Washington Gymnasts Head to Nebraska for Regionals
April 5, 2001
This Week: The 15th-ranked Washington women's gymnastics team (16-9-1) will compete at the NCAA South Central Regional at the University of Nebraska for a chance to qualify for the 2001 NCAA Championships. The six-team event will be held April 7 at 7 p.m. CST at Nebraska's Devaney Sports Center. Penn State, Oklahoma, Arizona and Illinois State will join the Huskies and Cornhuskers.
Championship Format: Six teams, five all-around competitors (who are not on a qualifying team) and one individual event specialist per event [who has a minimum qualifying score (RQS) of 9.4] were named to each of the six regions. The top two teams and the top two all-around competitors (who are not on an advancing team) from each regional will receive an automatic berth to the national championships in Athens, Georgia, April 19-21, hosted by the University of Georgia. In addition, the event winners at the regional championships who score at least a 9.8 may advance to the national championships (in that event only) if they are not part of a qualifying team or the all-around qualifiers.
Last Year's Regionals: Washington placed fourth at the 2000 NCAA West Regional Championship held at Oregon State. The Huskies scored 195.250. Eventual national champion UCLA won the regional with a score of 197.025 while Oregon State received the second bid for the NCAA Championships with a score of 196.175. Stanford was third with a score of 195.975. Husky senior Lauren Riesenman placed seventh in the all-around (39.075) to qualify for the NCAAs as an at-large competitor. The Huskies' top event finishes were a pair of ties by Lanna Apisukh and Leah Waaramaki on bars (9.750) and by Riesenman and Tiffany Simpson on floor (9.875).
Regional History: This year's appearance will mark the 20th consecutive season Washington has advanced to NCAA Regional competition. The Huskies' best showing on the regional level came in 1998 when Washington, while serving as host for the event, won the team championship with a score of 196.150. The Huskies have recorded second-place finishes in 1987 and 1997.
If They Qualify: If Washington places first or second at the NCAA Regional, the Huskies will advance to the NCAA Championships for the sixth time in school history and the third time in the past five years. Washington placed seventh at the 1998 NCAA Championships and was eighth in 1997. The Huskies have been represented by an individual competitor at the NCAAs every season since 1982.
Rotation Order: Here is the order of competition for Saturday's regional championship:
West Region North Central Region Central Region UCLA Univ. of Utah Univ. of Alabama 1. UCLA 1. Utah 1. Alabama 2. Brigham Young 2. Iowa State 2. Arizona State 3. Oregon State 3. West Virginia 3. Minnesota 4. California 4. Denver 4. Kent State 5. Boise State 5. Utah State 5. Ohio State 6. Cal St. Fullerton 6. Air Force 6. Kentucky Northeast Region Southeast Region Univ. of Michigan Univ. of Florida 1. Stanford 1. Georgia 2. Michigan 2. Florida 3. LSU 3. Iowa 4. New Hampshire 4. Maryland 5. Massachusetts 5. George Washington 6. Rhode Island 6. North Carolina StateThe Rankings: Washington jumped to No. 15 in the latest GymInfo Collegiate Rankings following a school-record performance at the Pac-10 Championships. The Huskies scored 197.475 to place third at the conference meet. Washington's current RQS score is 195.960. The Huskies are ranked sixth in the national polls on vault with an RQS of 49.165. Washington is ranked 15th nationally in floor exercise with an RQS of 49.280. The Huskies are 18th in the nation on balance beam with an RQS of 48.950. Nebraska tops the regional field with an overall national ranking of No. 3. Penn State is ranked 10th, Oklahoma is ranked 19th, Arizona is ranked 23rd and Illinois State is 25th. Individual Standings: Washington junior Stacy Wong is the only Husky ranked in this week's polls. Wong is ranked 24th this week in the all-around with an RQS of 39.310 and 15th on bars with an RQS of 9.920.
Pac-10 Review: Washington used a school record score (197.475) to place third at the Pac-10 Championships to equal its previous best finish at the meet. The sixth-ranked Stanford Cardinal upset top-ranked UCLA to win the title with a score of 197.850. UCLA, the two-time defending Pac-10 Champions, scored 197.800. Stanford's score was the highest ever at the Pac-10 Championship meet. Oregon State placed fourth with 196.550 points followed by Arizona State (195.725), Arizona (195.525) and California (193.750). The Huskies were led by junior Stacy Wong, who won the bars with a score of 9.975 and finished second in the all-around by setting a school record score of 39.725. During the meet the Huskies recorded a school record score of 49.550 on bars and tied their all-time mark on floor with a score of 49.500.
