Husky Athletics 101
By Alexis Mansanarez
The Washington football team had a historic ending to its 2016 season, making its first College Football Playoff appearance ever. Head coach Chris Petersen was at the helm as he led sophomore quarterback Jake Browning and the rest of the Huskies to a 12-2 record. As the team now looks toward another season in hopes of finishing at the top of the conference, they will do so with a new and improved all-star cast. Five Huskies from the 2016 roster will go on to play in the NFL, leaving room for players like Taylor Rapp, who earned Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year honors, to make a mark on the revitalized Pacific Northwest powerhouse. Fans will see some familiar faces on Alaska Airlines Field at Husky Stadium. Wide receiver Dante Pettis will play his final year in purple and gold, as will linebackers Azeem Victor and Keishawn Bierria.
The Huskies will look a lot different come winter 2018. Not only because some notable players will no longer be with the team and some familiar recruits have committed elsewhere, but especially because after 15 years, the Lorenzo Romar era is over. The men’s basketball team suffered through a 9-22 season even with the No. 1 player in the country. With Markelle Fultz now gone and a new head coach in Mike Hopkins, Washington will start a new era. Hopkins joins the band of coaches at the UW after 22 seasons at Syracuse. In his time with the Orange, he made it to the postseason all but one year. The Huskies are hoping to have similar success but have a long way to go.
The men’s basketball team isn’t the only team getting a makeover. The women will also welcome a new head coach as the players said goodbye to Mike Neighbors and welcome Jody Wynn. However, Wynn will be working with a new crop of players. Kelsey Plum, whose resume could take up pages, finished her senior year at Washington in the 2016-17 season as the highest scoring player in NCAA women’s history while playing in Alaska Airlines Arena. Along with Plum, Chantel Osahor, Katie Collier, and Heather Corral also left due to graduation. The young roster will have big shoes to fill, but Wynn has 20 years of experience under her belt and is surely up for the challenge.
In the midst of its spring season, the UW baseball team is rising to the top of the conference. The Huskies have been led by the nation’s No. 1 defense and two power hitters who sit at the top of their lineup. Catcher Joey Morgan is completing his third season at Washington and has been toted as one of the best catchers in the nation. Opposite of him stands junior Noah Bremer, the UW’s most dangerous weapon in the bullpen. Bremer has the second best ERA on the pitching staff a little more than halfway through the season, and is a reliable starter and closer Friday nights. While the defense will surely impress, head coach Lindsay Meggs has a dynamic duo with Morgan and MJ Hubbs at-bat. Entering the latter part of the season, the Huskies will hope to continue to climb up the standings before postseason play begins.
The UW men’s soccer team is coming off a 14-7 overall record from the 2016-17 season. The Huskies have already began their spring play and have gotten used to the absence of some of their top players. The UW lost three of its top players to the 2017 MLS SuperDraft. Since 2014, nine Huskies have been selected in the SuperDraft. Despite the loss, the UW’s young roster holds a lot of talent — like sophomore midfielder Handwalla Bwana — and will continue to impress come fall.
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 saw the Huskies record 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 second year as head coach of the volleyball program, Cook led the Huskies to first in the Pac-12 for the second consecutive year. Washington finished the 2016-17 season 29-5 overall and 16-4 in conference play.
The UW women’s soccer team ended the 2016-17 year with a losing record after a tough conference schedule. Similar to the men’s team, the Huskies are currently in the middle of a brief spring stint before heading into the offseason. The UW has been led by senior Shannon Simon and Kimberly Keever, who have a combined total of 25 goals. The Huskies will lose nine to the graduating class, but returning talent have the skill to transition into the new season with ease. 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 2015-16 season as the Intercollegiate Rowing Association national champions in the freshman eight and the varsity four. In their current season, the Huskies have swept the field and won all the races in the four consecutive regattas. The women ended their 2015-16 season placing fifth overall at the NCAA championships. The Huskies finished in the top three at every regular season event last year but were unable to keep up that streak this season.