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GymDawgs To Open Season Versus No. 14 Minnesota
Release: 01/10/2014
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SEATTLE – The University of Washington no. 20 women’s gymnastics team is set to open their 2014 season on Monday night at 7:00 pm when they host the 14th-ranked Minnesota Golden Gophers at Alaska Airlines Arena.

After very narrowly missing out on nationals for the past three seasons, the GymDawgs’ goal this year is getting to that next level. Minnesota was able to get there last year and head coach Joanne Bowers is looking forward to starting off this season with such a strong but equal opponent.

“I love these kinds of meets, where you are so equal that whatever happens that day is going to determine who wins. Every landing, every little step, going out of bounds, all of that could make the difference between who wins and loses. Those are the most exciting meets, and I’m glad we get to start off with one of those meets against such a quality opponent,” Bowers said.

The meet is the second in a one-and-one deal with the Gophers that saw the Huskies travel to Minneapolis to open last year’s season, where they fell 195.550-193.500.

Leading the charge for UW will be senior Aliza Vaccher and sophomore Allison Northey who will both compete all-around on Monday.

Vaccher’s contributions, however, are going to go much past how she performs at the meet. “Aliza as our only senior has been very steady this fall. In all of the opportunities we had over the fall to put the girls in pressure situations, like the intrasquad and in-gym competitions, as a senior she’s one who has stepped up and done a great job leading us, and she will continue to do so all season, starting on Monday. I’m really excited for that.”

Northey’s floor routine will be a relatively new one to the Husky line-up, but it has quickly become one of the strongest and will serve as the lead off performance on the event.

The stellar junior class will also make a strong showing on Monday, with Jackie McCartin competing everywhere but vault and both McKenzie Fechter and Madison Podlucky will each perform twice.

“Jackie’s bars and beam have always been beautiful, but this fall she’s gotten more consistent. The detail work that she’s put in has been phenomenal,” said Bowers, “Maddie and Mack have both been coming back from injuries and putting in so much time and work to get back to the level they are at now. Maddie will bring such power and grace on vault and floor that I really think the sky is the limit for her this season. With Mack, she could not be more excited to get back in competition. When she’s performing she is completely in her element.”

The other sophomore, Sheridan Metcalf, will be limited to bars on Monday because of back trouble, but that won’t be the case for much longer. “Sher came back this year in phenomenal shape looking absolutely sharp on all four events, but because of some back issues that she’s been having, she will only be competing on bars Monday, but we cannot wait to get her back into the line-ups in some of the other events.”

Out of the six newcomers to the team, four will compete on Monday. Faith Morrison will be the lead off vaulter for the Huskies and Jessica Nesis will also be competing on vault.

Janae Janik and Alexandra Yacalis will each be competing in three events both bringing different strengths to the team. “Janae is going to compete everything except vault for us on Monday night. She is just beautiful to watch on every event. She is really starting to compete under pressure better, and she just keeps improving week after week,” Bowers said. “Alex is our power kid. She’s going to show some big difficulty tumbling and vaults, which will be huge for us. She has worked so hard on so much of the details and her mental game. I would be surprised if she wasn’t competing all-around for us by the end of the year.”

Kaitlyn Duranczyk has been in and out over the fall with knee issues, but will be an exhibition performer on floor exercise on Monday night. Stephanie Stowe is out for the season after an ACL tear.

“I’m very proud of this team and I am so excited to see what we can do this year. We’re little but we’re mighty,” Bowers closed.

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