When facing an elite program that is the reigning national runner-up, it takes flawless execution and also a little bit of luck to emerge victorious. Neither of those things happened for ASU gymnastics as it fell on the road to Oklahoma, 197.450-194.150.
“It definitely wasn’t our best meet,” assistant coach Hollie Vise said. “There were some great things I think that happened. We also had several mistakes, but I think it’s a learning experience for the team. Just wasn’t our day.”
ASU headed into meet with the confirmed absence of freshman Gilly Hogue, who injured her Achilles tendon in warm-ups prior to a tri-meet in Corvallis, Ore., and will miss the rest of the season. Her injury forced freshman Savannah Borman to make her second consecutive balance beam appearance against the No. 3 Sooners.
The Sun Devils opened up the night on uneven bars. Sophomore Risa Perez opened up with a strong 9.775, but a fall from sophomore Kristine Levin and slipped landing by freshman Beka Conrad led to two weak scores. Sophomore Stephanie Miceli put ASU back on track with a 9.750, and after a 9.800 from junior Brianna Gades, sophomore Carissa Kraus closed out uneven bars with a 9.875. Having to count a fall, ASU totaled a mediocre 48.525 on bars.
Levin was expected to replace Hogue in the vault lineup, but after slipping off the high bar in the previous event, was kept out. Sophomore Allie Salas led off with a 9.800, followed by a career-high 9.900 from senior Sammie Seaman. A couple of steps on the landing marked down junior Natasha Sundby’s score to a 9.725, and Conrad closed the event with a 9.650. ASU only vaulted five athletes, forcing them to count every score as ASU totaled a 48.825.
Salas led off on floor exercise for ASU, scoring a 9.775. Kraus was a late addition into the floor exercise lineup, replacing Conrad. However, she fell on her first pass and scored a measly 8.450. Junior Morgan Steigerwalt also took a fall, on her last pass, and scored 8.900, ensuring ASU would have to count a fall. Seaman scored a 9.500 followed by a 9.800 from Perez. Sundby ended floor for ASU on a high note, earning a career-high 9.925 as ASU totaled a 47.900 on floor. Oklahoma sophomore Haley Scaman scored a 10.000 on floor for the Sooners.
Conrad scored a 9.725 to lead off ASU on balance beam, followed by a 9.825 from Steigerwalt. Perez fell on beam scoring a 9.275, and after Gades earned a 9.850, Miceli scored a 9.700. Borman, making her second balance beam start, notched a strong 9.750 for ASU en route to its highest total on the night, 48.900.
“Savannah has really stepped up. She has proven to be a great competitor,” Vise said. “It’s a great quality when one of your athletes can compete better than they practice. She practices good but she really turns it on when she competes, and she has a lot of confidence.
“A lot of times gymnasts when it gets to competition time they get a little bit nervous and shaky. It’s kind of been the opposite for her. She has really proved a lot in the last couple weeks,” coach Vise said.
While the result wasn’t as hoped, the trip to Norman, Okla., still was special for first-year ASU assistant coach Hollie Vise. The six-time US National Team member competed collegiately for the Sooners, graduating in 2010 after a decorated career.
“It was awesome. It felt like walking into my home. I spent so many meets in that arena, and some of the best memories of my life were in there,” Vise said. “It was really great to be back, and they were very welcoming.
“It was kind of weird being in that arena and not being a Sooner but being a Sun Devil, but it was also exciting to be coaching on the same floor as my old coaches. They were able to watch me coach, that was really cool,” coach Vise said.
ASU’s next meet will be its last home meet of the season and Senior Night. The only senior on the team is Sammie Seaman, but one could imagine that ASU will also honor head coach John Spini, who is retiring after 34 years as head coach of the Sun Devils. The meet versus Northern Illinois will take place Friday at Wells Fargo Arena at 7 p.m.
“After a meet like that we’re just gonna get back in the gym and work really hard and focus on the little details and just staying focused on everything that we’re doing,” Vise said.
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