Tailback Myles Gaskin is the third UW player to eclipse 1,000 rushing yards in three different seasons, after Napoleon Kaufman and Chris Polk. Gaskin holds the program record for career rushing touchdowns.
Husky Athletics 101
By Josh Kirshenbaum
The 2017 season proved that 2016 wasn’t a flash in the pan; head coach Chris Petersen had created a program built to last on the shores of Lake Washington. Culminating in the Huskies’ second straight trip to a New Year’s Six bowl, last season included plenty of broken records, a last-second win, and the fifth straight victory in the Apple Cup. Going into 2018, the Dawgs bring back the dynamic duo of quarterback Jake Browning and tailback Myles Gaskin, both back for their fourth and final years in the purple and gold. Washington also returns most of its offensive line and a stacked secondary on defense and brings in one of the top recruiting classes on the West Coast. This should be another fun year for Washington football.
After going 9-22 and losing its head coach and nearly all of its recruiting class, the future looked bleak for the UW. But with Mike Hopkins at the helm, the Dawgs engineered one of the best turnarounds in recent memory. Employing a 2-3 zone that Hopkins brought from Syracuse, the Huskies baffled opposing offenses, forcing more turnovers than any team in the Pac-12 and averaging over eight steals per game. Washington punctuated its nonconference season with a road upset over No. 2 Kansas, and then went on to earn another top-10 win, taking down No. 9 Arizona in front of a packed Hec Ed on Dominic Green’s last-second three-pointer. Washington reached 20 wins for the first time since 2012 and reached the second round of the NIT, and with nearly everyone coming back, they’re definitely still on the upswing.
After losing its top six leading scorers, including the No. 1 pick in the WNBA draft, Kelsey Plum, and its head coach, Mike Neighbors, it was never going to be easy for the UW in 2017. And in the first year of the Jody Wynn era, the Huskies had a rebuilding year, going 1-17 in Pac-12 play. One blazingly bright spot for the UW came in the form of sophomore Amber Melgoza, who emerged to become one of the best pure scorers in the conference, averaging over 20 points in Pac-12 play en route to all-Pac-12 honors. Like the men, nearly everybody will return in 2018-19, and with a year of experience under their belt, the Huskies will hope to be looking up come winter.
Washington got off to a fast start in 2018, with Joe DeMers pitching the first perfect game in program history in the Dawgs’ first home game of the season. From there, the UW has continued to put up solid performances. For the second year in a row, the Huskies took a game from the No. 1 Oregon State, this time handing the Beavers their first conference loss of the season. After losing most of their power hitters following the 2017 season and dealing with multiple injuries to key pieces early in the year, the Huskies have given multiple freshmen significant experience, including Jonathan Schiffer, Kaiser Weiss, and Braiden Ward in the field and Dylan Lamb and Stevie Emanuels out of the bullpen.
Bringing back nearly every piece from the 2017 team that reached the semifinals of the Women’s College World Series, it was clear that the 2018 Huskies were going to be special. And they’ve delivered. Junior ace Taran Alvelo was joined by Australian freshman Gabbie Plain, and the two pitchers combined to form one of the deadliest one-two punches in the circle that Montlake has ever seen. Washington will have to replace key pieces in the field, including power hitters Kirstyn Thomas, Julia DePonte, and Taylor Van Zee, and speedsters Kelly Burdick and Trysten Melhart, but all signs point to the Huskies reloading, not rebuilding, in 2019.
Last season ended early for the Huskies, as the UW was upset in the second round of the NCAA Tournament by Illinois. Despite losing five starters going into this season, the Dawgs still return a fair amount of talent from last year. Lauren Sanders will be back after earning freshman all-Pac-12 honors for her second year, Kara Bajema had a good season and probably move into the starting lineup, along with plenty of other key pieces and fresh talent coming in this year. Come the fall, head coach Keegan Cook’s squad will be in the mix to make some noise in the Pac-12 and beyond.
There’s a reason they call Washington “Rowing U.” Both the men’s and women’s crews dominated throughout their 2017 season, with the women winning all but two collegiate races (not regattas, races) the entire year and sweeping the NCAA championships. The men nearly did the same, sweeping the Pac-12 Championships and winning the Ten Eyck Memorial Trophy at IRA championships. The 2018 season has seen similar results on both sides, with the Huskies taking eight of 10 races at the annual Cal Duel against Berkeley at Redwood Shores in California.
Washington reached the National Championships for the first time in nearly two decades in 2017, and in 2018, nothing less would do. The Huskies got better as the season went on, recording a season-high 197.400 in a home meet against UC Davis and Seattle Pacific to reach as high as No. 8 in the national ranks. The Dawgs went to University Park for regionals and finished second to seal another trip to St. Louis for the National Championships, where they finished fifth in their group with a score of 196.250.