Dawgs, 'Cats Tangle in Gymnastics Clash at Hec Ed

Feb. 6, 2007

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The Meet: After a week off of competition, Washington (1-3) finds itself battling another highly-ranked opponent on Friday as No. 14 Arizona visits Bank of America Arena at 7 p.m. PST. Fans who can not attend the meet in person can follow along at www.GoHuskies.com -- both live scoring and live video will be provided free of charge. Former Husky gymnast Carly Dockendorf will be providing commentary on the live video stream.

The 5th Event: Want to meet the GymDawgs? This season, Husky fans will have the opportunity to interact with their favorite UW gymnasts after every home competition. Called The 5th Event, this fun, interactive post-meet function in the Founder's Club at Bank of America Arena is a must for any GymDawgs fan, providing the opportunity to coverse with and receive autographs from each UW gymnast, while enjoying free refreshments and promotional giveaways. Don't miss out on the fun!

The Week That Was: Washington topped the 193-point mark for the third-straight meet, but it wasn't enough to topple No. 4 Stanford, which left Hec Ed with a 196.075-193.675 win on Jan. 26. Sophomore Ashley Houghting continued her winning ways with the 10th vault victory of her career, her score of 9.900 leading all UW performers. Freshman Celia Short also excelled at the meet, posting career-best performances on bars (9.650) and floor (9.725), while Houghting (9.875), senior Chelsea Bakken (9.850) and sophomore Kelly Gilbert (9.825) each topped 9.8 on floor to lead UW to a season-high floor score of 49.000.

Huskies Quick Notes: Washington returns 10 of 11 letterwinners from a young 2006 squad, which missed qualifying for the NCAA Regional Championships for the first time in its 35-year history ... Only three Washington gymnasts won events in all of 2006, a feat accomplished by four different gymnasts Jan. 12 against Utah State ... Four of UW's five winners vs. USU earned their first-ever victories in a specific event, including Ashley Houghting (floor), Raimey Iselin (bars), Kristen Omori (beam) and Chelsea Bakken (all-around); Iselin's victory was the first of her career in any event ... Sophomore Ashley Houghting, winner of eight events in 2006, has her season off to a fast start with wins in the vault against Utah State and Stanford and on the floor against Utah State ... Houghting's 10 career victories on vault put her alone in third place on the all-time list; Kelly MacDonald holds the record with 12 vault wins ... Sophomore Kristen Omori scored 9.850s or higher on both vault and floor in 2006, and opened her 2007 campaign with a win on beam against Utah State; against Stanford she did not score lower than 9.725 in the three events in which she competed ... Senior Chelsea Bakken scored a career-best 39.025 to win the all-around against Utah State, and is UW's top-returning all-arounder ... Washington's team score of 193.850 at Utah was its highest in nearly two years ... With the win vs. USU, Washington improved its all-time non-conference home record to 80-15-1, including a 21-5 record since the re-opening of Bank of America Arena in 2001.

Wildcats At A Glance: Fourteeth-ranked Arizona (3-1) enters Friday's meet in Seattle after a dramatic, high -scoring win (195.400-195.125) over No.23 Minnesota. The Wildcats won events in three of four rotations against the Golden Gophers, scoring a season best 49.225 on the floor exercise. Danielle Hicks is currently ranked seventh in the nation on the balance beam, winning the event with a 9.900 against Oregon State.

UW-Arizona Series: Washington will be looking to buck historical trends Friday when they face the Wildcats, who own a 27-19-1 record all-time against the GymDawgs. Arizona defeated Washington in both meetings of the 2006 season, winning 195.325-193.000 in the regular season and 193.750-192.750 at the Pac-10 Championships. Washington doesn't have to go too far back to find its last win over Arizona, however -- the Huskies were 195.075-194.800 victors over the Wildcats in a four-way meet in 2005, also the last meeting between the two held in Seattle.

Did You Know?
The GymDawgs have already topped 193 points three times in four meets this season, after doing so just six times in 13 total competitions in 2005. In fact, were the Huskies allowed to drop their lowest score (which will occur after next weekend's meet at Cal), their average score would change from 192.175 to 193.508, and their ranking would jump from 34th to 28th.

