GymDawgs Seniors Bid Farewell to Hec Ed Friday

Feb. 19, 2007

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The Meet: Fresh off its most resounding Pac-10 victory in more than three years, Washington looks to make its 2007 home finale a memorable one Friday when they welcome 15th-ranked Oregon State and longtime city rival Seattle Pacific to Bank of America Arena for a three-way meet beginning at 7 p.m. PST. Fans who can not attend the meet in person can follow along at www.GoHuskies.com -- both live scoring and live video will be provided free of charge. Former Husky gymnast Carly Dockendorf will be providing commentary on the live video stream.

The 5th Event: Want to meet the GymDawgs? Husky fans have the opportunity to interact with their favorite UW gymnasts after every home competition. Called The 5th Event, this fun, interactive post-meet function in the Founder's Club at Bank of America Arena is a must for any GymDawgs fan, providing the opportunity to coverse with and receive autographs from each UW gymnast, while enjoying free refreshments and promotional giveaways. Don't miss out on the fun!

The Week That Was: Washington gymnasts swept individual titles on all five events and closed the meet with its highest beam score in nearly two years to clinch its most resounding Pac-10 victory in more than three years. The Huskies' 194.800-193.050 win at Pac-10 rival Cal marked the first conference victory in the career of first-year head coach Joanne Bowers, and was largest margin of victory for UW against a Pac-10 opponent since January of 2004. Furthermore, UW's 194.800 team score was a season-high by nearly a full point, and including a 48.800 beam total that crushed UW's previos season-best. Sophomore Ashley Houghting won three events, including a UW career-record-tying 12th win on vault, while junior Nikki Waiss (bars), sophomore Kelly Gilbert (beam) and senior Tori Quandt (beam) each added their first-career victories.

Huskies Quick Notes: Washington's team score of 194.800 versus Cal was its highest in nearly two years, and its fifth-straight score of 193 or higher, a total topped by UW just six times in all of 2006 ... the Huskies' 194.800-193.025 win at Cal was its most lopsided Pac-10 win since a 195.850-193.600 win over Cal in January of 2004 ... seven of the Huskies' 15 gymnasts have earned victories this season, something just three accomplished in all of last year ... Washington has swept all five events twice this season, including vs. Utah State and at Cal ... four Huskies have earned their first-career victories in any event this season, including Raimey Iselin (bars vs. USU), Nikki Waiss (bars vs. Cal), Kelly Gilbert (beam vs. Cal) and Tori Quandt (beam vs. Cal) ... sophomore Ashley Houghting, winner of eight events in 2006, has already matched that total in 2007, including four wins on vault, three on floor and one in the all-around ... Houghting's 12 career victories on vault tie a UW career record, while her 16 total wins equal the 14th-most ever at UW ... 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.

Beavers At A Glance: Oregon State enters Friday's meet riding high after an upset of No. 7 UCLA in Corvallis last weekend. The No. 15 Beavers, topped the 49-point mark in all four events for a season-high team score of 196.650, and upped their season average to 195.062. The Beavers are a formidable foe for any opponent, ranking in the top-25 on all four events and boasting one of the nation's top vaulters in sophomore All-American Tasha Smith.

UW-OSU Series: Washington will try to buck history this week in the form of a nine-meet losing streak to Oregon State, which holds an 80-26 all-time advantage in the long-running series. It took a 197.050 for the Huskies to defeat the Beavers last, that coming in a four-way win in Seattle on Feb. 28, 2003. Oregon State swept all four meetings between the two last season, by an average of more than two points per meet.

Falcons At A Glance: SPU travels across Lake Union Friday to battle city rival Washington after a three-point defeat to San Jose State last Friday. The Falcons (1-6), who boast a season-best team score of 191.500, have battled injuries throughout much of the season, fielding a six-person bars unit just twice in 2007. SPU is led individually by senior Debra Huss, a three-time winner on floor and all-around this year.

UW-SPU Series: Washington has long controlled the series against SPU, defeating its cross-town rival 61 times in 64 total meetings. One needs only to go back to Mar. 8, 2004, however, to find the Falcons' last upset in the series, a 192.875-191.475 win at Brougham Pavilion. The Huskies responded to that defeat, however, with a 198.025-193.500 win just four days later, and have won five-straight against the Falcons overall. Interestingly, the Falcons have never lost to SPU at home, with all three defeats in the series coming at Brougham Pavilion.

Did You Know?
Washington has improved its season-best team score at all but one meet this season, including a total of 194.800 last week at Cal that was the Huskies' best since 2005. More remarkable is that the Huskies continue to improve even while losing key competitors, including bar worker Raimey Iselin (out for the year) and all-arounder Chelsea Bakken (limited to bars only vs. Cal).

