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GymDawgs Cap Season With Highest Regional Score Ever

Mar 31, 2022

SEATTLE – Washington Gymnastics poured everything it had into an excellent effort today at the NCAA Regional Championships at home at Alaska Airlines Arena, with UW posting its highest score ever at Regionals. The GymDawgs broke the 197-point mark for the second time this season, finishing a great foundational first year under Head Coach Jen Llewellyn.
"They literally did everything that we could have asked for," said Llewellyn, after the Huskies took third, barely getting edged out for the second advancing spot by 12th-seeded Michigan State.
"To end on empty and give everything that they had, every last routine that they had, and do it for each other and do it for this family. Just really proud of everything they did this year."
Washington finished with a final team score of 197.175, second only to a 197.275 that the GymDawgs scored at home on Feb. 21 against Utah. No. 5-seed Alabama scored 197.900 to win session one and advance to Saturday's Regional Final, also at Alaska Airlines Arena. The Huskies were second after each of the first three rotations, looking to outscore Michigan State for the second advancing spot, but the Spartans caught the Huskies on the final rotation, doing it with their sixth and final competitor on floor.
"It was such a nailbiter and it literally came down to their last floor routine," Llewellyn said. "So we went through all the emotions from happy to be here, then being in the running to move on to Saturday, to then feeling how we came so close. So it was hard to watch that last routine but I couldn't be more pleased with how this team executed."

Washington had at least a 49.250 or better on every event today, including a season-high 49.350 performance on vault. Every Husky in the lineup contributed, with sophomore Skylar Killough-Wilhelm stepping up huge with an all-around score of 39.550, winning the first session. Senior Amara Cunningham had a 9.925 on vault to take second overall.
Individual NCAA Championship qualifiers are determined based on today's scores from session one and two, with the top finisher on all four events and the all-around who is not part of an advancing team after the Regional finishes on Saturday.
"Super impressed with Skylar," said Coach Llewellyn. "She doesn't get a lot of numbers in the gym because she's got some aches and pains, but she shows up, and she hasn't stuck a vault like that all season, but she came to play and knew exactly what she had to do for herself and for the team. I'm blown away by her hunger and the innate competitive drive in her. Same with Amara, she's such a gamer, and it's so fun to watch those athletes compete. When the lights come on they know exactly what they need to do, they don't let the pressure or the fans or the other teams affect them. They just get in their flow state and execute."
Cunningham, who had the 9.925 on vault and a 9.900 on floor exercise, was thrilled with how far UW has come in the past year.
"I'm super proud of every single person on this team and I've told them that so many times tonight," Cunningham said. "After last season not even making Regionals, it's been an honor to compete with this team and these coaches and make it this far and get one of our season-highs this year, so it's been an amazing night."
While Coach Llewellyn hopes to see some Husky individuals making it to Fort Worth for Nationals, she was thrilled with how her first season leading the GymDawgs culminated today.
"The season surpassed all my expectations," she said. "Every single meet it felt like we kept trying to get a little bit better, and we rose to the occasion and it's tremendous see them be at their best on the highest stage of the season. Pac-12s they also rose to the occasion. So I think that's what's really exciting going into next year with our returners is that they are competitors and know how to compete when it matters most."
Brenna Brooks was the first Husky to take the Regionals stage, and she set the tone on balance beam with a steady 9.850. Lana Navarro followed with a 9.825 and then Taylor Russon kept the momentum going with a new career-high score of 9.850. Kennedi Davis got the third 9.850 of the rotation and then Skylar Killough-Wilhelm closed out another phenomenal beam routine with a stuck landing and a 9.900. Lauren Thomas wrapped up the rotation with a 9.775.
Put together the Huskies came away with an impressive 49.275, their seventh time this season going 49.250 or better on beam. Killough-Wilhelm scored at least a 9.900 for the eighth time this season.
For UW's second event, the Dawgs headed to floor, and Skylar Killough-Wilhelm led things off with a 9.850, matching the second-highest score of her season. Lana Navarro and Geneva Thompson each responded to the challenge with matching 9.800 scores.
Amara Cunningham hit a 9.900, right off her season-best of 9.925, and then Kennedi Davis landed a new career-high 9.900 for a clutch fifth score. Brenna Brooks rounded things out, competing on floor for the first time this season, and scoring a 9.725.
The Dawgs ran off the floor with a great 49.250, their third-highest score of the season.
Washington really came up huge on vault, as the six Dawgs combined to post a season-high team score of 49.350. Three Huskies tied or set new career-highs on the apparatus: Brenna Brooks, Skylar Killough-Wilhelm, and Amara Cunningham.
Kennedi Davis opened with a 9.775, just .025 off her season-best. Brenna Brooks got the first season-best as the second Husky vaulter, as she stuck her landing and saw a 9.850 posted.
Lana Navarro raced down the runway and flew to a 9.875 score, again just .025 off her season-best. Then Killough-Wilhelm got some major height off the vault and stuck the landing for a new career-high 9.900.
Amara Cunningham had the fourth-straight stuck landing and raced back to celebrate with the GymDawgs as she matched her career-high with a 9.925. Geneva Thompson then landed a 9.800, her tenth meet in a row scoring at least a 9.800 on vault.
Sitting in second entering the final rotation, the Huskies could only focus on themselves, and posting another score they could be proud of.
Once again, Killough-Wilhelm shined with a 9.900 to start things off. It was her fourth bars score of at least a 9.900 this season.
Then Taylor Russon followed with another 9.900, her second-best mark of the year. Brenna Brooks notched a 9.800 and then Geneva Thompson came down with a 9.850, the third time this season she's reached that score.
Lauren Thomas was fifth on the bars and earned herself a 9.750, and then Morgan Bowles closed it out with a 9.850, tied for her second-best of the season.
The Dawgs finished up with an impressive 49.300 on bars, their second-best score of the season.