Husky athletics 101
By Alexis Mansanarez
The UW football team ended its 2015-16 season with a bowl win and a 7-6 record. Head coach Chris Petersen featured one of the nation’s youngest squads and made a star out of true freshman Jake Browning. Browning started and played in all but one game last season and carved his name into the UW all-time top-10 list in passing yards, passes attempted and completed, and passing efficacy. Joining Browning on the field this season is sophomore Myles Gaskin, an All-American and the first UW true freshman ever to rush for 100 yards in back-to-back games; junior John Ross, who is coming off a redshirt season due to an injury; and the fifth best recruiting class in the Pac- 12.
The Huskies began the 2015-16 season winning eight out of their first 10 games, and the brief winning streak brought the UW into a new year with high hopes. Though the Huskies were unable to make the NCAA tournament after finishing 19-15 overall and 9-9 in conference play, they competed in the National Invitation Tournament and advanced to the second round. At the end of last season, the UW said goodbye to senior Andrew Andrews and freshmen Dejounte Murray and Marquese Chriss. Andrews, who graduated in the fall, was the leading Pac-12 scorer, and both freshmen plan to enter the 2016 NBA Draft. With three of their best players gone, the Huskies will be looking forward to new talent from their recruiting class and returning players.
The UW women’s basketball team had the best season in program history. The Huskies made it all the way to the Final Four before a heartbreaking loss to Syracuse knocked them out of the NCAA tournament. After the postseason run, the UW lost Alexus Atchley, Mathilde Gilling, and Talia Walton to graduation. Walton would go on to enter the WNBA draft and become the highest drafted Husky after the Los Angeles Sparks used its third round, 29th pick. Despite the loss of the graduating class, the UW will enter the 2016-17 season with its leading scorer, junior Kelsey Plum, and leading rebounder, junior Chantel Osahor.
In the midst of its spring season, the UW baseball team is currently playing its best baseball yet, and has tied for second in the conference. The Huskies have been led by senior right-handed relief pitcher Troy Rallings. Rallings was recently named to the 2016 National Pitcher of the Year Watch List. He is tied for second in the Pac-12 with nine saves on the season and leads the conference with a 0.82 ERA. The UW has also had success on the plate, and ranks in the middle of the conference in batting average, slugging, and on-base percentages. The Huskies struggled last season, ending with a 29-25 record overall, but head coach Lindsay Meggs doesn’t shy away from success. He led the UW to one of its best seasons in school history in 2014 and hopes to repeat that this year.
The UW men’s soccer team is coming off a 8-5-6 overall record from the 2015-16 season. The Huskies anticipate a successful 2016-17 season after welcoming a strong signing class and the return of two members, who took gap years to play with the Sounders’ club team. The UW lost three of its top players to graduation as each were selected in the 2016 MLS SuperDraft. Since 2014, six Huskies have been selected in the SuperDraft. Despite the loss, the return of two of the UW’s top scorers in redshirt junior Beau Blanchard and sophomore Quentin Pearson should make for a promising 2016-17 season.
In head coach Keegan Cook’s three seasons with the Huskies, he helped lead the UW indoor volleyball team to its best seasons in school history. In his first two years as an assistant coach, Cook helped the Huskies advance to the 2013 Final Four, and earn the 2013 Pac-12 championship, the first since 2005. He was later named head coach of the beach volleyball program, which played its inaugural matches in April 2014. The following season, the Huskies recorded their longest winning streak in program history, starting the season 25-0. The UW ended the 2014-15 season 31-2 and made it to the Sweet Sixteen. Marking his first year as head coach of the volleyball program, Cook led the Huskies to first in the Pac-12 and second nationally with a .305 attack percentage.
The UW women’s soccer team found success after losing the season opener and won its next seven consecutive games. The Huskies are currently in the middle of a brief spring stint before heading into the offseason. The UW has been led by sophomores Shannon Simon and Kimberly Keever, who have a combined total of 13 goals. The Huskies will lose five to the graduating class, but the young team has produced 28 of the season’s 29 goals. The UW has struggled as of late, but with some improvements in the offseason, it should be a leader in the conference next season.
Both the UW men and women’s rowing teams are coming off highly successful seasons. The men ended their 2014-15 season as the Intercollegiate Rowing Association national champions in the varsity eight boat, and had first place finishes in the first, second, and third varsity eight races. In their current season, the Huskies have swept the field in the four opening home meets. The women ended their 2014-15 season placing fourth in the varsity eight race and third in the second varsity eight at the NCAA championships. The Huskies finished in the top three at every regular season event last year and have continued that streak so far in their current season.