GymDawgs Set Season High In Narrow Loss To No. 21 Arizona

March 5, 2010

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TUCSON, Ariz. - Needing a big score in their third road meet of the season to help their Regional Qualifying Score (RQS), the Washington gymnastics squad came up big with a season-high 195.675 in a narrow loss at No. 21 Arizona Friday night, which edged the Huskies with a 195.750 at the McKale Center.

But the loss meant nothing as the Huskies just needed a big score to help them vault back into the top 25 rankings with an RQS. Teams need at least three home meets and three away meets to earn an RQS, which NCAA qualification is based on. UW had competed in just two away meets coming into this week and one was a season-low performance at Oregon State.

The Huskies responded in a big way, recording a season high on bars and matching their season-best on beam. They were consistent all around, recording at least a 48.850 on all four events.

Sophomore Hatsune Akaogi won her third all-around of the season, recording a 39.125 to hold off three Arizona competitors. Amanda Cline and Haley Bogart tied for the win on vault with 9.825s, while Lauren Rogers, Kristen Linton and Samantha Walior all tied for the win on bars with 9.850s. Walior also tied for the win on beam with a 9.825. The Huskies didn't have any enormously high scores to speak of, but it was there all-around consistency that head coach Joanne Bowers has been looking for all season that finally came together.

'We had a great meet. It went down to the last competitor with us on beam and them on floor and unfortunately they just did some great routines and we lost some steam at the end. It was frustrating to be that close and not win but our kids competed from beginning to end and were neck and neck all night,' Bowers said. 'We got off to a great start on bars and that's how we'll start here at the end of the month at Pac-10s so that was good practice for us. We did pretty well on vault and floor has been really strong all season but we didn't have a great rotation and that's probably where we lost the meet. This will help us to get our RQS though. If we can have this same meet at Oklahoma and do better on floor, then we can really move up in the rankings. This was a really good showing on the road for us.'

Akaogi was a perfect example of the Huskies' consistency all night, earning a 9.800 on vault, a 9.775 on bars, a 9.725 on beam and a 9.825 on floor. She helped UW get off to a strong start on bars, as her 9.775 score was just the fourth-best on her own team. Rogers' 9.850 was a career-high to tie her teammates for the win, while Linton and Walior continued to put up strong scores on the event. The two juniors have each put up a 9.900 on the event over the past two weeks, but they were still solid in putting up 9.850s to help UW lead after one rotation with a 49.050.

On vault, all six Huskies scored at least 9.650. Karen Cain and Ruby Engreitz each put up 9.650s followed by Cline putting up a season-high 9.825. After Akaogi's career-high tying 9.800, Rogers posted a 9.750 and Bogart tied Cline with a 9.825 and UW still led, 97.900-97.800.

UW moved on to floor where Akaogi set a career high with a 9.825 to tie Bogart for the team lead. Cline and Linton each had 9.775 while Walior, shaking off a heel injury, gutted out a 9.725.

With UW leading, 146.825-146.450, heading into the final rotation, the Wildcats proved to be too much on their home floor. They recorded two scores on 9.900 or better and while UW was excellent in equaling their best score of 48.850, it was not quite enough. Bixler had a career high with a 9.775 while Bogart had a 9.800 and Walior earned a 9.825 to help UW cap a great meet.

The Huskies continue their three-week road swing to end the regular season next week at No. 2 Oklahoma, their seventh top-10 opponent of the season. The meet is scheduled for next Friday, March 12 at 5 p.m. PT.

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