ASU gym Devils ready for Pac-10 Championships
This Week --
The No. 19 Gym Devils head back to Seattle for the second time this season to compete in the Pac-10 Championships this Saturday at 4 p.m. Coming off their season-best road score of the season at Missouri, the team looks to hit another strong road score before being selected for a regional.The Sun Devils, under 29th-year head coach John Spini, return six gymnasts to the squad. Although young, the Sun Devils look to compete in their 27th consecutive regional and make the NCAA Championships. Spini is currently ASU's longest-tenured head coach, and is second on the all-time Sun Devil head coaching list. Former Sun Devil women's tennis coaching legend Anne Pittman holds the distinction as the longest-tenured ASU head coach at 31 seasons. Spini's regular-season record is now 323-139-2. His won-loss record at home is 173-42-1.
ASU In The Rankings --
ASU jumped up four spots in the polls this week as they are now ranked 19th nationally. The Sun Devils are ranked 25th on floor and bars and are 24th on vault. After earning their best beam score of the season, the Sun Devils moved to No. 13 nationally on beam.
Scouting the Rest of the Pac --
The Sun Devils are currently fifth in the Pac-10 standings. Oregon State is ranked seventh nationally with an RQS of 196.530. UCLA is right behind the Beavers touting an RQS of 196.465 and Stanford stands at 10th nationally at 196.360. Arizona is currently 15th with an RQS of 195.695. Host Washington is 30th nationally with a team RQS of 194.525 while California stands at No. 47 (192.755).
Sun Devils on Television --
The Pac-10 Championships will be aired on Fox Sports Net Arizona via tape delay. Check your local listings for times.
Pac-10 Honored --
The Sun Devils have had several Pac-10 weekly honors this season. Ashlee Hinkle was named Pac-10 Event Specialist of the Week for the week of February 4th. Last week the Sun Devils swept the weekly awards, with Francesca Mercurio earning Pac-10 Gymnast of the Week and Tia Orlando being named Pac-10 Event Specialist of the Week.
Beaming Devils ---
The Sun Devils have shined on beam this season and are currently ranked 13th nationally. At Missouri last weekend, the Gym Devils had their best beam rotation of the year and finished with a season-high 49.25. Orlando led the way with a team-high 9.925 while Hinkle tied her career-high of 9.9.
Hittin' Hinkle --
Ashlee Hinkle has had a phenomenal junior campaign. The Glendale, Ariz., native has been one of the team's top scorers in her three events. Hinkle has yet to record a fall this season, going 33-33 in competition. Hinkle scored a team-high and career-high 9.95 on vault. This score is the highest score by a Sun Devil on any apparatus this season. The junior also had a career-best 9.875 on floor against Oregon State and again at Missouri. Hinkle also tied her best beam score of 9.9.
Fantastic Fran ---
Francesca Mercurio has had an extremely successful freshman campaign. The San Mateo, Calif., was honored for her accomplishments this past week by the Pac-10. Mercurio became the tenth Sun Devil to be named Pac-10 Gymnast of the Week. Mercurio earned the honor by winning her first all-around competition last week against Ohio State. Mercurio surpassed 39 for the first time and scored a career-best 39.250 in the event. She also had career-high marks on vault (9.875), beam (9.825) and floor (9.750).
Tia Orlando, who has come back strong after suffering a torn ACL last season, was named Pac-10 Event Specialist of the Week. She is the second Devil to receive the award this season. The Philly native has been primarily competing in two events this season and tried her hand in a third in the team's final home meet. The result was a success. Orlando had the best meet of her career against Ohio State as she hit two of her career bests and set a new one. Orlando placed first on bars by matching her career-high of 9.850. Orlando placed second on beam with a career-best 9.875. The highlight of the Orlando's night was her return to floor where she tied for first with a career-best 9.875. This was the first time Orlando has competed on floor since her freshman season. At Missouri, Orlando tallied the team's highest beam score of the season with a 9.925.
All Around Tiana--
Junior Tiana Jean earned her first all-around victory at Washington, scoring a 38.825. The Puyallup, Wash., native earned her best all-around score of 39.225 last week against Ohio State. Jean had career-highs on vault (9.750) and floor (9.875) against Oregon State. Against Arizona, Jean tied her career-best bars with a 9.875. In last week's tri-meet, the junior had a career-high 9.9 on beam. This is Tiana's first 9.9 score in any apparatus of her career. She tied that score the next week against Ohio State to win the event.
Keeping Up with the Jones' ---
Beaté Jones has proven to be a powerful force on vault and floor for the Sun Devils this season, as well as a solid all-arounder. Last week, Jones stuck a beautiful landing on vault to earn her first career 9.9. The powerful freshman also tied her career-high on floor for the third time, earning a 9.825. Jones also had career-best on beam (9.750) and in the all-around (39.075).
Stephanie Hangartner Signs Letter of Intent--
Stephanie Hangartner of Mesa, Ariz., has signed a letter of intent to study and compete at Arizona State starting in fall 2008. Hangartner will join the Sun Devils squad as a potential all-arounder. She was the 2005 State Champion in the all-around and was a Junior Olympic qualifier.