No. 20 GymDawgs Hit The Road To Face No. 5 OSU
Jan. 21, 2010
Coach Bowers on facing No. 5 Oregon State: 'I'm proud of the team's performance so far but it's going to be a real eye opener (this) week when we travel to Oregon State because they are a great team and they have a great home crowd. They'll pull in 5-6,000 people and they are loud. It's a hard place for us to go into. We beat them at home last year and that was a big thing for us because we hadn't beaten them in years but I know they are going to come after us. This is a young team and its their first time on the road in front of great fans so I really want them to concentrate on building energy amongst themselves. You can't rely on the fans to get you fired up because when you go on the road it's not there. You have to build it within your own team.'
The No. 20 Washington gymnastics squad hits the road for the first time this season when they travel down south to face the No. 5 Oregon State Beavers, their third-consecutive meet against a top-10 team. The Huskies and Beavers will face off Friday, Jan. 22 at 7 p.m. at Gill Coliseum.
Friday's meet will be streamed live online via Beaver Nation Online (BNO), the audio/visual home of osubeavers.com. For the first time, OSU gymnastics will have full-time analysis from former gymnasts Jami Lanz, a three-time All-American who exhausted her eligibility following the 2009 season, and Adonica Glatt, who retired from the OSU gymnastics team following her freshman season last year. The video is free and live scoring is also available at osubeavers.com.
The Huskies welcomed the nation's No. 1 team to Bank of America Arena, the UCLA Bruins, in the Pac-10 opener for both teams. After a season-opening loss to No. 9 Nebraska where they showed great promise, the Huskies once again rose to their opponent's level as they hung in tough with the Bruins before UCLA escaped with a 196.125-194.875 win. Sophomore Hatsune Akaogi had an impressive night, tying UCLA All-American Anna Li for the all-around title. Akaogi finished second on the bars with a 9.850 while junior Samantha Walior tied for third on floor with a 9.825 as the Huskies set a season-high team score as well as season highs on three of their four events to show great promise for a big season.
Huskies in the Rankings
Washington opened the season in the top-25 for the first time since 2006, coming in at No. 25. Their solid opening weekend moved them up to No. 19 before they dropped one spot this week to No. 20 after falling to No. 1 UCLA, their second-straight meet against a top-10 team.
The Huskies also appear in the top-25 in the event rankings, coming in at No. 14 on floor, No. 15 on beam and No. 25 on bars. Individually, Hatsune Akaogi is the 17th-ranked all-arounder in the nation and Samantha Walior is tied for 25th nationally on floor exercise.
The Huskies face one of the toughest schedules in the country, competing against seven teams currently in the nation's top-10 including three of the top five. UW opens with five straight meets against top-15 teams, including No. 9 Nebraska, No. 1 UCLA, No. 5 Oregon State, No. 6 Utah and No. 8 Stanford. After two weeks off from ranked opponents, UW faces No. 7 Arkansas, No. 24 Arizona and No. 2 Oklahoma over the next three weeks.
About the Huskies
UW came into the season ranked 25th, returning eight competitors from last year's squad that finished fourth at the Pac-10 Championships, the Huskies' best finish in six years. UW also advanced to the NCAA West Regionals for the third time in head coach Joanne Bowers' three-year tenure. UW has since moved up to No. 20, led by returning All-Pac-10 performers Hatsune Akaogi, who was a Second Team All-Around selection, and Samantha Walior, who was a First Team pick on Floor Exercise. Five freshmen also should help the Huskies challenge the best in the conference.
Scouting the Beavers
Oregon State, one of the perennial Pac-10 powers in the sport, comes into the meet ranked No. 5 in the nation, sporting a 4-0 record. The Beavers, who won the four-team Salbasgeon Suites Invitational in their opener, are coming off a 196.125-193.050 win over Ohio State.
The Beavers reached the 196-point mark despite the loss of two competitors due to injury during timed warm-ups. Senior Mandi Rodriguez won the all-around with a score of 39.350 and freshman Makayla Stambaugh was second (39.025). Both gymnasts tallied scores of 9.95 on the floor. Laura-Ann Chong is performing the best gymnastics of her career at OSU, winning the individual title on bars, equaling the career-high she set the previous week with a 9.925. Chong also tied Stambaugh for first on the beam with a score of 9.90.
About the Series
The Huskies scored a huge upset over the Beavers last season in Seattle when Oregon State was ranked No. 9. It was UW's first win over OSU since 2003, a span of 12 meets. The Beavers lead the all-time series 89-24, including a 45-2 record in Corvallis.
Head coach Joanne Bowers has been thrilled with her team's start this season, particularly on the beam where UW ranks 15th in the nation. The Huskies have been nearly flawless on the apparatus which is the most difficult in the sport. Last week, four of UW's six competitors scored 9.750 or higher, led by Samantha Walior's 9.800, while on opening night against Nebraska, UW had five of six competitors at 9.650 or higher with junior Haley Bogart leading the GymDawgs with a 9.750.
Hats Off to Hatsune
Coming off a stellar freshman campaign in which she earned All-Pac-10 honors in the all-around, sophomore Hatsune Akaogi looks ready to lead the Huskies back into the postseason. The only Husky to perform in the all-around so far this season, Akaogi has been very impressive, tying for the title last week against No. 1 UCLA and their All-American Anna Li and finishing just a skosh behind Nebraska's Maria Scaffidi for second in the season opener. Akaogi has hit all of her routines this season and been a model of consistency. She is ranked tied for 17th in the nation in the all-around after last week's performance in which she set new career highs on vault and bars and tied a career-high on floor.
Juniors Leading the Way
With no seniors on the squad this year, the junior class has become the de facto leader of the Husky squad and they have stepped up to the challenge. With just three of the four healthy enough to compete, those three have been rocks of consistency thus far. Samantha Walior has led the way on floor exercise, capping both meets this season with exclamation point performances, rocking Bank of America Arena with a 9.850 against Nebraska to finish second on the event, and also capping last week's meet against UCLA in style with a 9.825 to finish third.
Haley Bogart, meanwhile, has had a great start as well, leading the way on beam with a 9.750 in both meets to finish fifth each time. She also had 9.775s on both vault and floor the first meet. Kristen Linton, meanwhile, has also turned in some big performances - including a 9.800 on floor against Nebraska.