Gymnastics Season Preview: Floor
Jan. 5, 2012
SEATTLE - This season, the floor exercise will continue to be one of the most fun and entertaining events for both fans and the gymnasts themselves. The team has suffered several injuries, taking away some of the depth they've had in years past, but those who are healthy enough to compete on floor will give fans a show and compete at a higher level than ever before.
"This will be a fun event for our fans because of the great music and dance choreography," head coach Joanne Bowers said. "[However,] we do not have as much depth on this event as we would like due to a rash of ankle injuries."
"Two [stand outs] that have been healthy and able to do their routines on the floor consistently are [freshman] McKenzie [Fechter] and [senior] Ruby [Engreitz]."
Engreitz (Kirkland, Wash.) competed on floor during all 12 meets last season, leading the team twice in the event. She posted a team-best score of 9.775 on floor at Utah as well as versus Michigan State with a score of 9.850, tying her career high.
Fechter (Mequon, Wis.) placed fourth on floor exercise at the 2009 Kansas State meet and is proving to be a standout on floor exercise early in her Husky career.
"Ruby added a 2/1 back to the end of her routine and [McKenzie] leads off with an E pass that will help with our difficulty level," Bowers said.
Junior Phoebe Tham (North Vancouver, B.C., Canada) has only previously competed on floor a handful of times, but has been working hard on her floor routine and will prove to be a big help to the team on this event, especially with a number of injuries affecting the team. She scored a career-high 9.750 on the floor versus SPU in the final home meet of her freshman season.
"Phoebe has also added a 2/1 back to the end of her floor routine and should definitely be in our lineup this year," Bowers said.
"Others that are showing great potential and will see time in the lineup are [senior] Amanda [Cline], [juniors] Lauren [Rogers], Kylie [Sharp], and Paige [Bixler], [who is a] great dancer, and [freshman] Madison [Podlucky]."
Cline (Aurora, Colo.) has seen some past success on floor, achieving a record-high of 9.725 in a Quad Meet during her sophomore year, helping the Huskies finish in their strongest event that day. She set a prior career-high in the event at the Pac-10 Championships her freshman year, the first all-around competition of her collegiate career.
Rogers (Plains, Pa.) led the team on floor once last season with a 9.825 at ASU, competing on floor in eight meets total on the year. She recorded a 9.750 on floor at the Pac-10 Championships her freshman year and set her career-high at the Regional Championships, scoring a 9.850 to tie for 11th on the floor.
Sharp (Herriman, Utah) competed on floor for the first time in her career last season and posted an impressive, career-high 9.825 at home vs. Cal, placing third in the meet.
Bixler (Rowlett, Texas) posted a career-high 9.850 on the floor vs. Michigan State last season, winning the event. She competed on floor in all meets except the season opener, posting several other impressive scores, including a 9.800 third place finish at SPU.
Podlucky (Redmond, Wash.) was the 2010 Washington State Champion, a two-time JO Nationals qualifier, and placed second in the all-around at Regionals.
Bowers adds, "Depending on how fast they can return from injuries, freshman Jaclyn [McCartin], sophomore Aliza [Vaccher], junior Megan [Whitney], and senior Hatsune [Akaogi] could all add a great deal to our scoring potential."
McCartin (West Covina, Calif.) was an Elite Qualifier, placing first in the all-around at the Nastia Liukin Supergirl Cup during the 2010 Elite Season. She also finished second on floor as the 2009 Level 10 JO National Champion.
Vaccher (Eugene, Ore.) tied a career-high 9.800 on the floor at NCAA Nationals last year as a freshman, tying for 22nd on the event. She also scored 9.800 at NCAA Regionals, leading the team in the event.
Whitney (Mesa, Ariz.) has not yet competed on floor at Washington, setting her career-high 9.625 while competing at Utah her freshman season.
Akaogi (Cupertino, Calif.) returns to the team from a medical redshirt junior year, but competed in the all-around in every meet except one during her sophomore season. She scored a career-high 9.825, winning her third all-around of the season, during her sophomore year against Arizona. She has also scored 9.775 on floor several times, including versus Nebraska and Oregon State last season.
Bowers concludes, "This event will depend on how healthy we are during the season. We could be very strong if we can get some key people back and keep others healthy."
The team will begin regular season competition Friday at Michigan State at 3:30 pm.