Gymnastics falls to top-10 teams, sets season highs

Going Vertical: ASU freshman Samantha Seaman competes on the bars during the Sun Devils’ loss to Oregon State, 196.950 to 194.800, in Tempe on Sunday. Even with the loss, the Sun Devils posted their highest team score of the season. (Photo by Aaron Lavinsky)

ASU gymnastics posted a season high score on Friday night in Utah and then topped that tally on Sunday at Wells Fargo Arena, but both times the Sun Devils came away in defeat.

No. 3 Utah (4-1) bested ASU 196.525-194.125 on Friday night in Salt Lake City in front of nearly 13,000 fans, before No. 7 Oregon State (2-1) beat the Sun Devils 196.950-194.800 on Sunday.

“In the first three meets, our confidence was not there,” said senior Beaté Jones, who scored at least a 9.7 on all four events to lead ASU. “I think now we are confident, and competing against these top teams and being close to them is helping our confidence grow even more.”

The losses dropped the Sun Devils to 1-4 on the year, but the improved scores, which are over two points greater than ASU’s previous season-high mark against UA, have built momentum for the team heading forward.

“We feel great,” sophomore Tina Salavec said. “We went [to Utah] and we really did what we wanted to do. We had our season high score there, so it boosted our confidence a lot, and then we came back here just knowing we could [post another high score].”

The Sun Devils’ point totals this weekend highlight ASU’s ability to continue to improve with each practice and competition.

“Once we have that energy and you actually trust the people that are going, then you know you’re going somewhere and that you’re getting better,” Jones said. “At Utah, we did amazing considering they’re the number three team in the nation.”

The Sun Devils made significant progress on their beam performance over the weekend, with just one fall on Sunday en route to a season-high 48.825.

“I think they handled the pressure well,” ASU coach John Spini said. “I think we got a great starter in [Beaté Jones] today; she hits that nice routine [to start] and then the routines start building.”

ASU also had to deal with injuries over the weekend, including an ACL injury to sophomore Amelia Rew during warm-ups prior to the OSU meet.

“I think right now everyone’s kind of down a little bit because of the injuries, but we’re super excited and we can do better than we did today,” Salavec said. “There’s room to improve, which I think is a good thing.”

The Sun Devils believe that with their growing confidence and improving results, there is no reason that they can’t post scores in the 195 and 196 range in the future.

“Once we have that energy and you actually trust the people that are going, then you know you’re going somewhere and you’re getting better,” Jones said.

Reach the reporter at kyle.j.newman@asu.edu