GymDawgs To Face No. 3 On The Road

Jan. 17, 2007

The Meet: For the second time in just three weeks, Washington (1-1) hits the road to face an opponent ranked among the nation's top-five, this week matching up against No. 2 Utah (1-0) in Salt Lake City on Fri., Jan. 19 at 6 p.m. PST. Free live scoring and live streaming video are available to all fans at

The Week That Was: Washington's women's gymnastics team gave first-year head coach Joanne Bowers a late Christmas present Saturday, sweeping first- and second-place in all four events to key a thrilling 193.000-191.400 victory over Utah State (1-2), the first win of Bowers' coaching tenure at Washington. Washington held the lead early after strong performances on vault and bars, but fell behind by .025 after counting three falls on beam The Huskies, however, pulled together for an outstanding rotation on floor, their 48.775 team score the highest by either team on any rotation in the meet. Senior Chelsea Bakken gave the Huskies the lead with a career-high equaling 9.800 on floor, before sophomore Ashley Houghting clinched the win with a near-perfect 9.925 in the Huskies' final competition of the night, crushing her previous floor career-high of 9.725. Houghting also won the vault with a 9.925, while junior Raimey Iselin won bars (9.800), sophomore Kristen Omori won beam (9.800), and Bakken won the all-around (39.025).

Huskies Quick Notes: Washington returns 10 of 11 letterwinners from a young 2006 squad, which missed qualifying for the NCAA Regional Championships for the first time in its 35-year history ... Only three Washington gymnasts won events in all of 2006, a feat accomplished by four different gymnasts against Utah State ... Four of UW's five winners vs. USU earned their first-ever victories in a specific event, including Ashley Houghting (floor), Raimey Iselin (bars), Kristen Omori (beam) and Chelsea Bakken (all-around); Iselin's victory was the first of her career in any event ... Sophomore Ashley Houghting, winner of eight events in 2006, has her season off to a fast start with wins in the vault and floor against Utah State, including career-highs 9.925s on each ... Houghting's nine career victories on vault are already tied for the fourth-most ever by a UW gymnast; Kelly MacDonald holds the record with 12 vault wins ... Sophomore Kristen Omori scored 9.850s or higher on both vault and floor in 2006, and opened her 2007 campaign with a win on beam against Utah State ... Senior Chelsea Bakken scored a career-best 39.025 to win the all-around against Utah State, and is UW's top-returning all-arounder ... With the win vs. USU, Washington improved its all-time non-conference home record to 80-15-1, including a 21-5 record since the re-opening of Bank of America Arena in 2001.

Utes At A Glance: Perennial national-title contender Utah is led in 2007 by local product Kristina Baskett, a Normandy Park, Wash., native and the defending NCAA bars champion. Baskett won all but one event for the Utes in their 196.325-195.975 season-opening win over fifth-ranked UCLA last weekend, the 849th win of head coach Greg Marsden's career at Utah. Utah boasts three gymnasts currently ranked in the nation's top-10 individually, including Baskett (1st, AA, 39.600; 2nd, BB, 9.900; 3rd (tie), FX, 9.900; 4th (tie), V, 9.900), Ashley Postell (9th, AA, 39.275; 3rd (tie), FX, 9.900) and Nicolle Ford (3rd (tie), UB, 9.925).

UW-Utah Series: Utah has the upper hand in the long-running series between the two schools, winning 33 of 34 matchups all-time, including all 14 meets contested in Salt Lake City. Washington put the lone blemish on Utah's record in 2001, scoring a 10.0 on floor in the final rotation to earn a 196.725-196.725 tie. Utah downed the Huskies 195.625-193.325 in Seattle last season.

Did You Know?
Washington's win vs. Utah State last weekend included a sweep of all four event titles, plus the all-around. The Huskies last accomplished that feat on Mar. 14, 2005, sweeping all five titles in a home meet vs. Boise State.

Injury Update: Two weeks into the season, Washington is already feeling the bite of the injury bug. Junior Raimey Iselin was the bug's latest victim, suffering a slight meniscus tear that will keep the Utah State bars champion out for 2-4 weeks. Each of Washington's other 14 gymnasts should be able to compete if needed this weekend, though junior Natalie Gillan will be limited to just bars duty for one more week. The news on sophomore Kristen Omori, though, is better -- after missing the UCLA meet and being limited just to beam work against Utah State (which she won), Omori is expected to be back on all three of her events this weekend.

