GymDawgs Sign Four To Letters of Intent

Nov. 20, 2006

SEATTLE - First-year Washington gymnastics head coach Joanne Bowers proudly announced the signing Monday of four high-school seniors to letters of intent. All four will enroll at Washington in the fall of 2007, and be eligible to compete in the 2007-08 season.

'All four of these young women are outstanding student-athletes, and will be great additions to our program,' Bowers says. 'They're dedicated to success in the gym, and apply that same level of commitment to their schoolwork and personal lives. They're exactly the kind of student-athletes any university would be proud to call their own.'

All four members of the Huskies' class of 2007-08 hail from out-of-state, including two from California, one from Texas and one from Minnesota. Each are multiple-time Junior Olympics national qualifiers, and boast high-level skills in all four events.

Traveling farthest to join the UW program is Prior Lake, Minn., native Samantha (Sam) Walior. A product of coach Bryon Hough's Thompsons Academy of Gymnasics, Walior is a six-time national qualifier and a four-time Region 4 All-Around champion, and also boasts a perfect 4.0 prep grade-point average.

'Sam is a very consistent competitor and will add much needed difficulty and depth to our program,' Bowers says. 'She is well-coached and will bring a great work ethic to practice every day.'

Wailor is one of two regional champions joining the Huskies next season. Visalia, Calif., native Danielle Henderson won the 2005 Region 1 title on the floor exercise for coaches Donna Smith and Link Franzini of the Central California Gymnastics Institute, and was a Junior Olympics national qualifier in both 2004 and 2005. Henderson missed the 2006 season with an injury, but Bowers is confident that she will be ready to go in the fall.

'Danielle is a very powerful tumbler and vaulter, but will also help us in the all-around,' she says. 'Danielle sprained her ankle last year and did not get a chance to showcase her skills at the national meet, so we hope to have gotten a sleeper that will really blossom in college.'

Washington's four-member class of 2007-08 is rounded out by Haley Bogart of Woodside, Calif. (Airbone Gymnastics/Melanie Ruggiero and Justin Howell) and Karen Cain of Kyle, Tex. (Olympic Hill Gymnastics/Jeff Beal). Both boast outstanding resumes, with Cain having qualified for nationals in 2006 after a second-place all-around finish at the Region 3 Championships, and Bogart boasting a pair of Junior Olympics national-qualifying efforts.

'Karen is very strong on floor and bars, but should also help us in the all-around, while Haley is a strong vaulter who can also help us greatly on floor and beam,' Bowers says. 'They're both beautiful to watch, and bring an energy and enthusiasm that will be a great boost to our program as we try to get back to the national ranks.'

Washington will compete in an exhibition intrasquad meet on Dec. 3 at Bank of America Arena, before opening the 2007 regular season Jan. 6 at UCLA.

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