Rankings Report: The GymDawgs made their most significant jump of the season in this week's GymInfo Rankings, climbing five spots to 28th with a regional qualifying score (RQS) of 192.525. This week's rankings are the first to be compiled via RQS, obtained by throwing out a team's high score and averaging its next five-best scores, at least three of which must be from road competitions. Currently, Washington's 194.800 at Cal stands as the team's high score and is thus discarded, with the team's other five scores -- including road scores at UCLA (188.175) and Utah (193.850) -- being averaged for the RQS. Washington should see another significant boost in its RQS in three weeks' time after road competitions at ASU and Minnesota, which (assuming UW scores higher than 188.175 at both) will allow the team to finally drop its season-low score at UCLA from consideration. Were that score to be tossed out now, along with UW's high score at Cal, the Huskies would boast an RQS of 193.612, and would rank 21st in the nation.

To Be The Best, Beat The Best: Washington received no favors from the schedule-makers in 2007. Seven of the Huskies' 10 regular-season opponents are ranked in this week's GymInfo Top-26, including No. 3 Stanford, No. 5 Utah, No.6 UCLA, No. 13 Arizona, No. 15 Oregon State, No. 25 Utah State, and No. 26 Minnesota, while Arizona State, ranked 17th last week, is sure to rejoin the top-25 next week after it meets the minimum requirements for an RQS this weekend. In fact, each of UW's four losses this season have come to top-15 teams -- including three top-10 opponents. 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.

Injury Update: As is typically the case two months into the season, nagging injuries are beginning to be the norm for many UW gymnasts. Washington has so far suffered just two season-ending injuries, with both junior Raimey Iselin and freshman Bonita Lee suffering torn meniscuses that will keep them out until 2007-08. Besides those two, however, the only Husky significantly limited of late has been senior Chelsea Bakken. Washington's top all-arounder, Bakken missed all of UW's Feb. 9 meet vs. Arizona with a sprained ankle and was limited to just bars work at Cal, but is hopeful to make a full return this weekend.

Winning Ways: After putting just three Huskies on the victory stand in all of 2006, Washington has already boasted seven different event winners in 2007, its highest such total in more than a decade. Four of those seven earned their first-career wins in 2007, including sophomore Kelly Gilbert (BB vs. Cal) juniors Nikki Waiss (UB vs. Cal) and Raimey Iselin (UB vs. Utah St.), and senior Tori Quandt (BB vs. Cal). Sophomore Ashley Houghting has added eight wins to up her career total to 16, while sophomore Kristen Omori (BB vs. Utah State) and senior Chelsea Bakken (AA vs. Utah St.( have netted victories as well.

Hough'd She Do That?: Sophomore Ashley Houghting is quickly establishing herself as Washington's go-to gymnast for a big score. Winner of eight events in 2006, Houghting has already matched that total this season (through just six meets), and with another five regular-season meets remaining, is on pace to break into UW's all-time top-10 in career victories before the year is done. Known before 2007 for her prowess on vault -- the source of all eight of her victories as a freshman -- Houghting has this year added an all-around component to her repetoire, and has already ripped off three floor wins and an all-around crown to accompany her four vault victories. Houghting won all three events in UW's 194.800-193.025 win at Cal on Feb. 18, her vault victory equaling Klara Kudilkova's UW career record of 12 wins on the apparatus. In fact, Houghting has been defeated on vault just five times in her collegiate career, out of 17 total competitions. Houghting currently ranks among the nation's best on vault and floor, with a 9.820 ranking in the latter that is 21st nationally entering competition this week.

Beaming Up: After a season-long struggle on beam, signs are pointing up for Washington in the event after recording its highest beam score in over a year at Cal on Feb. 18. The Huskies' 48.800 total -- including winning scores of 9.800 by sophomore Kelly Gilbert and senior Tori Quandt, and performances over 9.700 by junior Natalie Gillan (9.700) and sophomores Kristen Omori (9.725) and Ashley Houghting (9.775) -- was nearly a point beyond its previous season-best of 48.025, and was its highest in the event since a 48.925 effort at Arizona on Feb. 3, 2006. Most encouraging for UW is that after opening the season with back-to-back 47.350 and 47.375 performances on beam, the team has topped the 48-point mark twice in the past three weeks, and has not scored below a 47.875 in any of its last four competitions. If Washington can maintain its high beam scores, the Huskies could pull off some surprises in the postseason this year -- Washington has already topped 49 points on both vault and floor this season, and has recorded season-best bars scores at each of the past two consecutive meets.

Guess Who's Bak?: Senior Chelsea Bakken had perhaps the best meet of her collegiate career Jan. 12 vs. Utah State, scoring at least a 9.725 on every event and winning the all-around with a career-best 39.025. 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 and assistant coaches Shanna Duggan and David McCreary. 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 appearances. Duggan 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, while McCreary has placed several gymnasts on the U.S. National Team during a distinguished 20-year coaching career at the club level.

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.

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