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Gymnastics heads to NCAA Regional

April 07, 2010

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The Arizona State University women's gymnastics team will head off to Westwood for the NCAA West Regional Championship. Hosted by UCLA, the Sun Devils will compete at Pauley Pavilion at 6 p.m. on Saturday, April 10. Live results and video streaming will be provided by UCLA. The top two teams at the regional will advance to the NCAA Championships, as will the top two all-arounders from non-advancing teams.

Did you know?
The ASU women's gymnastics team is one of the few schools to have qualified for an NCAA Regional 29 out of the 29 years. They have won three in history, with the most recent being in 2006, and have advanced to the NCAA Championships as a team 19 times.

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 earned a six seed at the West Regional. Joining ASU will be No. 1 seed and host UCLA, No. 2 seed Arkansas, No. 3 seed Iowa State, No. 4 seed Arizona and No. 5 seed BYU. The Sun Devils have faced UCLA, Arizona and BYU this season.

Miss Mary
The consistency Mary Atkinson has shown in the all-around throughout the season was awarded recently by the Pac-10. The junior was named a Second-Team All-Pac-10 All-Arounder. After being a two event athlete her first two season, Atkinson has emerged into one of the nation's top all-arounders this season. Against Utah, the junior combined a career-best 39.5 thanks to three career-highs on vault (9.9), beam (9.8) and floor (9.9). She has been incredibly consistent on vault this season as she has scored her career-high of 9.9 four times this season. Bars and floor have also been strong events for Atkinson as she has garnered team-high 9.95 on bars and has been the team's top floorworker this season. She has been consistently improving on beam this season and is the team's anchor in the event. In all, Atkinson has won the all-around four times, floor six times, vault five times and bars twice this season.

Clever Devils
For the second straight season, junior Brittany Schuett owned the highest GPA of the conference. With a 4.0 as a double major in speech and hearing science and psychology, Schuett was selected as a member of the Pac-10 All-Academic First-Team. Joining Schuett on the First-Team were Aktinson and Kahoku Palafox. Sophomore Callie Price was named Second-Team while Kaitlynn Bormann and Kelly Reilly received honorable mention.

New kids on the block
The Gym Devils 2010 roster is full of new additions to the team. Six newcomers have already made the lineups this season. Nickie Johnson and Christina Salavec are both training in the all around. Madison Snowden has also been a powerful force on the floor and has been in the beam lineup several times this season. Carly McMahon earned a career-best 9.825 on vault at Washington. 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. Amanda Davies, a transfer from Ball State, has competed on floor and vault sporadically this season.

Hey Nickie
Freshman Nicole Johnson made her first appearance in the all-around last week. The native of Indianapolis has been in lineup each week for bars and floor and has recently came back to the vault lineup. One of the team's top floor-workers, she has tallied a score of 9.9. Johnson has also earned career-highs of 9.85 and 9.825 on vault and bars respectively. She earned a 9.725 on beam in an exhibition earlier in the season.

Injury update
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). Freshman Christina Salavec, who looked to be one of the team's most promising beam and floor-workers, suffered a toe injury that held her out for several months. She returned to the beam lineup for the Pac-10 Championships.

Next up
The team awaits regional seeding to determine where they are heading for the NCAA Regional.