Sun Devils host Buckeyes in final home meet
The No. 22 Gym Devils hosts Ohio State in their final home meet of the season on Friday March 14 at 7:30 p.m. at Wells Fargo Arena. 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 322-139-2. His won-loss record at home is 172-42-1.
Faculty and Staff Appreciation Night --
The last home meet is Faculty and Staff Appreciation Night. The Arizona State faculty and staff can receive up to six tickets for Friday's meet.
Senior Salute --
Although the Sun Devils have no active seniors on their roster, Josie Hancock and Karissa Vossler will be honored at the conclusion of the meet. Both of these women's gymnastics careers were cut short due to injury and both have remained a big part of the program participating as student assistants to the team.
Scouting The Competition --
The Buckeyes are currently 30th in the nation. They are 21st on floor nationally, 20th on bars and 23rd on vault. Kaylan Clevinger is 23rd on bars nationally.
ASU In The Rankings --
The Sun Devils are currently ranked 22nd nationally with an RQS of 194.815. The Sun Devils are ranked 18th on beam and 22nd on vault nationally.
Fantastic Fans --
The Gym Devils' home meets have averaged 1,288 fans a meet this season. The Sun Devils home opener against Utah produced 1,931 fans, the third highest in Sun Devil gymnastics history. 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. Preseason No. 5 Stanford and No. 13 Penn State have already visited Tempe this season. No. 20 Ohio State will compete against the Sun Devils on Friday. The Sun Devils also travel to No. 16 Missouri (Mar. 21).
Pac-10 Honored --
Ashlee Hinkle's consistent season has been 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 a team-high on vault. 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 has yet to record a fall this season, going 27-27 in competition. Hinkle scored a team-high and career-high 9.95 on vault last week. This score is the highest score by a Sun Devil on any apparatus this season. The junior also had a career-best 9.875 on floor against Oregon State. The junior is averaging over a 9.8 on all three of her events.
Fabulous Fran ---
Francesca Mercurio has had a fantastic freshman campaign so far this season. The San Mateo native has competed in the all-around in all but two meets this season. Mercurio had three career-bests against Arizona. 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. At last week's tri-meet, Mercurio tied her career high on beam (9.775) and floor (9.725) as well as improved on her all-around score with a 38.975.
All Around Tiana--
Junior Tiana Jean earned her first all-around victory at Washington, scoring a 38.825. 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. Against Arizona, Jean tied her career-best bars with a 9.875. In last week's tri-meet, the junior had a career-high 9.9 on beam. This is Tiana's first 9.9 score in any apparatus of her career.
Tia Orlando, who was sidelined last season due to a torn anterior cruciate ligament, has been consistent as an anchor for the Sun Devils No. 12 ranked beam team this season. At Washington, after watching two of her teammates fall in their routines, the native of Philadelphia shined in her routine earning a career-best and tying the team-high score of 9.875. Orlando has lately been the team's anchor on bars as well. Last week she scored a career-high 9.85 on the event.
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 against Oregon State. Jones has since improved her best vault score to a 9.850, a score she has twice achieved.