It’s not often you see a 9.9 score being only good enough for a third-place tie but that is exactly what happened Saturday night.
It was a capacity crowd in Denver with just over 2,000 in the Hamilton Gymnasium, mainly due to the fact Olympic gymnast Jordyn Wieber was the guest of honor at the meet, but the collegiate gymnasts gave the fans their money’s worth.
ASU gymnast sophomore Morgan Steigerwalt put on her best performance of the season. The cherry on top was her 9.9 floor routine, which was a new career high and a number only fellow sophomore Natasha Sundby matched this year. The score stood in first place all meet until the last rotation when Denver sophomore Ellese Sakai-Hart tied her 9.9. Junior Kaitlin Moorhead then topped it with a 9.925 and sophomore Nina McGee blew the lid off the place with a 9.975.
Still, the numbers don’t lie: Two new season high scores on vault and floor, five gymnasts with eight career highs amongst them and a new high total score for the season equals a pretty redeeming meet for the Gym Devils.
In its second tri-meet of the season, ASU took second scoring a 195.675 with No. 13 Denver in first with a 197.200 and Illinois State in third with 194.275.
Steigerwalt had a career night along with freshmen Risa Perez and Carissa Kraus. All three scored two career highs. Steigerwalt’s other career high came on vault with a 9.825. Perez also hit a career high on floor with a 9.850 and a 9.875 on beam. Kraus tied her career high 9.875 vault from last week and added to it with a 9.825 on bars.
“That’s the highest score I’ve ever gotten and I’m so glad it helped the team especially since we were struggling a little bit,” Steigerwalt said.
ASU had started off a little rocky on beam, having to count a fall on the event for the second week in a row. They followed it up, though with the strongest floor score they have seen all season at a 49.275 including five scores above 9.8.
“We started on balance beam and we had to count a fall, but the girls really rallied together and focused and really put forth the perfect floor routine for them,” assistant coach Tom Ward said.
Ward says the team will look at the beam lineup this week in practice and see what needs to be done, but the poor performance tonight may have just been something as simple as the event schedule.
“When you start on balance beam on the road, sometimes it’s a tough environment,” Ward said.
It was smooth sailing after floor with another season-high vault score and 49.025 and matched their season high 48.975 on bars to close out the night.
“I was really happy with our team score altogether, and it was our funnest meet yet,” Kraus said. “A lot of cheering and honestly we counted a fall and we still got our best score yet, so it was just a really good meet.”
The team will finish off the regular season at home against Bridgeport next Friday at 7 p.m.
reach the reporter at firstname.lastname@example.org