Seniors Kristyn Hoffa, Monica Riley, and Malory Rose entered a program on the rise four years ago when they started their freshman year at Washington. In their sophomore year, Elise Ray-Statz took the reigns and, two championship runs later, they’re finishing up their final season with Washington.
After joining a growing program, the three seniors have echoed that growth in their own gymnastics.
“These four years have definitely been a journey and everyone grows so much in these four years,” Riley said. “Knowing where I started, and over the years I’ve learned so much more how to compete and how to be mentally strong and mentally prepared to compete.”
Riley had a breakout season last year, becoming Washington’s bars ace, and has competed all-around for the Huskies three times in her senior season, most recently on Friday night when the Huskies hosted Sac State and Iowa.
“It feels good to know that the coaches trust me to do all-around,” she said. “I want to be there for the team in any way I can.”
Riley’s success this season has gone beyond bars.
“She was the reason that we went four sticks on vault last weekend, she started that,” Ray-Statz said. “Her confidence is only building. Monica is known for her determination, she certainly brings that and it’s contagious to the team. We’re feeling it from her, and it’s motivating everybody.”
It’s been a rocky road to senior year. Hoffa and Riley missed their freshman seasons with injuries, and in their sophomore season Hoffa suffered a season-ending injury mid-season. In their junior season, Rose missed the first five meets of the year.
This is the first year the three seniors have competed together for a full season.
But this season isn’t injury free either. Rather than having to forego her senior season, Rose is competing with a torn meniscus.
“I made the decision that I wanted to just wait until after season to get it fixed and just keep pushing,” she said. “We modify some things in the gym just so that it’s good for competition.”
Rose has competed only on beam for her entire career with Washington, and went 17 straight meets in the leadoff position before moving further into the lineup two meets ago.
“Just to see her succeed so well on beam, especially in that leadoff position for so long, we all have total trust in her when she competes and we know that when she goes she’s gonna hit,” Riley said. “I think the team’s really going to miss having that rock on beam.”
Rose hasn’t been the most consistent this season due to her knee injury, but she’s finally settling into her routine toward the end of the end of the season, scoring a 9.875 Friday night.
Things are finally coming together for Hoffa right at the end of her senior season as well. She’s wanted to compete a full-in, a full-twisting double back with the twist in the first flip, since her freshman year, but injuries have held her back.
She finally added it into her floor routine on Friday and scored a career high 9.925.
“Just to see her wanting to get better with only a few weeks left in her gymnastics career is so incredible to see,” Riley said.
Everything may be coming together in the close of their careers, but there’s still several key meets ahead for Washington and this senior class. These last two home meets will be important for improving the UW’s National Qualifying Score (NQS) and possibly give them a better seed for regionals. Then comes regionals, super regionals, and, they hope, the National Championship.
“Though it’ll be an emotional night on a lot of levels, we have a lot of season left,” Ray-Statz said. “So hopefully that’s in their minds, to say goodbye to Alaska Airlines Arena but lots more ahead.”
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