SEATTLE – Washington Gymnastics hosted its season opener Monday night against the pre-season-14th-ranked Minnesota Golden Gophers. Despite coming in behind the Gophers 196.350-195.025, the GymDawgs scored higher than ever before in a first meet with Joanne Bowers at the helm.
“This is a good starting point for us,” Bowers said. “We know we are going to go up from here. Tonight was about working out some of the jitters and nervous energy especially out of the freshman. It is really great to have topped our previous opening scores, but we are ready to get back out and show what else we can do.”
The team was led by its lone senior Aliza Vaccher who tallied an all-around score of 39.250, highlighted by a 9.850 performance on the uneven bars. A 9.825 on vault, a 9.750 on beam and a 9.825 rounded out the Eugene native’s scoresheet.
“Aliza starting out the season with an all-around score over 39 is fantastic. We are so excited to see where she goes in her senior season, we really think it is going to be amazing,” said Bowers of Vaccher.
Allison Northey and Janae Janik were the other two all-arounders for UW, scoring 39.200 and 38.950 respectively.
“Our all-arounders were great tonight. They are showing amazing potential early on, and we know they are only going to get better,” Bowers said.
Northey put up a 9.800 on bars and a 9.850 on beam, which tied her personal high. Her hard work on floor showed when she led of the line-up with a performance that earner a 9.775, which tied her career best on the event. She earned a 9.775 on vault, as well.
Janik was the standout freshman of the meet, setting an exciting precedent for the rest of her season. She scored a 9.875, which led the team, on her first beam routine as a GymDawg adding extra depth to a beam line-up from last year that only lost one competitor from last year.
Even though the team performed exceptionally well for a season opener, they already have their eyes focused on improving and taking on the next challenge.
“I’m kind of excited that we were all a little disappointed in the score tonight. That really meant to me that our expectations for this season are even higher than ever.
We had a great score for the first meet of the year, but we see those girls every day and we know what they can do. So while we are pleased, we know that we are nowhere near our peak, and that’s the goal. We hope to show that on Saturday.” Bowers concluded.
The team will take to the floor of Alaska Airlines Arena again on Saturday Jan. 18, this time for a quad-meet hosting Arizona State, San Jose State and UC-Davis. The meet beings at 4:00 p.m., with live coverage at gohuskies.com and twitter.com/uwgymnastics.