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Gymnastics heads to Arkansas for NCAA Regional

April 01, 2009

The Arizona State women's gymnastics team ventures to Arkansas this week for their 28th consecutive NCAA Regional. The Sun Devils earned a sixth seed at the South Central Regional, held in Fayetteville, Ark. The Sun Devils will be joined by No. 4 Stanford, No. 10 Arkansas, No. 16 Michigan, No. 25 Arizona and Southern Utah. 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 18th on beam. Nicole Harris cracked the top 10 in the beam rankings, positioning herself at eighth. Beate Jones is currently 17th on vault.

Two of the Pac-10's Finest
Nicole Harris and Beate Jones were each honored for their superb performances throughout the season by the Pac-10. Jones was named to the Pac-10's first-team on on the all-around. Jones has scored a 39.4 in the all-around this season and has been one of ASU's most improved athletes. Harris garnered conference honors on beam. Harris has shined on beam throughout the season and is currently ranked eighth on the event.

Clever Devils
The Sun Devils had three athletes recognized for their success in the classroom by the Pac-10 this past season. Harris, Brittany Schuett and Mary Atkinson were named to the Pac-10 All-Academic team. With a 4.04, Schuett had the highest GPA in the conference. Harris and Schuett received first-team honors, while Atkinson gathered second-team honors. It was the first time since 2005 a Sun Devil had been named to the Pac-10 All-Academic First-Team.

Shining Senior
Tiana Jean sparkled in her final competition at Wells Fargo Arena. The senior performed a nearly flawless beam routine, earning a career-best 9.95 to win the event. Jean followed up her beam performance with a 9.9 floor routine. In addition, she tallied a solid 9.8 on bars. Jean's beam set was rewarded as Pac-10 Special Performance of the Week.

All-Around Nicole
Nicole Harris has been the team's most consistent all-arounder this season. Harris, who was a 2006 All-American on beam, earned season-best scores of 9.875 on vault and 9.925 on beam in her final meet in Tempe.

Sun Devil Sparkplug
Truly developing into a leader, Beate Jones has been one of the team's most consistent gymnasts this season. Jones leads the team with the highest score on vault (9.925) 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 9.9 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.

Beaming Devils
Over the years, the Arizona State gymnastics team has been known as one of the top beam teams in the country. At the UNO's Classic, the Sun Devils scored a 49.35 on beam. The Devils went one, two, three on the event as Jean and Jones earned career-bests and Harris tied her season best. Only eight other teams have scored a 49.35 or more on beam 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.

Injury Update
All-around Francesca Mercurio will be out for the second-straight meet with mono. The Sun Devils lost two gymnasts for the season before the year even began. Due to non-gymnastics-related injuries, the Sun Devils will be without the services of senior Ashlee Hinkle and transfer Madison Snowden for the year. Snowden is expected to compete next season while Hinkle has retired from gymnastics and moved to an undergraduate assistant coach position.