Linton, Walior Gearing Up For National Meet
April 21, 2010
National Collegiate Gymnastics Championships
Thurs., April 22-Sat., April 24, 2010
Thursday prelims - 4 p.m. PT
Saturday Event Finals - 3 p.m. PT
Washington juniors Kristen Linton and Samantha Walior head to Gainesville, Fla., this week for the National Collegiate Gymnastics Championships at the O'Connell Center, April 22-24. Team semifinal and all-around competition will be conducted in two sessions Thursday, April 22 at 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. PT, with both Linton and Walior competing in the second session Thursday evening. The top four individuals from each session in each event (plus ties) from the preliminary team and all-around competition will compete in the individual-event competition Saturday, April 24 at 3 p.m. PT.
Live results and live video will be available for all three days of competition on the NCAA's Championship website, www.ncaa.com. Links can also be found on the host University of Florida's website, www.gatorzone.com, as well as at GoHuskies.com.
Huskies At Nationals
Kristen Linton and Samantha Walior will head to nationals for the first time in their careers and become the first Husky duo since 2003 to advance to the NCAA Championships. UW has now sent individuals to nationals in three of the last four seasons since Joanne Bowers took over the program after they had a two-year absence.
Current Husky junior Haley Bogart was the last UW gymnast to compete in the national meet, competing in the all-around in 2008. Chelsea Bakken also advanced in the all-around in 2007. Before that, Carly Dockendorf advanced on floor exercise in 2004 and also joined two other teammates in 2003 at the national meet. The highest-ever Husky finisher on floor at Nationals was Tiffany Simpson, who placed fourth in 1998.
Linton and Walior advanced to nationals by tying for first on floor at the NCAA Regionals in Salt Lake City with scores of 9.900. They tied with two other individuals for the title, making them UW's first NCAA Regional champions since 2004 when Carly Dockendorf also won a title on floor with the same 9.900 score.
Linton and Walior are UW's 10th and 11th NCAA Regional champions in school history. They are just the third and fourth Dawgs to win titles on floor, joining Dockendorf (2003, 2004) and Tiffany Simpson (1997, 1998), who each won a pair of Regional floor titles.
Repping the Pac-10
Linton and Walior are two of four Pac-10 individuals heading to NCAAs. The conference will send three teams, Oregon State, Stanford and UCLA, the second-most of any conference behind the SEC, which is sending four. Linton and Walior will be joined by Arizona's Denna Graham and Arizona State's Mary Atkinson, who both qualified in the all-around.
In the Rankings
Linton and Walior check in highly in the national rankings, with Linton coming in at No. 35 on bars with an RQS of 9.855, a mark that ranks ninth in the Pac-10. Walior, meanwhile, ranks No. 59 on bars with an RQS of 9.835. The duo also rank highly on floor, with Walior ranking 82nd (9.835) and Linton coming in at 97th (9.825). Walior also was strong on beam, ranking 58th with an RQS of 9.825, which places her in a tie for ninth in the conference.
Last Time Out
Linton and Walior helped the Huskies finish fifth at the NCAA Regionals, tying for the floor title with scores of 9.900. Their big routines helped the Huskies post the highest score on the event of all six teams, totaling a season-high of 49.350. Overall, UW scored 195.075, their highest in an NCAA Regional meet since 2003.
UW's mark on floor was not only a season-high but also marked its highest score on any apparatus since 2005. Linton and Walior became UW's first Regional champions since 2004 with Linton setting a new career high and Walior tying hers. 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 in the all-around. She found out the next day, however, that both she and Walior had qualified for Nationals on floor.
Sam the Ma'am
Junior Samantha Walior proved all year to be one of the most dangerous performers in the conference, winning a team-high eight events this year, three each on bars and floor and two on beam. She has scored a 9.900 on bars twice, once in a win over Seattle Pacific and again against No. 9 Arkansas. She now has five 9.900s in her career after earning the score at Regionals, giving her two on floor and bars and one on beam.
Linton Breaks Out
With no seniors on this year's GymDawg squad, the juniors have had to step up and lead the way and Kristen Linton has done just that. The Edmonds, Wash., native is second on the team with six event wins this year, four coming on floor, including her win at the NCAA Regionals. Prior to that score, she tied her career high earlier this year with a 9.875 in a win at Seattle Pacific. She won the floor in back-to-back events this year, scoring a 9.850 against Arizona State and a 9.825 against California. Linton has also won twice on bars, setting a career-high with her first-ever 9.900 against Cal to give her two victories in the meet. She also tied Walior for the win on bars with a 9.850 against Arizona.