Wells Fargo Arena looked different for gymnastics meet.
The lower bowl was brought in to make room for the mens’ club team and a crowd full of youngsters kept the arena rocking during the whole co-ed meet.
The environment made a huge difference for the scores helped ASU get their second highest point total this season. A strong No. 22 Washington team remained consistent all meet and pulled out a win on the road and defeated the Gym Devils 196.000-195.500.
A record breaking crowd of 3,053 came out to watch the Gym Devils and their male equivalent. That’s more than four times their attendance against Oregon State.
“It’s hard to just tell you, ‘Oh yeah, it makes a huge difference,’ but it really really does,” Sophomore Natasha Sundby said. “Especially when we have a fall or we just need someone to pick us up, the crowd really helps with that.”
Sundby came away with the highest score of the meet with a 9.9 on floor after a lower than usual vault and a touch on beam. The team was not looking great on the event with a low pass for freshman Stephanie Miceli and two steps out from sophomore Morgan Steigerwalt.
Freshman Risa Perez then hit a 9.8 and sophomore Brianna Gades followed with a career high 9.875 before Sundby finished off the night.
Perez had struggled on her first pass for several weeks in a row and sat out last week, but finally hit Friday night.
“It was a little down time,” Perez said, “But it’s a great feeling to come back and be like, ‘OK, there we go, we’re normal again.’”
Even though the team had their sixth loss to a ranked team this season, Coach John Spini sees an upside.
“There’s so much potential for the end of the year with this team,” Spini said. “We’re finally getting a little respect. We’re hitting some tough routines and still getting some fairly decent scores.”
Perez is also positive about the team’s score tonight.
“When you have a rocky meet and you’re still getting a 195.5 that just goes to show, when you have a good meet you can get to a 196.2,” Perez said.
Washington had consistency throughout the meet and a strong vault score, where ASU struggled, pushed the Huskies ahead with standout performances from senior Lauren Rogers and junior Aliza Vaccher.
Another element to the Huskies win was Arizona native Kiersten Graber who appeared to have brought all of Prescott with her.
Next week the Sun Devils hope to rebound against rival No. 15 Arizona in Tucson.
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