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Gymnastics opens season at Lady Luck Invite

January 13, 2010

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The Arizona State women's gymnastics opens their 2010 campaign with a two-meet road stretch. The Sun Devils first head to the Lady Luck Invite in Las Vegas, Nev., for a quad-meet featuring No. 6 LSU, No. 16 Missouri and Kentucky. The Lady Luck will take place Friday, Jan. 15 at 6 pm PT. The team heads to Berkeley the next day to prepare for their Pac-10 opener against California. The Sun Devils will take on the Golden Bears on Sunday, Jan. 17 at 2 p.m. PT.

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
LSU, ranked sixth in the preseason, was a Super Six qualifier in 2009. They opened the season last weekend, defeating Maryland 194.375-190.625. Missouri also began the season with a win over Ohio State, as did Kentucky over Texas Women's Academy. Cal will open their season against the Sun Devils on Sunday.

Miss Mary
Look out for Mary Atkinson this season. The junior is expected to be a consistent all-arounder for the Sun Devils this year. Atkinson competed vault and floor last season and bars her freshman campaign but is also expected to do extremely well on beam. She currently boasts career-bests of 9.875 and 9.75 on floor and hit for a 9.825 on bars her freshman season. Look out for improvements on those scores this season.

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 could also make appearances in the beam lineups.

Jones out
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).

Shining senior
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 put up a 9.725 as a freshman.

Clever Devils
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 floor and beam, two events she excelled in as a gymnast.

Socialize with the Devils
Be sure to follow the Arizona State Gymnastics team on Facebook and Twitter! Links to both are on Inside information, trivia questions and videos are featured on the fan sites.

Next up
The Gym Devils will host Arizona in their home opener next Sunday. The meet begins at 2 p.m., Jan. 24th.