Washington Gymnastics Sign Four to National Letters of Intent

Nov. 20, 2007

Seattle, Wash. - Second-year head coach Joanne Bowers announced today the signing of four gymnasts to national letters-of-intent. Lauren Eller (Newcastle, Calif.), Hatsune 'Hats' Akaogi (Cupertino, Calif.), Amanda Cline (Aurora, Colo.) and Ruby Engreitz (Kirkland, Wash.) will arrive next fall as members of the University of Washington Class of 2012.

'We are very excited about this class,' said Bowers. 'All four of these young women are exceptional gymnasts, people and students. They are going to add so much to our program and they are going to help us take the next step to competing on the national level. Lauren, Hats, Amanda and Ruby are all strong all-arounders - they each have a couple events they're strongest on, but all four will be able to help us right away because they can compete on all four events. Another thing that's great about them is that they've all had success at high level meets and they're used to competing and doing well. They also come from great gyms, so they'll arrive on campus with great basics and technique.'

Lauren Eller will come to UW from Byers Gymnastics Center Sacramento where she is coached by Eli and Debbie Rodriguez. The daughter of DeeDee and David, Eller is a three-time NorCal State Champion. In 2007, she also claimed the Region I title on bars and finished second in the all-around. She placed seventh at the 2007 Junior Olympic Nationals, taking first on floor and fifth on vault. In 2006, she claimed the NorCal and Region I all-around titles and went on to take ninth at the J.O. Nationals with a second-place showing on bars and a seventh-place finish on floor. Eller will graduate from Del Oro High School this spring.

'I chose the University of Washington because it is the complete package as far as what I want in a college experience: excellent academics, school spirit, traditions, and athletics,' said Eller. 'I really like the strong and supportive coaching staff and the great team as well as the beautiful location.'

Hats Akaogi trains at Airborne Gymnastics under Justin Howell, Liz Crandell and Mel Ruggiero. The daughter of Kayoko and Takao, Akaogi attends Monta Vista High School. Akaogi was sidelined from competition last year as she recovered from an injury, but in 2006 she captured the Region I vault championship and qualified for the Junior Olympic Nationals, where she took 12th on vault and 15th in the all-around. In 2005, she trained with the USA Elite Development Program and competed in the Japan Junior National Championships. Akaogi also captured the Level 10 NorCal State all-around championship and was a Level 10 Region I qualifier.

Amanda Cline will join the GymDawgs from the Colorado Gymnastics Institute where she is coached by Lindy Franzini and Vinicio Leira. The daughter of Deb and Ed, Cline will graduate from Cherokee Trail High School in 2008. She competed at the Junior Olympic Level 10 Nationals in 2007, taking fifth in the all-around, second on beam and sixth on floor. Cline also qualified for the Level 10 Nationals in 2006.

Ruby Engreitz will not travel far to reach Seattle, as the Kirkland-native trains at Leading Edge South under coach Tony Ammons. The daughter of Rita Reitz and Angus Ng, Engreitz attends Inglemoor High School. In 2007, she place eighth in the all-around, fifth on floor and seventh on bars at the Junior Olympic Level 10 Nationals. Engreitz also qualified for Nationals in 2006.

'This class was highly recruited and we're thrilled that they chose to come to the University of Washington to help us rebuild our program,' added Bowers. 'It means a lot to us that rebuilding our program is also one of their goals.'

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