SEATTLE – The University of Washington gymnastics program played host to the NCAA West Regional Championship Saturday and ended the night with a team score of 195.550. The top-two finishing teams of the night, No. 1 seed Alabama (197.550) and no. 2 seed Nebraska (196.975), will advance to NCAA Nationals April 18-20 in Birmingham, Ala.
Despite entering the competition as the six-seed, UW ended the night in fourth-place, only .075 behind the third-place finisher, no. 4-seed Denver. Their 195.550 ranked 21st out of the 36 teams that competed in all NCAA Regional competitions across the country on Saturday.
Both Washington all-arounders, senior Aliza Vaccher and sophomore Allison Northey, scored above a 39.000, Vaccher coming in at 39.075 and Northey at 39.200. Northey’s all-around finish marked the third time in as many weeks that the Sammamish, Wash. native scored at least a 39.200. She finished just out of national qualifying position, and head coach Joanne Bowers cannot wait to see what she has in her for her junior season.
“Allie was so great tonight, I’m really proud of her. We are so lucky to have her competing for us. I always forget that she is just a sophomore because we have come to count on these kinds of performances from her. I am thrilled she is going to be around for another two years,” Bowers said.
The GymDawgs started off on beam where they saw their second-highest event total of the season with a 48.875. The only meet where they scored higher was two weeks ago at Pac-12 Championships when both Northey and Jackie McCartin scored 9.900s.
“The rotation was a great start to the meet and really set the tone for us,” Bowers said.
Vaccher led the team on the event with a season-high tying 9.850. Janae Janik also hit a solid routine for a 9.800 in only her second meet back on the event since injuring her foot at Utah in February.
After a quick bye in the second rotation, UW moved to floor for the third. Junior Madison Podlucky and freshman Alexandra Yacalis both tallied 9.825s to lead the team to a total of 48.800 in the rotation. Northey once again had a solid performance with a score of 9.775.
Next up was vault, where the Huskies counted three scores of 9.800 or higher, including a beautiful team-leading vault from Northey for a 9.875. That score tied her career-high on the event.
Yacalis also had a great turn over the table and landed a 9.850, her second highest of the season. Vaccher finished out the line-up hitting a 9.800.
After one more bye rotation, the GymDawgs headed to bars to end the night. Freshman Kaitlyn Duranczyk started off with a stuck landing and a 9.750 as a great starting point for the line-up, and one that would end up being the lowest bar score the UW would see.
The highlight of the rotation, unsurprisingly, came from McCartin who led the team with a beautiful 9.850 routine. UW saw a pair of 9.800s from Northey and Janik as well as a pair of 9.775s from Vaccher and sophomore specialist Sheridan Metcalf.
This season marks the first time since 2009 that the GymDawgs will not send any individual competitors on to the National Championship.
“Even though we are disappointed, this meet and how are team pulled together was a great way to end this season after all the adversity we sent through to even make it here. For us to finish 4th when we came in as the six-seed really shows that our team and our talent is more than our scores showed this year,” Bowers continued.
“We are going to miss Aliza so much next season, but we feel that between our returners and the new group of freshmen we have coming that it could finally be our year. If we could end this season how we did, the sky is the limit next year,” she finished.