Despite owning two consecutive victories, including a score of 196, No. 19 ASU gymnastics coach John Spini said the Sun Devils haven’t peaked yet.
To beat No. 4 Utah, which ASU faces Saturday at 1 p.m., Spini has to be right. If nothing else, he is confident.
“We’re going to need some improvements on our landings,” Spini said. “If we can stay focused and keep doing what we’re doing, hit routines and not worry about what they’re doing, we’re going to have a great meet.”
Spini said he hopes playing top competition can help his team compete at the next level.
“I think we’ll be very competitive,” Spini said. “It’s called drafting. (Utah) just might pull us to that next level.”
Junior Natasha Sundby agreed with Spini on the improvements that ASU needs to make.
“I think we just need to work on landings. On vault, we didn’t have our best,” Sundby said. “It’s good mistakes. We’re doing good vaults; we just need to work on the landings.”
While it has been able to achieve a high amount of success, there are still things on which ASU is looking to improve.
Falls on balance beam and uneven bars have hurt the Sun Devils the past two meets and are mistakes they can’t afford to make if they intend on upending the Utes.
Utah has the most NCAA Championship appearances in NCAA history, and its nine victories are second only to Georgia’s 10. Utah has also produced 324 All-Americans.
The Sun Devils’ score of 196 against Cal was a landmark score for them, but still pales to Utah’s top score of 197.125.
Even though they’re facing one of the top programs in the country, Sundby insists they’re not approaching the meet any differently.
“I don’t think we’re really focused on the teams,” Sundby said. “Really we’re just focusing on ourselves; ever since Seattle it’s been a huge boost. To get a 195.9 on an away meet is huge, so we’re still on such a high from that meet.”
The meet takes place Saturday at 1 p.m. at Wells Fargo Arena and will be promoting awareness of autism, a disorder junior gymnast Erin Hamister’s sister suffers.
Reach the reporter at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @shane_writes