GymDawgs Set To Make Fourth Consecutive Regional Appearance
April 6, 2010
NCAA Regionals - Salt Lake Region
Saturday, April 10, 2010 - 5 p.m. PT
Huntsman Center - Salt Lake City, UT
Teams: No. 4 Florida, No. 10 Utah, No. 16 Auburn, No. 19 Boise State, No. 22 Denver
The No. 23 Washington gymnastics team heads to Salt Lake City, Utah, for the 2010 NCAA Regionals at the Huntsman Center on the campus of the University of Utah on Saturday, April 10 at 5 p.m. PT. The Huskies are making their fourth consecutive NCAA Regional appearance since missing out for the first time in school history prior to Joanne Bowers' arrival in Seattle. Since she was hired, she has taken UW to the Regionals every year, including a fifth-place finish last year in the Seattle Regional.
UW is one of 36 teams around the country invited to the NCAA postseason, with six Regionals featuring six teams in each. UW will be joined by No. 4 Florida, No. 10 and host Utah, No. 16 Auburn, No. 19 Boise State and No. 22 Denver in Salt Lake. The Huskies are one six Pac-10 teams to advance to the NCAAs. The top two teams and top two all-around competitors (who are not on an advancing team) from each regional will receive an automatic berth to the national championships in Gainesville, Florida, April 22-24, hosted by the University of Florida.
Live results and live video will be available for the event via the official Salt Lake Regional championship central website. The link can be found at www.utahutes.cstv.com as well as via the gymnastics schedule page on GoHuskies.com.
The Huskies finished fifth at the Pac-10 Championships behind four nationally ranked teams, including conference champion and No. 2 ranked UCLA, No. 6 Stanford, No. 8 Oregon State and No. 21 Arizona, which had a strong meet in front of their home crowd. The Huskies were led by Kristen Linton, who had a spectacular meet, leading the Dawgs on all three events she competed in. She placed in the top 10 in two events, including an eighth-place finish on beam with a 9.825 and a ninth-place finish on bars with a 9.800. She also scored a 9.775 on floor to lead the Huskies. Amanda Cline led the Dawgs on vault with a 9.800, an event where the Huskies had their most success on the night, scoring 48.825.
Huskies in the Rankings
The Huskies head into postseason as the nation's 23rd-ranked team. They have been in the top 25 every week since they had a qualifying RQS score back in early March. UW reached a high RQS of No. 21 heading into Pac-10s last week before Arizona leap-frogged over the Huskies.
The Huskies also rank in the top 25 on bars, coming in at No. 21. They rank highly on beam as well, coming in at No. 26, along with ranking 30th on floor and 33rd on vault. UW opened the season in the top-25 for the first time since 2006, debuting in at No. 25.
The Huskies have faced one of the toughest schedules in the country, competing against five teams currently in the nation's top-10, including two of the top three. UW opened with five straight meets against top-12 teams, including No. 12 Nebraska, No. 3 UCLA, No. 8 Oregon State, No. 10 Utah and No. 6 Stanford.
After facing then-No. 24 ASU, UW got a one-week break from ranked opponents at home against Cal, before picking back up with the tough competition against No. 9 Arkansas. The Huskies finished the regular season on the road against No. 21 Arizona, No. 2 Oklahoma and SPU, reaching season highs in two of the three meets.
About the Huskies
UW came into the season ranked 25th, returning eight competitors from last year's squad that finished fourth at the Pac-10 Championships, the Huskies' best finish in six years. UW also advanced to the NCAA West Regionals for the third time in head coach Joanne Bowers' three-year tenure, helping the coach earn West Region Coach of the Year honors.
UW has been led by returning All-Pac-10 performer Hatsune Akaogi, who owns three all-around wins this year. Juniors Samantha Walior, a First Team All-Pac-10 pick on floor last year who leads UW with seven event wins in 2010, Haley Bogart and Kristen Linton have also been solid for a very young team that has no seniors.
Scouting the Competition
The Salt Lake City Regional is the toughest from top to bottom and the only region with all six teams ranked in the top 25. The field includes No. 4 Florida, No. 10 Utah, No. 16 Auburn, No. 18 Southern Utah, No. 19 Boise State, No. 22 Denver and No. 23 Washington. The two favorites to come out of the Salt Lake City Regional are the No. 4 Florida Gators and the No. 10 Utah Utes, the host team.
Florida (15-2) is on a roll after wininng the Southeastern Conference title last week, their seventh overall and first since 2007, edging defending champion and No. 1-ranked Alabama. Utah (11-3), meanwhile, is seeded No. 2 in its region for the first time since 2007, when they placed second at the NCAA Championships. The Utes are attempting to qualify for a record 29th-consecutive NCAA Championships and is the only program to qualify for the first 28 to date. They own 10 gymnastics national championships (9 NCAA) and have placed in the top three at the last five NCAA Championships.
Out in Droves
Utah set a new NCAA attendance record this season by averaging 14,213 fans to its home meets. The 14,213 average crowd in the Huntsman Center (which seats 15,000), broke Utah's previous NCAA record of 13,861 set just a year ago. Not only did Utah set a new gymnastics attendance record this year, the Utes also became the first non-basketball team ever to win an NCAA women's season attendance title.
The fourth junior on the Husky squad, Karen Cain, may as well be a senior as she decided recently to forego her senior year and graduate in just three years to join the Teach for America program. Cain, who was named First Team Pac-10 All-Academic last week for the second straight season, currently carries a 3.82 grade-point average while majoring in Political Science.
Cain has played a key role in the Huskies recent success in the gym as well, tying a career-high with a 9.775 on vault at No. 2 Oklahoma recently and putting up a season-high 9.725 on floor against No. 9 Arkansas. She had a solid meet at the Pac-10 Championships, scoring a 9.700 on vault and filling in nicely for Hatsune Akaogi on floor with a 9.625.
The Huskies had a late surge over the last month of the season, recording their five best overall team scores over a six-week stretch, including a season-high three weeks ago at No. 2 Oklahoma. The Huskies also posted season bests on all four events, earning at least a 49.000 three times on bars and floor and twice on vault. While they haven't broken the 49.00 barrier on beam yet, they have reached their season high (48.850) three times over the last six weeks.
Things started clicking for UW in a home meet against Arizona State when they posted their first score of 195.000 or better despite a narrow loss to the Sun Devils. In that meet, the Huskies also recorded their first event scores of 49.000 or better, earning a 49.000 on vault and a 49.025 on floor. The next week, UW topped their best team score in a win over Cal, registering a 195.625 and also reached season bests on bars (49.025) and beam (48.850) in the victory. The Huskies then topped themselves again at No. 19 Arizona, earning a 195.675 and recording their season high on bars with a 49.050. The Huskies equaled season highs on vault, beam and floor three weeks ago in setting a team high again with a 195.800 at No. 2 Oklahoma, their best since a 196.000 last season in a win over Oregon State. UW wrapped up the regular season with season highs on bars (49.075) and floor (49.100) in a win at Seattle Pacific.