GymDawgs Welcome Three In 2021 Class
SEATTLE - The Washington GymDawgs will welcome three newcomers to the program, with all three set to enroll for the 2022 season. Lana Navarro, Ashley Blum, and Leah Smith will all be freshmen beginning in the 2021-22 school year at Washington.
"We couldn't be more exited for Ashley, Lana, and Leah to officially become GymDawgs," said Ralph Rosso. "This is a very well-rounded group; they are at the top of their game in the classroom and in the community. Their talents have no bounds and they are certainly no stranger to competitive accomplishments. With the program's recent successes, we anticipate this trio to have an immediate impact, contributing to our goals of vying for Pac-12 championships, NCAA Regionals championships and the ultimate goal of a national championship."
A local product, Blum has excelled during her gymnastics career. In 2019, she won the JO Nationals championship on beam and finished in the nation's top 20 in four events. She won a Region 2 championship on bars, finished second on all-around, and finished third on beam before that JO Nationals trip. Blum won three Regionals championships in 2018, on beam, floor, and all-around, and finished in the top three on vault and bars.
"Ashley is homegrown and we can't wait for her to put on the purple and gold," said Rosso. "She will be an all-arounder and she has tremendous power on floor and vault, unique skills on bars and has a natural elegance to her beam."
"I chose Washington because of the motivating and positive atmosphere, as well as the inspiring team dynamics," said Blum. "I am most excited about becoming a part of a new team and working together to accomplish greatness!"
Navarro has also distinguished herself on the national stage. She finished second on floor and all-around at 2019 Regionals. At that year's JO Nationals, she finished in the nation's top ten on bars, beam, and all-around. Navarro also competed at 2017 JO Nationals: she finished fifth in the nation on vault and top 15 on bars, beam, and all-around that year.
"Lana is steady and always consistent and we will rely on that cool, calm California demeanor," said Rosso of another all-arounder. "Fans should come to expect a powerful 10.0 vault, original skills on beam, explosive floor, and strong bars. "
Navarro chose Washington because of "how welcoming and hardworking the team and coaches are, and everything the university has to offer academically in order for me to succeeed after gymnastics."
Smith comes to Washington with a pedigree of excellence. She has won five Texas championships in the last two years, including two on vault and two on floor. She also has earned Regionals championships, earning floor, beam, and all-around championships in 2019 and a vault championship in 2018. In 2019, Smith finished fifth in the country on vault and seventh on beam at JO Nationals.
"Leah's one of the most dynamic athletes in the country, and what makes her special is her competitiveness and humility," said Rosso. "As an all-arounder, she has high flying bars, a 10.0 vault, consistent beam, and crowd-pleasing tumbling."
Smith was excited about the family atmosphere at Washington, saying that "the girls on the team and the coaches were so candid and welcoming I could see myself being very happy at this university. I am so excited to go out and compete for Washington with such an amazing group of girls."
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