They knew it was going to be difficult, but an unexpected turn will make things more challenging.
A visit to Norman, Okla., on Saturday will pit ASU gymnastics against the No. 3 team in the nation, Oklahoma, and ASU will be missing one of its key competitors.
Freshman Gilly Hogue, who has excelled on vault and balance beam for ASU this year, injured her Achilles tendon in warm-ups in ASU’s last meet against Oregon State.
Hogue, who missed the Utah and UCLA meets with back spasms, has been ruled out for the remainder of the season. When healthy, Hogue was a key contributor to ASU’s success, with highs of 9.850 on vault and 9.800 on balance beam.
After Hogue went down in warm-ups, ASU was forced to put freshman Savannah Borman into the beam lineup. Filling in as anchor, Borman’s first collegiate event came at a much-needed junction as an earlier competitor fell on beam. She came through with flying colors, scoring a strong 9.775. With Borman’s score erasing the early fall, ASU scored a 49.100 on beam, its highest total on the event this season.
On the injury to Hogue, assistant coach Tom Ward said ASU was forced to reconvene.
“The team rallied. Savannah came in, who never had competed beam, and she saved us,” Ward said. “We’re very proud of her.”
While ASU performed well on balance beam with the help of Borman, it struggled on floor and vault, two events it has consistently excelled on this season. But slips and lackluster landings hampered ASU, as the Sun Devils scored just 48.725 on floor and 48.800 on vault.
Looking ahead to Friday’s meet against Oklahoma, ASU hopes to have sophomore vault specialist Erin Hamister return. Hamister missed the meet versus UA and the tri-meet in Corvallis, Ore. For the meet versus the Wildcats, ASU elected to only vault five athletes and did so again against Oregon State and Nebraska, but switched the lineup, vaulting freshman Beka Conrad.
ASU was not ranked in the national top 25 last week due to only having competed in two road meets and not reaching its regional qualifying score. But after the meet in Oregon, ASU returned to the top 25, coming in at No. 21.
The Sun Devils have faced elite competition this season, but none as highly touted as the No. 3 Sooners. Their average score on the season is 197.391, and they hold the highest score in the country thus far this season, scoring a 198.125 in a quad-meet victory over UA, LSU and Kentucky.
Ward emphasized that the competition ASU faces is not its focus.
“We just have to focus on ourselves … sticking our landings, getting more solid on floor and just continuing to improve,” Ward said.
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