No. 15 gym Devils head to Seattle for Pac-10 meet against Washington
This Week --
After three home meets, the Sun Devils hit the road to compete against Pac-10 foe Washington. Although 1-6, the Sun Devils have been consistently improving throughout the season. The Sun Devils, under 29th-year head coach John Spini, return six gymnasts to the squad. Although young, the Sun Devils look to compete in their 27th consecutive regional and make the NCAA Championships. 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. Spini's regular-season record is now 320-135-2. His won-loss record at home is 171-38-1.
UW History --
Arizona State leads the all-time series with Washington 40-14-0. The Sun Devils lead in regular season meets (19-7) and in post-season competition (21-7). The Gym Devils are 12-1 in Wells Fargo Arena and are 3-6 in Seattle. Last season the Sun Devils defeated the Huskies in the regular season dual meet 196.525-194.450 but fell at Pac-10's 194.775-194.550.
Scouting UW --
Washington is just out of the top 25 ranked at 26th this week with an RQS of 192.910. The Huskies are ranked 20th on beam with an RQS of 48.180. Ashley Houghting is ranked 22nd on vault with an RQS of 9.830.
ASU In The Rankings --
Arizona State is ranked 15th in the season's first poll using the Regional Qualifying Score. The Sun Devils have an RQS of 194.415. The Sun Devils are also ranked 19th on floor (48.620), fifth on beam (48.830), 21st on bars (48.330) and 22nd on vault (48.515). Individually, Tiana Jean is ranked 21st in the all-around (38.755) and 22nd on bars (9.800). Ashlee Hinkle is currently ranked 18th on beam (9.805)
Fantastic Fans --
The Sun Devils home opener against Utah produced 1,931 fans, the third highest in Sun Devil gymnastics history. Last week against Arizona, 1,929 fans came out to mark the fourth highest crowd since 1996.
ASU Faces Nation's Finest --
The Sun Devils will face nine of the top-ranked programs in the country, four of which are in the top ten and four in the Pac-10 Conference, according to the preseason coaches poll. The Sun Devils have already competed against No. 4 UCLA, No. 11 Oregon State and No. 7 Nebraska. The Sun Devils hosted No. 3 Utah in their home opener and have hosted No. 11 Oregon State and No. 12 Arizona. The Sun Devils will also host No. 5 Stanford (Feb 29), No. 13 Penn State (Mar. 7) and No. 20 Ohio State. The Sun Devils also travel to No. 16 Missouri (Mar. 21).
Nicole Harris and Ashlee Hinkle have been honored by the Pac-10. Harris earned her first Pac-10 Gymnast of the Week honor for the week of January 15-21. In her inaugural all-around performance of the season, junior All-American Nicole Harris hit every event to win the all-around with a team season-best score of 39.325 against Cal. Competing on floor for the first time this season, Harris won the event tying Ashlee Hinkle's team-best score of 9.850. The All-Pac-10 selection from last season also had a season-best mark on bars with a 9.875 and tied for second on beam with a 9.825.
Hinkle's consistent season was also recognized. The junior from Glendale, Ariz., was named Pac-10 Event Specialist of the Week for the week of Feb. 5-11. for her performance against Oregon State. Hinkle won vault with a career-best 9.9. Her score of a 9.9 is the best score on any event by Sun Devils this season. Hinkle also had a career-high 9.875 on floor as well as a season-best 9.875 on beam.
Hittin' Hinkle --
Ashlee Hinkle has had a phenomenal junior campaign. The Glendale, Ariz., native has been one of the team's top scorers in her three events. Hinkle recorded a career-high on vault with a 9.9 against Oregon State. The junior also had a career-best 9.875 on floor the same meet. The junior is also averaging a 9.813 on vault, 9.816 on beam and 9.808 on floor. She is currently ranked 18th on beam.
Picking up from last season, Nicole Harris has put up big scores early in the season. This past weekend, Harris tied her career-best bar score with a 9.925. Harris has also scored a team-high 9.875 on beam and is averaging 9.828 on floor. Prior to the RQS rankings, Harris was ranked 10th in the all-around. She will not be included in the RQS rankings in the all-around until after the team's meet at Missouri.
Fabulous Fran ---
Francesca Mercurio has had a fantastic freshman campaign so far this season.Mercurio had three career-bests against Arizona last week. She compiled a career-best score of 38.950 as well as personal-highs on bars (9.825) and floor (9.725). Mercurio has previously scored career-bests of 9.825 on vault and 9.775 on beam.
All Around Tiana--
Junior Tiana Jean is competing in the all-around for the first time in her collegiate career. The Puyallup, Wash., native had a career-best score of 39.175 against Oregon State. Jean had career-highs on vault (9.750) and floor (9.875) that same night. Last week against Arizona, Jean tied her career-best bars with a 9.875.
Tia Orlando, who was sidelined last season due to a torn anterior cruciate ligament, competed in her first meet since the 2006 NCAA Championships. Orlando, who as an Elite won the floor exercise at the 2003 Pan-American Games, has been competing on bars and beam this season. Orlando tied her career-best on bars at Cal and against Arzona with a 9.825. Orlando has also recorded two career-high scores of 9.850 on beam this season.
Keeping Up with the Jones' ---
After competing in the all-around the first two meets of the season, freshman Beaté Jones has been consistent on vault, bars and floor this season. A powerful gymnast, Jones had a career-best 9.825 on vault and on floor last meet against Oregon State.
Stephanie Hangartner Signs Letter of Intent--
Stephanie Hangartner of Mesa, Ariz., has signed a letter of intent to study and compete at Arizona State starting in fall 2008. Hangartner will join the Sun Devils squad as a potential all-arounder. She was the 2005 State Champion in the all-around and was a Junior Olympic qualifier.