February 17, 2004
Hello Husky Fans:
This past Friday evenings competition was an exciting one. We were coming off a loss to Boise State, and we were trying to heal up some of our athletes. As I told you in my last diary it was hard to rest some athletes, but it definitely was worth the effort. We had much stronger team we put on the floor for this competition, but we still are not all the way to our full strength, and ability.
We started off on vault with team score of 49.2 which was only the third time this season we have been in the 49's. I thought that we would be struggling on vault as the day before Tacia LaBatte had quite a bit of difficulty still trying to come back from the flu which kept her from traveling the week before to Boise. I had not even put Tacia in the line up, and had planned to go with only five gymnasts, but in warm ups Tacia stepped up and said she thought she could vault. Well she did and received a 9.925. I was pleased, but I was elated when the next vaulter, Kelly McDonald just hammered her vault. It was picture perfect, and the fans went crazy when the score came up. A perfect 10.00. I have told Kelly all preseason that she was going to get a 10.00 this year, and I am sure that it won't be her last.
We moved to the bars where we are the fifth ranked team in the US. The Huskies performed up to their ranking with Molly Seaman scoring a 9.900, and Kelly almost pulling off another 10.00 with a near perfect 9.975. Emily Pritchard came up to the bars and rocked her set nailing her dismount. Again the fans went wild as Emily's score was flashed, another Husky 10.00 which keeps Emily ranked No. 1 in the nation on the uneven bars, and the only gymnast this season to score a perfect 10.00 on bars. Needless to say I was very happy, and we were on a roll as we accumulated a 49.475 team score.
We now went to beam. As many of you know beam usually wins or loses a competition for a team. Our first athlete up fell, and I am sure that everyone on the team felt the pressure kick up a notch, yet they did not falter, and ended up with a 49.050 led by Molly Seaman's 9.950.
Then on to the floor. Kelly McDonald has had a sore heel (inflamed bursa) since last season, so we are resting her once in a while to make sure that she is ready to go for the post season. We were ahead of ASU by over two points, so I moved Kelly to the sixth spot on floor and told her that if the first five women hit I would not have her compete as I could tell that her heel was hurting. The women were doing great on floor and our fifth gymnast up was Carly Dockendorf.
For those of you who have never seen Carly's routine she does an Arabian double front in her first pass, and this one was one of the best. It was at least 8' high and stuck. She has a unique routine that fits her well (good job Heidi - choreographer). Well when Carly was done once again a perfect 10.00 was flashed. I was so caught up in the fact that for the first time in Husky history we had scored three 10.00's in one competition.
Just about this time I looked over and I saw Kelly walk out onto the floor to begin her routine. I took a step towards the floor to stop her routine, but the music started and she was on her way. She had an excellent routine and scored a near perfect 9.975. Her heel was sore, but she came through to score the highest All-Around score in Husky history, a 39.825 V-10.00, UB-9.975, BB-9.875, FX-9.975. All in all it was a night to remember. We had won the competition 197.325 to ASU's 193.075.
Earlier Friday morning Heidi, Frank and I sat down to discuss the team's direction for the remainder of the season. After the ASU competition we would be exactly half way through our regular season. We felt that our gymnasts were where they needed to be physically, but we wanted to give them a mental break. So Monday morning being a holiday from school we had the team come in for a team meeting at 10:00 am. We talked about where we were and where we were trying to go, and at the end of the meeting I announced that were not having workouts. Instead we were going to a team lunch, at Subway, and then we were going to a movie.
We went to see Disney's new movie called "Miracle". It's a true story about the 1980 Winter Olympic hockey team winning the gold metal against all odds that the Russians should have won. I remember watching that game against the Russians live on ABC, and in the final seconds Al Michaels saying "do you believe in miracles?" The movie was very inspirational, motivating, and gave an interesting look at team dynamics and coaching. I think the team enjoyed the break for a day. It was funny as we walked into the theater a man sitting there said "great job Friday night, I was there". Small world.
We are now ranked 16th, and we leave Thursday for Tucson to take on the 15th ranked Arizona Wildcats. I hope you all notice that I didn't mention golf once in this letter, even though Frank and I went Wednesday and it was a perfect 10.00 of a day.