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Gym Devils to battle longtime rival Utah

March 04, 2009

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Coming off their second win of the season, the Arizona State women's gymnastics team (2-5, 2-4) heads to national powerhouse and longtime rival No. 2 Utah. The meet takes place this Friday, March 6, at 7 p.m. MT. Head Coach John 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.

ASU in the Rankings
Although the Sun Devils are out of the top 25 this week, they are currently 24th on bars and beam. Nicole Harris checks in at 19th in the all-around and 16th on beam.

Scouting the Utes
National power Utah is currently ranked No. 2 in the rankings. Utah is No. 1 on floor, No. 2 on vault, No. 2 on bars and No. 7 on beam. Kristina Baskett is ranked second in the all-around, vault and on bars. Baskett is also eight on floor. Nina Kim (10th AA, 6th BB), Daria Bijak (5th UB), Annie DiLuzio (8th FX) and Gael Mackie (11th UB) are all also ranked.

All-Around Nicole
When Nicole Harris rejoined the team in the fall, she stated that she wanted to put up a solid score in every event for her team. She has done just that. The senior has hit nearly every event, only missing a floor routine in which she tweaked her shoulder in the middle of the routine. With her 9.925 on beam last week, Harris holds the highest score in any event from a Sun Devil this season.

Sun Devil Sparkplug
Truly developing into a leader, Beaté Jones has been one of the team's most consistent gymnasts this season. Jones leads the team with the highest score on vault (9.9) and floor (9.9). She has gathered more scores of 9.9 than anyone else on the team this season. Jones has also improved drastically on bars and beam this season, earning career-best of 9.825 on bars and 9.8 on beam.

Way to "Be"
After tallying a career-best 39.4 in the all-around against Washington, Jones was named Pac-10 Gymnast of the Week. Jones displayed her consistency, power and spunk to win vault, floor and ultimately the all-around against the Huskies. In addition to her event wins, Jones also recorded a career-best 9.825 on bars and tied her personal standard on beam with a 9.8.

Tiana Time
Tiana Jean has been proven to be one of the team's best floor and beam-workers this season. With career-high scores of 9.9 in both events, anytime Jean hops on the beam or takes the floor, one can expect a beautiful performance and solid score.

Fantastic Fran
Francesca Mercurio enters her sophomore season after a fabulous freshman one. Mercurio became the tenth Sun Devil to be named Pac-10 Gymnast of the Week. Mercurio earned the honor by earning her first all-around win against Ohio State. Mercurio finished her freshman campaign with career-high marks of 39.250 in the all-around, 9.875 on vault, 9.825 on bars and beam, and 9.750 on floor. Mercurio has competed in the all-around twice this season but has consistently been in the bars, beam and floor lineup.

Beaming Devils
Over the years, te Arizona State gymnastics team has often been regarded as one of the best beam teams in the country. Despite struggling some earlier in the season, the Sun Devils scored a season-best 49.2 against Washington. With Harris' 9.925, the Sun Devils won beam for the first time this season.

Setting the Bar
Despite struggling with bars all last season and the beginning of this one, Kaitlynn Bormann has been one of the top bar-workers for the team after hitting her career-high against California. Bormann, along with fellow New Yorker Harris, currently holds the team's highest bar mark of the season with a 9.875.

Miss Mary
After coming off shoulder surgery, Mary Atkinson has fought to become one of the Sun Devils consistent gymnasts. Atkinson has been solid on vault all season, earning a career-best of 9.825 earlier the year. Atkinson has also been working hard to be a constent in the floor lineup and is trying to make the bars rotation as well. She exhibitioned bars last week, recording a 9.8.