Less than a week after going into Seattle and knocking off Washington, the ASU gymnastics team successfully took its momentum and applied to it Friday night’s duel against California, winning 196.000-195.300.
Junior Natasha Sundby was impressed by her team’s score, but said the best has yet to come.
“It feels great. Being our second meet at home, it’s really exciting,” Sundby said. “We’re getting better each and every week. And even on not our best night, not close to our best, we’re still getting a 196, which says a lot about the team this year.”
“What’s really big is that we came back after falling on two of our first routines, on beam and bars, is coming back on knocking it out five in a row both times. That is huge for this team,” head coach John Spini said.
ASU’s first event of the night was on vault. Freshman Gilly Hogue led off for the Sun Devils, and scored a 9.775. After senior Samantha Seaman followed that with a 9.75, sophomore Allie Salas scored a 9.85. Sophomore Carissa Kraus scored a 9.725, followed by Sundby, who landed a 9.75. Sophomore Erin Hamister closed out a solid event with a 9.85, for a total of 48.900. Cal freshman Serena Leong scored a 9.9, leading the Bears to a 49.050 on vault.
The second event of then night for ASU was on uneven bars. After sophomore Risa Perez faltered on the bars, scoring a 9.475, sophomore Kristine Levin rebounded with a career-high 9.8. Conrad and sophomore Stephanie Miceli followed that with consecutive 9.8’s, a streak broken when junior Brianna Gades scored a 9.850. Kraus finished off the even for the Sun Devils, scoring another 9.8 as ASU ended with a total of 49.050.
Led by a 9.875 from junior Alicia Asturias and a 9.850 from senior Dallas Crawford, California scored a 49.075 on bars, taking a 98.125-97.950 lead over the Sun Devils.
The third rotation of Beauty And The Beast meet had Arizona State on the balance beam. Leading off, Conrad fell off the beam en route to a 8.9, but her teammates picked her up. Hogue scored a solid 9.650, and after junior Morgan Steigerwalt scored a strong 9.8, Perez scored an impressive 9.850. Gades followed her with a 9.775, and Miceli ended the event strong, scoring a 9.850, as the Sun Devils totaled a solid 48.925. Balance beam was where Cal struggled most, posting a 48.175.
ASU’s final event of the night, floor routine, also happened to be its best. Salas opened up with a solid 9.7, and after Conrad rebounded from her balance beam performance with a 9.8, Seaman scored a strong 9.825. Steigerwalt added in an impressive 9.825, and after Perez pumped up the crowd with a 9.8, Sundby ended the event with a flourish, scoring a 9.875. ASU’s total on floor was a 49.15, bringing them to the coveted 196.000. California scored well on floor, also. Asturias and freshman Charlie Owens led the Bears with a 9.825 and 9.850 as Cal totaled a 49.000.
In individual results, Sundby took first place on floor, while Perez won the balance beam.
After their meet ended, the Gym Devils walked over to the wrestling and cheered on the ASU wrestling team, who beat Boise State 21-15.
This is the first time this season that ASU has scored a 196, which is a landmark score for a team to receive. The meet came on the night of the first annual Beauty And The Beast event, where the gymnasts competed side by side with the ASU wrestling team.
ASU’s next meet will take place at Wells Fargo Arena on Saturday, Feb. 1 as the Gym Devils take on national power Utah. However, the Sun Devils aren’t too worried about Utah, having scored no less than 195.9 in their last two meets.
“We’re focusing on ourselves,” Sundby said. “Seattle was a huge boost because to get a 195.9 on an away meet is a huge deal, so we’re on such high from that meet and we’re gonna continue it throughout the season.”
The strong performances thus far in the season have given ASU a lot of confidence, and high hopes.
“Right now we only have four upperclassmen, so the youth are learning to win. We’re ready to rock and get back to Nationals,” Spini said.
Reach the reporter at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @shane_writes