Gymnastics falls to UCLA despite career highs

It was a career night for six ASU gymnasts, and the team scored its highest point total of the season.

And that wasn’t enough to take down No.4 UCLA and the Sun Devils lose to the Bruins, 196.375-195.600.

“We’re just trying to improve ever meet,” head coach John Spini said. “We’re still very, very weak on vaulting. We’re still just vaulting five kids we haven’t been able to get Morgan (Steigerwalt) involved. I’m just really pleased with the kids. They’re just improving all the time.”

Spini’s freshmen scored significantly higher than they had in the previous two meets with career scores for Erin Hamister on vault with a 9.8, Risa Perez and Stephanie Miceli on beam had 9.85 each, Alex Cope recorded 9.8 on floor and Allie Salas was awarded a 9.85 on floor as well.

At the beginning of the year walk-on Salas wasn’t even sure she would be on the team, let alone scoring career highs.

“That was unbelievable that was the highest score I’ve ever gotten on floor and it was just surreal,” Salas said.

Although the freshmen shined for ASU, the routine of the night went to sophomore Natasha Sundby who scored a career high 9.9 on floor for the final routine of the evening, taking ASU’s only event title. Sundby. She also scored a 9.875 for a career high on vault for the first two meets but hadn’t reached her full potential on floor until tonight.

“Honestly, there’re no words for it,” Sundby said. “I wanted it mainly for the team, you know, obviously with having a fall in front of me, that adds that built up pressure, but I used it as good pressure.”

ASU stayed close with the Bruins after the first rotation, only behind by two tenths of a point after UCLA’s bar lineup ranked No.2 in the nation scored well below their average earning a 48.925. The Sun Devils matched this score on bars during the second rotation.

For the third straight week, the Gym Devils only performed five vaults but had three 9.8s to keep them in the running.

The Bruins pulled farther ahead after their vault lineup which included a 9.950 from Senior Vanessa Zamarripa.

The Sun Devils and the Bruins both scored 48.925 in the third rotation on beam and floor respectively.

The crowd went crazy after Perez’s landing that earned her a career high on the event. But Perez then fell on her usually strong floor routine, bringing her down to a 9.275.

Three career highs made floor ASU’s highest scoring event of the evening with a 49.150, but it just wasn’t enough.

Spini was still happy to be competing against a top team like UCLA, because it meant higher scores for ASU.

“I thought some of the other meets would be closer to this,” Spini said. “I think having UCLA in there is kind of like, they’ll throw in scores for UCLA and then they’ll look at us and say, ‘OK, now that’s a pretty good routine,’ so I was really pleased with the scoring tonight.”

The Sun Devils next meet will be Feb. 1 at 7 p.m. against Utah in Salt Lake City.

 

Reach the reporter at mklau@asu.edu