It’s obvious watching Kristyn Hoffa that she has a blast performing floor routines for the Washington women’s gymnastics team.
And no wonder, because meet after meet the fifth-year senior is nearly perfect in the event. Last week, she received the Pac-12 Coach’s Choice Award for the first time in her career after a 9.925 score against Arizona State, her fifth straight score of at least 9.90 in floor. Her average of 9.910 is on pace to be the best in school history.
But there is more than that to her love of floor routines.
“I love showing off to people,” said Hoffa, who will help lead the No. 13 Huskies against No. 4 Utah in a dual meet at Alaska Airlines Arena at 2 p.m. Sunday. “I love showing off my skills, and I am a really good tumbler because my coaches at club have brought me up with really sound gymnastics.”
Hoffa, from San Marcos, California, competed for a club a half-hour away. Her mother would drive her every day, then wait while Hoffa trained for six hours before bringing her home.
“I was grateful then, but I am way more grateful now,” Hoffa said.
Hoffa, 5 feet 3, said she came to Washington because of the family atmosphere. The program has been on a rise since Hoffa came to UW, but success wasn’t immediate for her. That’s because she was forced to redshirt her first year after one of three surgeries she has had on her wrist. Her next season was cut short when she tore her ACL.
Hoffa returned, becoming one of the team’s top performers in floor exercise and the vault. Her wrist, which might require another surgery after the season, makes it impossible for her to compete on the bars, and “beam I am not the best at.”
Still, she makes a big impact in two events. She had a 9.975 in floor against California last month, the highest score for a Husky in that event since 2007.
“Going into a meet, I want to do a 10.0-quality routine,” she said. “So no matter if they give me that score or not, I want to feel good about the routine that I did. I am really confident in floor, just because I have been doing it so long. Floor is just my event. I have so much fun and I think it shows.”
Her teammates also see it, and she has been a team captain the past two seasons.
“She is fire, and she brings energy into the gym every day,” said Chad Wiest, UW’s co-acting coach while coach Elise Ray-Statz is on maternity leave. “Her work ethic is unmatched. She comes in every day, fired up and ready to go. … She leads by example and by her voice.”
Washington is 4-0-1 in conference dual meets this year, with the biggest win being the program’s first ever at UCLA and its first overall against the Bruins since 2012.
UCLA, the two-time defending Pac-12 champion, was ranked No. 3 in the country entering that meet. Hoffa was huge in the win, scoring a 9.95 in floor and scoring a season-high 9.875 on the vault, tied for the team best that day.
The vault though, is a distant second in her preference.
“The vault is done in five seconds; that’s it, that’s your spotlight for the day,” Hoffa said.
The spotlight on the team will get bigger soon, with the Pac-12 championships on March 21, and the NCAA regionals and NCAA championships in April. UW’s best finish in the Pac-12 championships is third, and its best ever in the NCAA championships is eighth.
“We want to win the Pac-12 championship, we want to be a top-two seed going into regionals and we want to go to nationals — not just make it to nationals, but compete at nationals and give every other team a run for their money,” Hoffa said. “We can do it, 100 percent, because this team works their butts off every day at practice.”
Hoffa makes sure of that.
“She is just a rare individual,” Wiest said. “She puts the work in and just goes out there and competes.”