Husky Gymnast Head to Salbasgeon Suites Invitational

March 14, 2006

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The Meet: The 36th-ranked Husky gymnastics team (5-13 overall, 2-8 Pac-10) head to Corvallis, Ore. for the Salbasgeon Suites Invitational this Friday at 7 p.m. PT. Besides host No. 17 Oregon State, No. 18 Kentucky, No. 28 Boise State and No. 52 Seattle Pacific will be competing against Washington. The meet marks the final regular season meet before the Huskies compete in the Pac-10 Championships on March 25, also held at Oregon State's Gill Coliseum. Live stats of Friday's meet will be available at

Last Week: Kelly McDonald won all-around and Ashley Houghting won vault, but No. 20 Arkansas downed the Huskies 196.350-193.025 in Fayetteville, Arkansas. The Gym'Backs score was a season-best, while Washington's score was heading towards a season-best before four falls on beam, the team's final event, derailed any hopes of a team victory. The Huskies did set a season-high on vault, scoring a 49.000, the first-time the Huskies have hit the 49 plateau in any event this season.

Series History: This will be the third time the Huskies have faced Oregon State and Seattle Pacific this season and the first time that they've faced Kentucky and Boise State. The Huskies have lost both of the previous meetings this season with Oregon State, but defeated the Falcons in their previous head-to-head battles. UW is 26-79 all-time against OSU and 60-3 all-time against SPU. Washington has won four-straight against Boise State and is 46-10 all-time against the Broncos. Friday will be the first time ever that Washington and Kentucky have competed against each other.

Scouting the Competition: Oregon State is ranked 17th in the GymInfo Rankings, with a RQS average of 194.045. Kentucky is one spot behind the Beavers with a RQS of 194.895. Boise State jumped up several spots in the rankings to No. 28 with a RQS of 193.455. Seattle Pacific is 52nd with a RQS of 190.380.

NCAA Streak On The Line: Washington has never missed qualifying for a NCAA Regional in the 31 year history of the gymnastics program dating back to 1975. The Huskies need to score well-above a 193 this weekend to stay in the running for a NCAA bid. Currently the Huskies' Regional Qualifying Score (RQS) of 192.810 ranks them fourth among non-automatic qualifying teams from the West Reigion. The top 18 schools nationally automatically qualify for regional bids and the next three schools from each region gain bids. Currently, UCLA, Stanford and Oregon State are the only schools from the West Region that have automatic bids since they are ranked in the top 18. The top three remaining teams from the West Region are Boise State (193.455), Sacramento State (192.680) and San Jose State (193.200).

Freshman Phenom: By winning vault at Arkansas on Sunday, freshman Ashley Houghting now has eight individual titles in the event this season. Her eight individual titles is the fourth most in Husky history by any freshman. Hall of Famer Yumi Mordre won 19, Wendi Gangwer 18 and Suzie Sun 17 as freshman. Houghting's eight vault wins already ranks as the tied for the sixth most on the apparatus in UW history. She has only missed out winning the event in two meets that she has competed (Utah, Jan. 13 and OSU/SPU, March 3) and the Stanford meet (Feb. 24), which she missed due to a back injury. Houghting is currently ranked 10th nationally on vault with a RQS of 9.895.

McDonald Floors The Crowd: In the Huskies home finale against Oregon State and Seattle Pacific University at Bank of America Arena senior Kelly McDonald stole the show. The Huskies lone senior shined brightly in front of many friends and family by competing all-around for the first time since the 2004 NCAA Regionals. She won bars and also earned her first career floor title, giving her 23 career individual event wins. Including her all-around title she earned against Arkansas the following week, McDonald now ranks 11th on the all-time individual event titles list for UW, tied with Stacy Wong. McDonald holds the UW freshman record for all-around with a 39.675. She is one of four Huskies to ever score a 10 on vault and her career-best all-around score of 39.825 is the second-best in school history.

Running With the Pac: Several Huskies find themselves among the Pac-10's individual rankings. Kelly McDonald is ranked on both beam and bars, while Ashley Houghting is on the list of top vaulters. McDonald is fifth on beam (9.845) and sevnth on bars (9.865). Houghting had a hold on top Pac-10 vaulters for several weeks, but has fallen to third with a 9.895 average. Kristen Omori is ranked 11th on vault (9.825) and is the highest ranked Husky on floor, tied for 19th with a 9.790.

Rough Schedule: Eleven of the Huskies 13 losses this season have come against teams currently ranked in the Top-25: Utah (2nd), Stanford (7th), three times UCLA (10th), Arizona State (12th), Arizona (15th), twice Oregon State (17th), and twice Arkansas (20th). The Huskies still have re-matches against OSU and will also face No. 18 Kentucky and No. 28 Boise State for the first time at OSU's Salbasgeon Suites Invitational. It doesn't get any easier in the Pac-10 Conference Championships where the Huskies will go head-to-head with Stanford, UCLA, ASU, Arizona, and OSU once again.

Walking Wounded: While injuries have wreaked havoc on the Huskies gymnastics lineup throughout the season, several Huskies are starting to regain their health enough to return to the rotation. Perhaps the biggest boost is coming from senior Kelly McDonald, who after two years of only performing bars and beam routines is finally able to compete all-around for the Huskies. Natalie Gillan's injured toe is healing enough that the sophomore is able to compete on bars, beam and vault. Chelsea Bakken's ailing knee is improving and only keeping her out of the floor lineup now. Ashley Houghting, who missed the Stanford meet with a back injury has returned to the all-around lineup. Nicole Waiss, Julie Medeiros, Raimey Iselin and Brittney Brabec will all miss the rest of the season with various injuries.

Now on Pac-12 Network
10:00 AM PT

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