GymDawgs Will Open Season With Tri-Meet In Corvallis
SEATTLE – With the Collegiate Challenge getting canceled due to five out of six of the competing teams dropping out due to COVID-19 developments, the new season opener for Washington Gymnastics is set for Saturday, January 15 in Corvallis, OR.
Along with the Huskies, this tri-meet will feature Oregon State and No. 9 San Jose State. Boise State was originally also supposed to attend before they had to remove themselves due to COIVD-19 developments.
This first meet for the GymDawgs is an opportunity to set the tone for the season with new head coach, Jen Llewellyn. Llewellyn is confident in her squad this season and ready for them to take the mat.
"The team's biggest focus this week, with it being the first meet of the season and given that last year was very different, is just to enjoy the moment," said Llewellyn. "We have had a really productive and successful pre-season, so I think they are ready to get out on the competition floor and show the country who Washington Gymnastics is. They just want to exude joy and really have fun."
Some key gymnasts to watch out for this season include seniors Amara Cunningham, Geneva Thompson, and Brenna Brooks. Cunningham will build off a strong junior year where she will compete on floor and vault.
"Amara is super steady and consistent," said Llewellyn. "She is the same person every single day in the gym, so I'm excited to see her in the competition arena for her senior year and really shine."
Thompson is competing on floor, vault, and bars for the GymDawgs this season. As a fifth-year senior, she will be relied upon as a leader on this young team.
"Geneva is returning and we are super excited about that," said Llewellyn. "She is always a performer and such a great competitor, a big name for Washington Gymnastics."
Brooks, after battling an injury all last season, is ready to be back on the mat for her final season as a GymDawg.
For the juniors, Morgan Bowles will add depth on bars and beam while Isa Weiss will compete in floor exercise. Red-shirt junior Kennedi Davis, a transfer from Arizona, will also be an integral part of the Husky squad this season. Davis will be competing on vault, beam, and floor for Washington.
"Kennedi has been a huge addition to our line-ups and depth so we are excited to have her join our program," Llewellyn said.
The Dawgs have a strong sophomore class consisting of Cathy Eksteen, Skylar Killough-Wilhelm, Taylor Russon, Lauren Thomas, and Gabi Wickman.
Killough- Wilhelm will be a gymnast to watch this season as an all-around competitor. Her scores on bars were consistently high last year and with hard training in the off-season, she will be a force to be reckoned with.
"Skylar is on all four events and she had a great freshman year last year so we are excited to see her grow this season," said Llewellyn.
Finally, to round out the UW Gymnastics 2022 roster, the GymDawgs have three new freshman, Ashley Blum, Deiah Moody, and Lana Navarro.
"All three of our freshmen are really talented," Llewellyn said. "They have a lot of very unique routines, so we are excited for them to get collegiate level experience."
Overall, the GymDawgs are looking forward to an action-packed season ahead and the ability to have fans back in the arena to cheer them on.
"We are very excited to be back in the arena with fans," said Llewellyn. "When we had the Purple and Gold Exhibition it was a whole new experience for a lot of them. They forgot what it was like to have friends and family there, but it made them feel really good and special to have that support system in person. It just helps to make the atmosphere and environment that much more exciting."
Make sure to follow the GymDawgs on Twitter with the username @UWGymnastics and on Instagram at uwgymnastics.