. Debra Huss won all-around, bars and floor for the Falcons. The Falcons, coached by Laurel Tindall, have qualified for the USA Gymnastics meet for the past 23 years.

Arizona Connection: Friday's meet between the Huskies and Sun Devils will feel like a high school reunion for several competitors. UW's Chelsea Bakken and Kelly Gilbert and ASU's Tiana Jean and Ashley Toner are all graduates of Mountain View High School in Mesa, Ariz. Bakken, Gilbert and Jean also competed for the Desert Devils club team together along with ASU's Josie Hancock and Lisa Lanza. Washington's Jessica Brown is also from Arizona, hailing from Sunnyslope High School in Phoenix. The only Sun Devil with a Washington connection is April Boone, who hails from Seattle (Kennedy HS).

Fabulous Freshmen: With many Husky veterans out due to injury, Levesque is counting on contributions from his five freshmen. Ashley Houghting has competed all-around twic, and is currently tied for sixth in the nation on vault with a 9.875 average. She has already won vault twice and was the first Husky since Kelly McDonald in 2003 to win an event in her collegiate debut. Kristen Omori has also been a pleasant surprise, finishing second on floor against both Utah and UCLA 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. 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. Sophomore Raimey Iselin was ruled out for at least a month to rest her ailing back. Red-shirt freshman Jessica Brown has seen limited action while recovering from shoulder surgery.

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 221-209-2. 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.

Scheduling Quirk: The Huskies will face every team on their schedule at least twice this season, except for Sacramento State, Utah and Utah State. Because of the Pac-10 Championships on March 25, the Huskies will face each conference foe at least twice, but Washington will see UCLA on the mat four times and Oregon State and California at least three times. Seattle Pacific will compete twice this season at Bank of America Arena, while the Huskies have already competed against Arkansas at the season-opening Hawaiian Classic and have a date to face the LadyBacks in Fayetteville, Ark. on March 12.

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