To Be The Best, Beat The Best: Washington received no favors from the schedule-makers in 2007. Eight of the Huskies' 12 listed regular-season opponents are ranked in this week's GymInfo Top-25, including No. 3 Utah, No. 7 UCLA, No. 8 Arizona, No. 12 Stanford, No. 15 Minnesota and No. 21 Oregon State, while preseason No. 11 Arizona State will be certain to crack the top-25 after its debut this weekend. A difficult schedule is nothing the Huskies aren't used to, however -- in 2006, 18 of UW's 28 opponents boasted top-20 rankings at the time of their meeting, including all but one of the Huskies' six Pac-10 foes.

Hough'd She Do That?: Sophomore Ashley Houghting had an outstanding freshman season in 2006, her eight individual vault titles the fourth-most ever by a Husky freshman. Houghting has started off her 2006 campaign on a similar note, winning both the vault and floor against Utah State on Jan. 12, while posting a vault score of 9.925 that has been bettered by just two other gymnasts nationally this year. While Houghting's floor win -- a career-best 9.925 -- was her first-ever in that event, the vault victory was her ninth all-time, leaving her just three shy of Kelly McDonald for UW's all-time vault victories record.In fact, Houghting has been defeated on the apparatus just four times in her collegiate career, out of 13 total competitions. Houghting, who has added an all-around component to her repetoire this season, finished the 2006 season ranked 11th nationally on vault with a RQS of 9.895.

That's Omori: Sophomore Kristen Omori made quite a splash in her first season as a Husky. Although she won just one individual title (floor vs. Cal on Feb. 17), she emerged as one of the Huskies most consistent performers. Omori competed on vault, beam and floor in all 12 meets, the only Husky to do so. Her scores were stellar during that span, too, as the Kirkland, Wash., native scored a 9.7 or higher in 32 of those 36 routines. She has yet to score below a 9.725 on vault and has only scored below a 9.725 on floor once, in her first collegiate meet. Omori finished the 2006 season ranked 12th in the Pac-10 on vault, 20th on beam, and 17th on floor.

Guess Who's Bak?: Senior Chelsea Bakken had perhaps the best meet of her collegiate career last weekend against Utah State, scoring at least a 9.725 on every event and winning the all-around with a career-best 39.025 score. Bakken's win, the first of her UW career in the all-around, was a terrific start to what has the makings of an outstanding season for the Mesa, Ariz., native. Bakken led all Huskies in 2006 with an all-around RQS of of 38.495 (14th Pac-10, 72nd nation), and had won three times previously, including twice on vault, and once on floor.

Meet the Coaches: Washington is fortunate to have an outstanding trio of first-year coaches in 2007, including head coach Joanne Bowers (James Madison, `82) and assistant coaches Shanna Duggan (Michigan, `05) and David McCreary (Illinois State, `78). Bowers has amassed impressive credentials as an assistant coach at Michigan from 2002-06, coaching 13 All-Americans and four Big Ten champions, while helping guide the Wolverines to five-straight NCAA Championships appearances. Duggan, who assists with UW's beam, floor and vault efforts, also brings a winning attitude to Washington after a stellar collegiate career during which she earned second-team All-Big Ten honors, and was an Academic All-American. McCreary, meanwhile, has placed several gymnasts on the U.S. National Team during a distinguished 20-year coaching career at the club level, and will assist with UW's bars, vault and tumbling efforts.

The Future's So Bright: First-year head coach Joanne Bowers has already signed four outstanding preps to letters of intent for the 2007-08 academic year. Samantha (Sam) Wailor (Prior Lake, Minn./Thompson's Academy) is a six-time national qualifier and four-time Region 4 all-around champion, while Danielle Henderson (Visalia, Calif./Central Calif. Gymnastics Institute) is a Region 1 floor champion and a two-time Junior Olympics natiuonal qualifier. They'll be joined by two-time Junior Olympics national qualifier Haley Bogart (Woodside, Calif./Airborne Gymnastics) and Region 3 all-around runner-up Karen Cain (Kyle, Tex./Olympic Hill Gymnastics), who both boast impressive resumes as well.'They're exactly the kind of student-athletes any University would be proud to call their own,' Bowers says.

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