Four Huskies Headed to NCAA West Regionals

April 5, 2006

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The Meet: The Huskies failed to qualify as a team for the NCAA Regionals for the first time in team history. Four Huskies did qualify on individual events and will compete at the NCAA West Regionals held in Stanford, Calif., on Saturday, April 8 at 6 p.m. Chelsea Bakken will be competing All-Around, Kelly McDonald on bars and beam, Kristen Omori on floor and Ashley Houghting on vault. Individual competitors must win their event to advance to the NCAA Nationals held April 20-22 in Corvallis, Ore. In addition, the top two All-Arounders who are not on a team that advances to the NCAA Nationals, will also qualify for the NCAA Championships.

Recapping The Pac-10s: Stanford scored a season-high 197.100 and edged UCLA by .300 to win its second Pac-10 Championship in three years on March 25 at Gill Coliseum in Corvallis, Ore. Washington was sixth at the meet finishing .025 better than California. Ashley Houghting was the only Husky to crack the top 10 in an event, tying for eighth on vault with a 9.850. Kelly McDonald tied for 10th All-Around with a 39.050. McDonald was the Huskies' top finisher on beam, bars and floor placing 14th on the three events.

Huskies History in the NCAA Regionals: The Huskies have had 14 individuals win NCAA Regional Championships. The last Husky to do so was Carly Dockendorf in 2004 when she won floor with a 9.9 at the NCAA North Central Region. In 2003, Dockendorf won bars and floor, while teammate Stacy Wong won beam at the NCAA West Regionals. This year marks the first time in 31 years that the Huskies have failed to qualify as a team for NCAA Regionals.

Scouting the Meet: Stanford will host the NCAA West Regional on Saturday, April 8, at Maples Pavilion. The meet will start at 6:00 p.m. and will feature No. 5 Alabama, No. 8 Stanford, No. 16 Oregon State, San Jose State, Sacramento State and Boise State. The top two teams and the top two all-around competitors (who are not on advancing team) will receive an automatic berth to the NCAA Championship at Oregon State (April 20-22). Individual entries must win their event to advance to NCAAs.

Old McDonald Resurgence: After not competing All-Around in 2005 and for the first nine meets of 2006, senior Kelly McDonald has made a miraculous return to prominence for the Huskies. In the last four meets, McDonald has competed in every event for the Huskies and proven that you can teach an old Dawg new tricks. In the Huskies home finale against Oregon St. and SPU at Bank of America Arena, the Huskies lone senior won bars and also earned her first career floor title. The following week, she earned the All-Around title at Arkansas. At the Salbasgeon Suites Invitational, McDonald was second All-Around and won bars, giving her 24 career individual titles, 11th most in UW history. 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. She has not competed the required six times All-Around to qualify for the NCAA Regionals.

Freshman Phenom: Freshman Ashley Houghting has eight individual vault titles this season, the fourth highest total in Husky history by a freshman. Hall of Famer Yumi Mordre won 19, Wendi Gangwer 18 and Suzie Sun 17 as freshmen. Houghting's eight vault wins ties her for the sixth most on the apparatus in UW history. She has only missed out winning the event in four meets that she has competed in and the Stanford meet (Feb. 24), which she missed due to a back injury. Houghting is currently ranked 12th nationally on vault with a RQS of 9.895.

Talkin' Bakken: Junior co-captain Chelsea Bakken is the lone Husky to earn an All-Around bid at regionals. Bakken totaled a season-best 38.825 at the Salbasgeon Suites Invitational and scored a 9.6 or higher on all four events for the first time this season. She did not compete All-Around in three meets this season due to a knee injury, but has competed in all four event in the last three meets.

That's Omori: Freshman Kristen Omori has made quite a splash in her first season as a Husky. Although she has won just one individual title (floor vs. Cal on Feb. 17), she has emerged as one of the Huskies most consistent performers. Omori has competed on vault, beam and floor in all 13 meets, the only Huskies to do so. Her scores have been stellar during that span too, as the Kirkland, Wash., native has scored a 9.7 or higher in 35 of those 39 routines. She has yet to score below a 9.725 on vault and has only scored below a 9.725 on floor twice this season: at the year's first meet in Hawai'i and the Pac-10 Championships. Omori is ranked 14th in the Pac-10 on vault, 20th on beam, and 19th on floor.

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