No. 23 GymDawgs Host California Looking For First Home Win

Feb. 18, 2010

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This Week
After recording a season-high score last week against No. 24 Arizona State, the No. 23 Washington gymnastics squad continues its three-meet homestand on Friday, Feb. 19 against California at 7 p.m. The Huskies (2-6) will be looking for their first home win of the season and also their first conference win in 2010. California is the first non-ranked team the Huskies have faced in five home meets this year.

Live Coverage
A free live video feed will be available on GoHuskies.com along with live scoring. Inaddition, all 2010 home meets will be available for viewing On-Demand to all regionalComcast subscribers. Go to www.GoHuskies.com and visit the gymnastics schedulepage for links to stats and video.

Last Week
UW set a season high overall score, reaching the 195.00 barrier for the first time with a 195.425 but it was not quite enough as a tight meet that came down to the last routine went to No. 24 Arizona State, which scored 195.650. Still, UW came away with many positives including a season-high 49.000 on vault, an event that had caused the Huskies a lot of problems early in the season. It was their first event score of at least 49.000 on the season but it would be topped later in the night when the Huskies had a season-high 49.025 on floor.

Three GymDawgs - Haley Bogart, Kristen Linton and Samantha Walior - tied for the win on the event, each with scores of 9.850. Walior also won the beam with a 9.825 while Ruby Engreitz scored her first career victory, tying for the lead on the bars with a 9.850

Huskies in the Rankings
The Huskies moved up one spot to No. 23 after a season-high score of 195.425 against No. 24 Arizona State last weekend. The Huskies had been ranked No. 24 in three straight weeks but their first score over 195.000 was enough to bump them up the rankings. UW has reached a high of No. 19 this season, which they garnered after a strong opening-week performance against No. 10 Nebraska. UW opened the season in the top-25 for the first time since 2006, coming in at No. 25.

The Huskies also appear in the top-25 in the event rankings, ranking 17th on beam and 18th on floor along with tying for 23rd on bars.

Challenging Schedule
The Huskies face one of the toughest schedules in the country, competing against seven teams currently in the nation's top-10 including four of the top five. UW opened with five straight meets against top-10 teams, including No. 10 Nebraska, No. 9 UCLA, No. 3 Oregon State, No. 5 Utah and No. 8 Stanford. After facing No. 24 ASU last week UW gets a one-week break from ranked opponents before competing against No. 6 Arkansas, No. 21 Arizona and No. 2 Oklahoma over the following 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. 23, led by returning All-Pac-10 performer Hatsune Akaogi, who owns one all-around win this year when she tied then-No. 1 UCLA's All-American Anna Li. Juniors Samantha Walior, a First Team All-Pac-10 pick on floor last year, and Haley Bogart have also been solid for UW this year while five freshmen are contributing to a very young team that has no seniors.

Scouting California
The Golden Bears are looking for their first win of the season as they come into the meet with an 0-5 record, four of which have come against Pac-10 teams that are ranked. Cal's meet this weekend in Seattle is the first of five consecutive away meets to close out their regular season schedule.

Cal has been led by Sophia Hocini, who has posted the team's high score on the season in the all around (38.825) and vault (9.825) and is tied with Mariesah Pierce and Avery Gee for highest score on the floor (9.800). Other leaders for the Bears include Nicolette Lew on beam (9.750) and Stina OIivere (9.775) on bars.

About the Series
The Huskies have a major advantage in the all-time series between the two teams, holding a 65-12 edge and winning the last 10 meets. UW won a tri-meet with Cal and Illinois State in Berkeley last year, posting a then-season high score of 194.400. Husky individuals won three of the four events (Kristen Linton - bars; Ashley Houghting - floor and vault) while Hatsune Akaogi won her first career all-around title.

Vaulting Back Into the Discussion
The Huskies nemesis for much of the season has been vault, but over the past two weeks UW has started to put it all together, capped last week by a season high 49.000 in their opening rotation against No. 24 Arizona State.

While the event started strange for the Huskies with normally sharp Kristen Linton falling on her approach and receving a 0.00, the Huskies had her back and responded by hitting their next five vaults, led by freshman Lauren Rogers finishing second on the event with a career-high 9.875. Kylie Sharp set a new career high as well with a 9.725, Hatsune Akaogi tied hers with a 9.800 and Amanda Cline (9.775) and Haley Bogart (9.825) both notched season bests as UW's 49.000 was at the time their best score on any event all season, before they beat the mark later that night on floor.

Bowers Beaming
Head coach Joanne Bowers has been thrilled with her team's start this season, particularly on the beam where UW ranks 17th in the nation and fourth in the Pac-10. The Huskies have been solid on the apparatus which is the most difficult in the sport, scoring at least 48.625 on three occasions, including a season high of 48.775 against Utah a few weeks ago.

Junior Samantha Walior has led the way, leading the team on beam in five of six meets this season, including the last five. She won her first individual event last week against ASU on beam, scoring a 9.825. She has scored at least a 9.800 in four of those five meets, including a high of 9.850 against Utah. Freshman Paige Bixler has been strong in setting the tone from the leadoff position, scoring at least a 9.600 in every meet, while junior Haley Bogart has been a model of consistency, scoring a 9.750 in four of six meets.

Flooring the Competition
The Huskies best and most consistent event has been floor, where they are 18th in the nation with an average of 48.800, their best of the four events. The Huskies started the season with a bang, compiling a 48.850, which stood as their season best until last week, when UW had a whopping 49.025 against Arizona State. The Huskies have never dipped below 48.625 in six meets this year.

Samantha Walior has been UW's top floor competitor, leading the team in three of six events and tying for the team on two other occasions She has at least a 9.800 in five of six meets, including a high of 9.850 in the opening meet against Nebraska which she then tied last week as one of three Huskies to tie for the win against ASU.

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