Linton, Walior Earn Regional Championships In Season-Ending Meet
April 10, 2010
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah - Juniors Samantha Walior and Kristen Linton became UW's first NCAA Regional Champions since 2004 and the Huskies won the event with a season-high score, but it was not enough to extend the season for the Washington gymnastics squad as they finished fifth at the NCAA Regionals to conclude its 2010 campaign.
The Huskies scored a 195.075, their highest team score in an NCAA Regional meet since 2003. They scored an incredible 49.350 on floor, which was the highest among all six teams on the event, including No. 4 Florida and No. 10 Utah, which finished 1-2 in the meet to advance to the NCAA Championships. The mark is also UW's highest score on any apparatus since 2005.
Linton and Walior are UW's first Regional champions since 2004 when Carly Dockendorf won floor as well with a 9.900. The score tied a career-high for Walior and was Linton's first-ever 9.900 on floor.
Interestingly, whether or not Linton and Walior have qualified for the NCAA Championships in two weeks has yet to be determined. Because there was a four-way tie for the win on the event among gymnasts on non-qualifying teams, the NCAA has yet to decided whether there will be any kind of tiebreaker or whether all four individuals will be allowed to qualify. If they do advance, they would be the first Huskies to qualify for NCAAs since 2008.
In addition to her win on floor, Linton finished ninth in the all-around with a career-best 38.975, falling one spot shy of qualifying for the national meet. The top two individuals not on qualifying teams advance and two all-around competitors from Denver finished just ahead of Linton, in addition to performers from advancing teams Florida and Utah.
As they did at the Pac-10 Championships, the Huskies started on bars and did not have a great performance, digging a hole early. Sophomore Ruby Engreitz led the way with a 9.825 to set a new career high and tie for 12th on the event. Walior was also solid with a 9.800 to tie for 15th and sophomore Hatsune Akaogi was steady with a 9.725. UW totaled a 48.650 in their first rotation.
UW then moved on to beam where they also had a tough time, counting a pair of falls to total a 48.150. Freshman Paige Bixler, who got better and better as the season progressed, led the way with a 9.800 which tied for 11th. Linton and fellow junior Haley Bogart also had good routines, picking up 9.750s.
After a bye in the third rotation, UW bounced back on floor in a big way, with five of the six Husky competitors scoring at least 9.825. Walior and Linton were dazzling to tie for the win with five other competitors. Bogart also had a great routine to earn a 9.875 and tie for eighth, tying her career-high along the way. Freshman Lauren Rogers showed great promise of big things for next year, setting a career-high of her own with a 9.850 to tie for 11th. Akaogi also tied her career-high with a 9.825 to tie for 16th.
The Huskies finished out the night on vault where they also scored well, receiving a total score of 48.925 to tie their second-best score of the season. Rogers and Bogart tied for tops on the Huskies with 9.850s, tying for 12th. Sophomore Amanda Cline also had a good vault, receiving a 9.800, while Akaogi, Karen Cain and Linton rounded things out with scores of 9.725, 9.700 and 9.675, respectively.
The Huskies figure to compete for a spot in the NCAA Championships next year as they lose just one competitor from this year's team. While they technically have no seniors on the roster, the junior Cain will graduate early in just three years as she heads off to work for the Teach for American program.