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Sun Devils host Penn State and Boise State in tri-meet

March 05, 2008

This Week --
The No. 20 Sun Devils host No. 21 Penn State and No. 22 Boise State in a tri-meet this Friday March 7 at 7 pm 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 321-135-2. His won-loss record at home is 171-38-1.

Dance Team Night --
Friday's meet marks Dance Team Night. Dance Team members will receive $2 admission. There will be team posters for fans available. Friday will also be the last chance for fans to get their favorite Gym Devil to sign their poster at the post-meet autograph session.

Scouting the Competition --
Friday's meet looks to be a close one as the Sun Devils are ranked 20th, Penn State 21st and Boise State 22nd. The Nittany Lions are currently ranked 15th on vault and 12th on floor. Sophomore Brandi Personett is ranked 24th in the all-around, fifth on floor and 16 on vault. Alexandra Brockway is ranked 16 on bars while Aslynn Sutterfield is 25th nationally on floor. The Broncos are currently ranked 21st on floor, 15th on bars and 21st on vault.

ASU In The Rankings --
The Sun Devils are currently ranked 20th nationally with an RQS of 194.815. The Sun Devils are ranked 16th on beam and 20th on vault nationally. They are just out of the top 25 on floor and bars with ranks of 26 in both.

Fantastic Fans --
The Gym Devils' meets have averaged 1,140 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 comes to Tempe this weekend. The Sun Devils will also host No. 13 Penn State (Mar. 7) and No. 20 Ohio State. The Sun Devils also travel to No. 16 Missouri (Mar. 21).

Pac-10 Honored --
Ashlee 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 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 24-24 in competition. 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 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.

All Around Tiana--
Junior Tiana Jean earned her first all-around victory last week 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.

Anchors Away--
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 also been a steady bar worker for the Sun Devils this season having her last three bars scores over a 9.750.

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.

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.