Gym Devils set to host Utah
The No. 26 Arizona State women's gymnastics team hosts its long-time rival No. 4 Utah this Friday at 7:30 p.m. MT at Wells Fargo Arena. The Sun Devils are currently 1-5 while the Utes are 3-1.
Fans can track the meet online at www.thesundevils.com as well as on our Twitter and Facebook pages. Live scores and some commentary will be provided.
30 years of Spini
Arizona State University's longest currently tenured coach, John Spini, has entered his 30th year of coaching. In his 30 years at ASU, Spini has sent his Sun Devil teams to 20 NCAA Championships and has had at least one Sun Devil represent ASU at the NCAA Championships 24 out of 28 seasons. He has coached 26 All-Americans for a total of 80 All-American accolades. Six women have won individual NCAA titles under Spini. Additionally, nine of Spini's Sun Devil squads have finished in the top five at the NCAA Championships, including four teams (1983, 1985, 1986, 1997) who were runner-up. The Sun Devils have qualified for an NCAA regional each of the seasons Spini has been the ASU gymnastics skipper.
Scouting the Competition
The Sun Devils and Utah have had a long rivalry. The Utes hold the edge with a series record of 59-16-1. The Sun Devils are 8-11-1 against the Utes at home. Utah is currently fourth in the nation with a scoring average of 195.956. They are 13th on vault, seventh on bars, third on beam, and sixth on floor. Four Utes are ranked in the all-around: Daria Bijak (14th), Kyndal Robarts (17th), Stephanie McAllister (20th) and Jamie Deetscreek (21st). On vault, Robarts is currently sixth. Deetscreek and Bijak are tied for 17th on bars and Annie DiLuzio (14th) and Robarts (17th) are ranked on beam. Additionally DiLuzio (fourth) and Bijak (eighth) are in the Top 25 on floor.
Mary Atkinson showed the gymnastics world what she is made of as she tied for first in the all-around, shattering her previous career-best by tallying a 39.450 against Arizona. She crushed her all-time best on bars after performing a near perfect routine of 9.950. Atkinson also shined on vault with a career-best of 9.9 and tallied yet another personal high score of 9.775 on beam. She is currently ranked 20th on vault and 10th on bars.
New kids on the block
The Gym Devils 2010 roster is full of new additions to the team. Three freshmen look to make an immediate impact as will at least one transfer. Nickie Johnson and Christina Salavec are both training in the all around. Amelia Rew, who just came to the team this month, is looking to be in the vault and potentially beam lineups. Freshman walk-on Jordyn McIntyre is working hard for a spot on the bars lineup. Another newcomer who will contribute significantly this season for the Gym Devils is sophomore transfer Amanda Davies who has been steady in the team's intrasquads this preseason. Carly McMahon was in the vault lineup at UCLA.
We're cuckoo for Kahoku
Kahoku Palafox has emerged into quite the gymnast for the Gym Devils. Palafox, who has been a starter on bars since her first meet of her freshman season, nailed her bar routine last week against Arizona to tie for second with a career-best 9.9. She has also been in the beam lineup for the Gym Devils every meet this season and earned a career-best 9.775 to help lead the team to its best score of the season.
After two years of being one of the team's top beam and bar-workers, Kaitlynn Bormann could be in the vault lineup this season. Despite not competing it since her freshman season, Bormann topped her previous career-high on vault by nailing it for a 9.8. She tied that score last week against Arizona. She also earned a team-high 9.825 on beam.
Three of the Gym Devils freshmen were given spots in the lineup over the weekend. Nickie Johnson competed on three events (Vault, Bars, Floor) at both meets while Christina Salavec performed on floor and beam. Amelia Rew also competed on vault. Johnson has earned scores of 9.825 on both bars and floor. Salavec has the team's second-highest beam score with a 9.775 and has also scored a career-best 9.75. She has yet to miss a routine.
Brittany Schuett had the highest grade point average in the conference last season with a 4.04 in speech and hearing. For her achievements in the classroom, she was named to the Pac-10 All-Academic First-Team. Mary Atkinson earned Second-Team recognition from the conference. Both Atkinson and freshman Amelia Rew are both members of the prestigious Barrett Honors College here at ASU and are bioscience majors.
Re-introducing Kari Ward –
Former ASU gymnast Kari Ward has joined the Sun Devils' staff as an assistant coach this season. Ward was a standout gymnast for the Sun Devils during 2002-2005. She was a three-time Pac-10 All-Academic First-Team selection. Her main responsibilities will be floor and beam, two events she excelled in as a gymnast.
Beate Jones, who was the Sun Devils' top all-arounder last season, is out indefinitely with a Lisfranc injury that occurred during preseason. Jones achieved career-highs last season on V (9.925), UB (9.825), BB (9.9), FX (9.9) and in the all-around (39.4).
Socialize with the Devils
Be sure to follow the Arizona State Gymnastics team on Facebook and Twitter! Links to both are on www.thesundevils.com. Inside information, trivia questions and videos are featured on the fan sites.
The Gym Devils will head to the Pacific Northwest to compete against Washington on Saturday, February 13.