Injury Update: Washington's gymnasts rested up during the off week and will be ready to go Friday, with no new injuries to report. The only member of the Huskies' regular lineup who will remain out of action is junior Raimey Iselin, who is out for the remainder of the 2007 season. One of the Huskies' top bar workers, Iselin also missed most of 2006 due to stress fractures in her back.

To Be The Best, Beat The Best: Washington received no favors from the schedule-makers in 2007. Seven of the Huskies' 12 listed regular-season opponents are ranked in this week's GymInfo Top-25, including No. 4 Utah, No. 5 Stanford, No. 7 UCLA, No. 14 Arizona , No. 15 Oregon State, No. 21 Arizona State and No. 23 Minnesota. A difficult schedule is nothing the Huskies aren't used to, however -- in 2006, 18 of UW's 28 opponents boasted top-20 rankings at the time of their meeting, including all but one of the Huskies' six Pac-10 foes.

Hough'd She Do That?: Sophomore Ashley Houghting had an outstanding freshman season in 2006, her eight individual vault titles the fourth-most ever by a Husky freshman. Houghting has started off her 2007 campaign on a similar note, winning the vault against Utah State and Stanford, and adding a floor win against the Aggies. While Houghting's floor win against USU -- a career-best 9.925 -- was her first-ever in that event, her vault victory against Stanford was her 10th all-time, leaving her just two shy of Kelly McDonald for UW's all-time vault victories record. In fact, Houghting has been defeated on the apparatus just five times in her collegiate career, out of 15 total competitions. Already known for her vault prowess, Houghting has emerged this year as a force on floor as well. The sophomore -- who entered the year with a best of 9.725 on floor -- has yet to score below a 9.875 in three 2007 competitions, and boasts an average of 9.900 that is tied for No. 28 in the nation this year.

That's Omori: Sophomore Kristen Omori made quite a splash in her first season as a Husky. The only Husky to compete on vault, beam and floor in every UW meet, Omori scored a 9.7 or higher in 32 of her 36 routines. In fact, Omori has yet to score below a 9.725 on vault at any meet in her career, and has only scored below a 9.725 on floor once, in her collegiate debut. Omori finished the 2006 season ranked 12th in the Pac-10 on vault, 20th on beam, and 17th on floor, and is off to a fast start in 2007 with a beam win against Utah State and season averages of 9.775 on floor and 9.767 on vault.

Guess Who's Bak?: Senior Chelsea Bakken had perhaps the best meet of her collegiate careerJan. 12 vs. Utah State, scoring at least a 9.725 on every event and winning the all-around with a career-best 39.025. Bakken's win, the first of her UW career in the all-around, was a terrific start to what has the makings of an outstanding season for the Mesa, Ariz., native. Bakken led all Huskies in 2006 with an all-around RQS of of 38.495 (14th Pac-10, 72nd nation), and had won three times previously, including twice on vault, and once on floor.

Meet the Coaches: Washington is fortunate to have an outstanding trio of first-year coaches in 2007, including head coach Joanne Bowers and assistant coaches Shanna Duggan and David McCreary. Bowers has amassed impressive credentials as an assistant coach at Michigan from 2002-06, coaching 13 All-Americans and four Big Ten champions, while helping guide the Wolverines to five-straight NCAA appearances. Duggan also brings a winning attitude to Washington after a stellar collegiate career during which she earned second-team All-Big Ten honors, and was an Academic All-American, while McCreary has placed several gymnasts on the U.S. National Team during a distinguished 20-year coaching career at the club level.

The Future's So Bright: First-year head coach Joanne Bowers has already signed four outstanding preps to letters of intent for the 2007-08 academic year. Samantha (Sam) Wailor (Prior Lake, Minn./Thompson's Academy) is a six-time national qualifier and four-time Region 4 all-around champion, while Danielle Henderson (Visalia, Calif./Central Calif. Gymnastics Institute) is a Region 1 floor champion and a two-time Junior Olympics natiuonal qualifier. They'll be joined by two-time Junior Olympics national qualifier Haley Bogart (Woodside, Calif./Airborne Gymnastics) and Region 3 all-around runner-up Karen Cain (Kyle, Tex./Olympic Hill Gymnastics), who both boast impressive resumes as well.'They're exactly the kind of student-athletes any University would be proud to call their own,' Bowers says.

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