Pac-10 Presence: All seven Pac-10 teams will be competing at NCAA Regionals this week. Stanford (Northeast) and UCLA (West) are top seeds in their respective regions. Six of the seven Pac-10 teams are currently ranked in the top-25 of the GymInfo poll. UCLA holds down the top spot in the nation while Stanford is sixth, Arizona State is ninth, Oregon State is 13th, Washington is 15th and Arizona is 23rd.
Levesque on the Regionals: "I feel very good about where our team is right now. We are certainly capable of going in and earning a spot to the NCAAs. The team is really on a high after performing so well at the Pac-10 Championships. We will have a couple of gymnasts back at full strength, although we will not have Jessica Schedler. Her knee will not hold up on her landings, so she will have to sit this meet out. The key for us will to keep our focus and finish all of our routines. We have been fortunate this year to have some falls that did not hurt us too much. We need to be very clean at regionals. We cannot afford to beat ourselves."
Apisukh Vaults into Exclusive 10-Club: If you were to ask Husky senior Lanna Apisukh if she could guess what would be her highest scoring event this season, she probably would not pick the vault. Ironically, that is the event that landed her in the Husky record book when she nailed a perfect 10.000 performance at Oregon State's Invitational on March 17. Entering the meet, Apisukh had a career high score of 9.900 on vault and her previous best score this season was a 9.875 the previous week at Boise State. Apisukh becomes just the second Husky to earn a 10 on vault and only the fifth UW gymnast to ever record a perfect score. She joins classmate Mandi Klug, who scored a 10 on floor this year against Utah and Western Michigan. They become the first Husky duo to record 10s in the same season. Klara Kudilkova is the only other Washington gymnast to score a 10 on vault. She recorded her perfect score during the 1996 Pac-10 Championships, that were also held in Corvallis.
Klug Joins Elite Company: When Husky senior Mandi Klug scored a 10.000 on floor exercise against Utah and Western Michigan on March 4, she became just the fourth Husky gymnast to ever record a perfect routine. Stacy Connolly was the first UW competitor to post a 10.000 when she did it during the 1993 season on uneven bars. Klara Kudilkova did it next with a perfect score on vault in 1996 at the Pac-10 Championships at Oregon State. Tiffany Simpson recorded three 10 scores on floor exercise during her career. Like Klug, her last came during her final home meet as a senior.
Wong Topples AA Mark Again: Washington junior Stacy Wong reset the Husky all-around record for the second time this season when she scored 39.725 to place second at the Pac-10 Championships. Wong won the conference bars title with a career-best score of 9.975 and then equaled her all-time mark of 9.900 on floor to help set the school record. Won also had scores of 9.950 on vault and 9.900 on beam. Earlier in the season, in a home meet with Oregon State, Wong scored 39.700 in the all-around. That performance included career high scores of 9.950 on vault, 9.900 on beam and 9.900 on floor and a 9.950 on bars. That effort broke Jamie Stauffer old school record of 39.675 she set in 1997. She currently leads the Huskies with 14 event victories this year. She has won the bars competition six times this season.
Pritchard Busts Loose: Washington freshman Emily Pritchard is having one of the best first seasons in the Husky program's history. In her last outing at the Pac-10 Championships, she set her career high score in the all-around with a 39.500 performance. She equaled her season best scores on bars (9.925), beam 99.850) and floor (9.825) while also scoring 9.900 on vault. Here is where Pritchard stacks up against the other top freshmen all-arounders who have competed at Washington in recent years:
The Freshman Factor: Washington's seven-member freshman class has been significant contributors towards the Huskies success this season. All seven have competed in meets this year and five have posted scores of 9.900 or better in competition. Emily Pritchard, who has topped the 39.000 mark in the all-around five times this season, heads up the class. She has posted scores of 9.900 or better on vault (9.950), and bars (9.925). Molly Seaman, who competes on vault, beam and floor, has turned in a pair of 9.900 performances on floor and a 9.900 on beam. Kim Claussen, a bars specialist, has one 9.900 on the event. Tanya Powers scored a 9.900 on vault at Oregon State and Daniela Medlin scored 9.900 on bars at the Pac-10 Championships. Pritchard is the only member of the class to record an event victory this year. She took top honors on beam in the first home dual meet of the season.
Injury Story: The Huskies do not expect to have senior Jessica Schedler in the lineup for the NCAA Regionals. She strained a knee during warmups for the vault competition at Oregon State on March 15. Washington will be without junior Allison Bruce during the 2001 season. Bruce suffered a preseason Achilles tendon injury that will force her to miss the entire season.