Sun Devils hosts top rank rivals in UNO's Flip for the Cure
This Week --
Coming off a win at Washington, the Sun Devils return home for the UNO's Flip for the Cure this Friday, Feb. 29 at 7:00 p.m. at Wells Fargo Arena. The UNO's Classic this year is being combined with the Sun Devils second annual Flip for the Cure, which promotes breast cancer awareness. Stanford, San Jose State and Wisconsin Oshkosh will be joining the Sun Devils in the UNO's Flip for the Cure. Although 2-6, 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 321-135-2. His won-loss record at home is 171-38-1.
UNO's Classic History --
UNO's Pizzaria will sponsor the 10th annual UNO's Classic. Fans who eat at UNO's prior to the meet will receive discounted admission into the meet. This season, the Sun Devils combined the annual meet with their Flip for the Cure Breast Cancer Awareness meet. The Sun Devils have outright won the UNO's Classic seven out of the ten times and have tied for first once. Last season, the Sun Devils placed second in the annual meet.
Flip for the Cure --
The Sun Devils are hosting Stanford, San Jose State and UW-Oshkosh in their second annual Flip for the Cure. The meet will promote breast cancer awareness and breast cancer survivors in the audience will also be honored after the meet. Fans wearing pink will receive $2 admission as will fans who bring a Yoplait Yogurt lid. Come out, put on your favorite pink shirt and support the Sun Devils in the Flip for the Cure!
Think Pink and Support! --
In addition to showing your support at the meet, fans can also support the cause by filling out a Think Pinkpledge form. All donations will go to the Phoenix Affiliate of the Susan G. Komen Foundation. Pledge forms will also be available in the concourse at the meet. The Komen foundation is dedicating to curing breast cancer at every stage - from the causes to the cures, to the pain and anxiety of every moment in between. Up to 75% of your money will remain locally to support various programs and resources for breast health.
Scouting The Competition --
Stanford is currently ranked seventh nationally with an RQS of 196.010. They are ranked 11th on floor (48.910), seventh on beam (48.910), seventh on bars (49.120) and eighth on vault (49.145). Individually Kelly Fee is tied for 21st on floor (9.845) and Allyse Ishino is tied for 14th on bars (9.860). San Jose State is currently ranked 32nd nationally while UW-Oshkosh is a Division III team. The Sun Devils are 15-9 in regular season against the Cardinal and are 7-2 at Wells Fargo Arena. The Sun Devils also lead the series against the Spartans 6-0 and the Eagles 1-0.
ASU In The Rankings --
The Sun Devils are currently ranked 17th nationally with an RQS of 194.815. The Sun Devils are ranked 22nd on floor (48.770), 12th on beam (48.830), 23rd on bars (48.550) and 21st on vault (48.710). Tia Orlando is ranked 22nd on beam and Nicole Harris is ranked 16th on bars. Ashlee Hinkle is just out of the top 25 on beam with a current rank of 26th while Tiana Jean is ranked 27th nationally in the all-around.
Fantastic Fans --
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).
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 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 21-21 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 and is just out of the top 25 on beam, ranking 26th.
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. 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, has been consistent as an anchor for the Sun Devils No. 12 ranked beam team this season. Last week, 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 is currently tied for 22nd 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 against Oregon State. She tied her career-high on vault last week at Washington.
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. Last week the 2006 All-American matched her career-best on floor with a 9.9 at Washington. Harris has also scored a team-high 9.875 on beam and is averaging 9.850 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.
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.