As the Gym Devils head toward the tail end of their season, it would be easy to fall into a slump.
They’ve done the same routines seven times in competition and hundreds more in their practice facility since August. Injuries have bogged them down, and sore muscles are standard this far into competition.
“Ko needs like 20 ice packs after practice,” senior Amelia Rew said, joking about her fellow senior Kahoku Palafox.
It would be understandable for any team to lose a little fire at this point, but that’s just not going to happen this week.
The ASU gymnastics team begins March with a trip down to Tucson on Saturday afternoon to face off against No. 15 UA.
“Oh, I get into the rivalry meet a lot,” sophomore Brianna Gades said. “It’s such a tradition at ASU, so I feel like it’s really important to get into it.”
The rivalry isn’t just for the women, either. The coaches get equally pumped.
“It’s big,” assistant coach Kari Ward said. “To me, it’s the biggest meet of the year so far. Being an alumni myself, it’s really important for me and for the seniors wanting to go out on top. You know, in gymnastics, its more about the scores than winning, but this is one meet where we really want to come away with a big ‘W.’”
Like Ward said, for Rew and Palafox, this meet will be their last Territorial Cup.
“This year, I think it’s going to be a great meet, first of all, looking at our scores,” Rew said. “It’s going to be neck and neck. I’m really excited to go down there and kick some Wildcat butt, hopefully. It’s going to be a good time.”
Another reason to get amped for the meet against UA is the television element. Pac-12 networks will be airing the meet live. This means and earlier start time and commercial breaks dispersed throughout.
“I think we’ll just be so concerned about what we have to do it won’t really be a big deal for us,” Gades said.
While Gades’ strategy is to put the blinders on, Rew focuses on the thrill of a new audience.
“I really like it,” Rew said. “The feeling like more people are watching, and we’re getting more attention, kind of like a big time feeling, so we get excited about it. It’s fun to be on camera when we do our routines like we know how.”
While the Sun Devils will have the extra energy on their side, there still is the concern about finally getting past that bump in the scores. The team has been incredibly consistent but hasn’t improved its score since week three, when it scored a 195.600 against UCLA.
“Obviously our goal is above 196,” Ward said. “It’s just two- or three-tenths per event. We had some struggles on vault last week, but if it hadn’t been for that, we would have been at 196. It’s just a matter of putting it all together at the right moment. The girls have been making improvements in the gym so now it’s just about transferring that over to the meet.”
Ward said there most likely won’t be any lineup changes, meaning junior Samantha Seaman and freshman Erin Hamister will not compete
The meet starts at 3 p.m. MST and will be shown on the Pac 12 Network.
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