Gymnastics Coach Bowers Named Regional Co-Head Coach Of The Year
April 4, 2009
SEATTLE - Head gymnastics coach Joanne Bowers was named Regional Co-Head Coach of the Year and the GymDawgs tied for fifth overall in the NCAA West Regional at Bank of America Arena Saturday night.
'It feels funny right now, when I didn't feel like we competed very well as a team,' said Bowers of winning the award. 'But I know they vote on that before this meet and it's for the season. I always feel really good about stuff like that because it's from our peers. I think the people in the west region know what we're trying to do with this program and it means a lot that they respect what we're trying to do here.'
Perennial powerhouse Utah won the meet outright, scoring a 197.675. Illinois was the second team qualifier from the region with a 196.700. Boise State took third with a 195.300, followed by Auburn in fourth with a 195.250. The Huskies tied with San Jose State with a 194.800 to round out the meet.
Washington started the evening on vault with a strong rotation. Freshmen Ruby Engreitz and Hatsune Akaogi put up solid scores for the Dawgs with Engreitz recording a 9.725 and Akaogi scoring a 9.750. Haley Bogart was up next for Washington, nailing a 9.775. Freshman Amanda Cline put up one of her best scores of the year with a 9.800. Senior Ashley Houghting, performing on two sprained ankles, gutted out a 9.825 to anchor the team on vault. As a team, the Huskies tallied a 48.875.
The Huskies had a bye in the second rotation before heading to the uneven bars in the third. Karen Cain started Washington off with a 9.700. Engreitz tallied a 9.700 as well and was followed by classmate Akaogi, who recorded a career-high-tying 9.825. Sophomore Samantha Walior pieced together a strong routine, scoring a 9.800. Classmate Kristen Linton anchored the GymDawgs on bars, tying her career-high with a 9.875. Linton's performance was good enough to tie her for fourth overall in the event, the highest finish of any Husky gymnast Saturday. As a team, Washington totaled 48.900 on the bars, the team's highest score on any event of the evening.
In the fourth rotation, Washington took to the balance beam, where senior Kelly Gilbert got things started for the Dawgs, recording a 9.725. Akaogi put up her strongest performance of the year, notching a career-high 9.850 and tying for seventh overall. Both Cline and fellow freshman Anna Epps faltered in their routines, forcing the Huskies to count a fall on beam. Bogart counted a 9.800 on the apparatus and Walior anchored the Huskies with a 9.825. Altogether, Washington managed a 48.375 in the event, heading into a fifth rotation bye.
After a bye round to regroup, Akaogi was in the mix, vying with three other gymnasts for a shot at one of two at-large all-around spots.
Washington headed to the floor to finish the competition with Cain counting a 9.750 to start the Dawgs off. Akaogi was next, performing her strongest performance yet, but fell in her final tumbling pass, and wound up with a 9.275, putting her out of contention for an all-around slot. Linton tied her career-high on floor with a 9.800 and Bogart followed with a 9.825. Walior scored a 9.850 and Cline racked up a 9.425 to anchor Washington in place of Houghting, who was a late scratch on the event. The Huskies totaled a 48.650 for the final rotation, tying them with San Jose State for fifth place.
'I'm disappointed,' said Bowers. 'Our goal, obviously, was to hit all of our routines and do the very best job we could so that if any of the top teams faltered, we would be in place to be able to move on. We didn't hit all of our routines. We had to count a fall on beam and then we had to count a very weak routine on floor. So we're not feeling as good about ourselves as we would have if we had just hit our routines. We started off very strong on vault and bars. Then in the middle of our beam rotation, we had two freshmen fall. And then on floor, Hatsune did probably the best routine she had done all season and she was going for her last pass and she was trying to nail it instead of stepping forward too much. She just under-rotated a little bit and fell. She knows and I know that she lost her opportunity to go to Nationals right there because she was right in the thick of things.'
'Out of 24 routines, 22 of those are freshmen or sophomores,' remarked Bowers. 'So I can see us moving forward and doing well. Our sophomores are stepping up and doing great. We just need more people. We don't have the depth right now. I loved being at home. I just wish we could have taken advantage of it more.'