These days, when the Gym Devils march into Wells Fargo Arena, that home floor is all theirs. But there was a time when they shared the home court every week with 14 guys.
Before the ASU men’s gymnastics program was cut as an NCAA sport in 1993, every meet was a co-ed meet. Now, it’s the one time a year when it shares the event with the club program.
And that one time will be this Friday against No. 22 Washington.
“This is really a fun meet as a coach, because it reminds me of when I first started,” coach John Spini said. “I think it’s good for the girls, and it’s great for the gymnastics community because before the men’s team was dropped, we used to always put at least put 2,500 to 3,000 people and we’ve kind of had a little separation since then. So it’s huge for us to keep developing the gymnastics community, the whole community and do some positive things.”
With the larger crowd because of several visiting Girl Scouts and a second competition happening on the floor, the co-ed meet means there is a lot more happening than usual.
“It’s like a three-ring circus, almost there’s so much going on,” Spini said.
He’s not worried about that being any sort of distraction, however.
“It’s just a lot of energy, and I don’t think it’s going to mess with the girls at all,” Spini said. “I think it’s going to be more energy on the floor like a regional or national meet where they have six teams out there, so it’s good practice for us.”
Senior Amelia Rew is one of only a handful of gymnasts on this young squad that has been a part of a past co-ed meet. She’s happy to see it back, especially the big numbers it brings into the gym.
“It’s so much more energizing and we feed off the crowd and the more they cheer, the more we get excited,” Rew said. “It’s a lot more fun to perform in front of a bunch of people.”
The team will need the energy to stay on point with another ranked team like Washington. The Huskies come in with a little swagger on their side after tying No.7 Utah last week, a near upset no one saw coming.
On top of the No. 22 team ranking, the Gym Dawgs are No. 11 on beam and No. 22 on bars. The bars is an event that ASU’s usually consistent grad student Kahoku Palafox fell on last week.
“It’s all part of the game and you just pick up and keep going, especially when you do more than one event,” Palafox said. “You can’t let it affect you, because they need you somewhere else.”
Palafox said she has to move past the mistake.
“It’s just it’s a new time. It’s a new day. There’s nothing else to it than what you know.”
Friday’s meet will be a “blackout” with fans encouraged to wear black and a discount will be given at the door for those who do.
Reach the reporter at firstname.lastname@example.org.