Coming off two consecutive meets where it scored at least a 196.125, ASU gymnastics is hitting midseason form as it heads into Corvallis, Ore., to compete in a tri-meet with Oregon State and Nebraska.
Despite beating No. 20 Arizona at home last week, ASU dropped out of the Top 25 national rankings.
The most recent victory for ASU came against rival UA, and while the emotion of that win could lead to a letdown, coach John Spini is keeping ASU looking ahead.
“We’re focused on our next meet,” Spini said. “That meet’s over with. We’re enjoying that, but it’s over with.”
The location of the tri-meet, Corvallis, Ore., has been the location of both disappointment and triumph for ASU. After a last-place finish at the Pac-12 Championships in Gill Coliseum last year, the Sun Devils returned to Oregon State for the regional meet. They finished with a 195.700, good for third place, narrowly missing a trip to nationals but beat the Beavers. SEC schools Georgia and Arkansas took first and second place, respectively.
This year’s Oregon State team is excelling, ranked No. 14 in the nation with a high score of 197.100, set in a Feb. 3 win over Stanford. The other team in the meet, Nebraska, is a national contender year in and year out. The Cornhuskers are ranked No. 7 in the country with a high score on the season of 197.225, achieved Feb. 8 versus Penn State.
“We still have improvement to make,” Spini said. “Still landings, still think we’ve gotta improve our bars. We definitely are weak on vault when it comes to depth. That is the Achilles’ heel for us: the vault depth.”
Sophomore Erin Hamister, a vault specialist, is still out with a concussion.
Areas that have been key to ASU’s recent streak of success are its performances on balance beam and uneven bars, two events the Sun Devils struggled on earlier this season.
“We’re really talented on beam,” Spini said. “What I think is we’re just trying to stick more landings and take out the checks, those little movements. We just look for now, not hitting a beam routine, just making it better. We want to take it one step at a time.”
Competing in the Pac-12 with national powers like Utah and UCLA, along with a schedule that has other national powers like Nebraska and Oklahoma on it, ASU has faced top competition all year.
“I think we’re better head-to-head versus somebody,” Spini said. “When we were up against UCLA and we were coming down the stretch, if we hit those last two beam routines we’re within two-tenths of a top-six team. I think our ceiling is around 196.5-to-196.8. That’s if everything’s right on. This team’s improving. I think this team is believing in themselves.”
The meet will take place Saturday at 7 p.m. The meet will not be televised but is being live streamed via osubeavers.com.
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