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Gymnastics ready for Pac-10 Championships

March 18, 2009

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The Arizona State women's gymnastics team heads to the Pac-10 Championships. Coming off their season-high 196, the Sun Devils aim to earn one more high score before the Regional seedings. The Pac-10 Championships will be held this Saturday at 5 p.m. in Stanford, Calif. 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 21st on beam. Nicole Harris checks in at 24h in the all-around and 16th on beam. Beate Jones is just out of the top 25 on vault at 26th.

Scouting the Competition
Three of the nation's top 10 schools are in the Pac-10. Stanford leads the conference with a third place standing while UCLA is seventh and Oregon State 10th. Arizona is also ranked at 19th.

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.

Fantastic Fran
Francesca Mercurio had a solid night at last week's UNO's Classic. The sophomore tabbed career-bests on both beam and floor. Mercurio secured a 9.85 on beam to tie for fifth and followed up with a 9.8 floor performance.

Beaming Devils
Over the years, the Arizona State gymnastics team has been known as one of the top beam teams in the country. Last week 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.

Out for the Season
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.