After 2013’s last place finish at the Pac-12 Championships, ASU gymnastics was determined to improve its conference standing this year when it traveled to Berkeley, Calif., on Saturday.
While the Sun Devils did improve in the standings, it was only one spot as they took seventh place, finishing with a score of 195.550.
Separated into two sessions, an afternoon and evening, the Pac-12 Championships had ASU as part of the latter time slot, competing alongside Washington, the host California and UA.
In the earlier session, Utah dominated against Oregon State, UCLA and Stanford, scoring a 197.925 as the Utes easily won the conference championship.
ASU’s first rotation was on balance beam, an event that they have shown much promise on but have struggled to find consistency. Freshman Beka Conrad, who competed all-around for the Sun Devils, opened up with a solid 9.700, but mediocre scores from junior Morgan Steigerwalt and freshman Savannah Borman followed. Sophomore Risa Perez scored a 9.650, and after a 9.775 from junior Brianna Gades, sophomore Stephanie Miceli earned a team high 9.875 as ASU scored a collective 48.625 on beam, well below their expected total.
After beam, ASU ventured to floor exercise to try to get back into the meet. Sophomore Allie Salas led off with a 9.800, followed by a stellar routine from Conrad, earning a career-high 9.850. Senior Sammie Seaman and Perez each added 9.825’s while Steigerwalt chipped in a 9.850. Junior Natasha Sundby rounded out the event with a 9.900, good for fifth overall in the championship. ASU scored a 49.250, the second best total out of all eight teams, coming behind just Utah.
Salas opened up on vault as well, scoring a 9.800. Sophomore Carissa Kraus, Sundby, and Conrad all scored 9.850’s as ASU zoomed to a team total of 49.150, a season high as ASU was right in the thick of things heading into the final rotation, uneven bars.
On bars, Perez kicked off the event for ASU with a 9.800, tying her season-high. But things went downhill from there, as sophomore Kristine Levin fell on her routine, putting pressure on the remainder of the ASU lineup. Conrad scored a 9.800, followed by a 9.750 from Miceli, but Gades faltered en route to a 9.300. Kraus closed out the Pac-12 Championships with a 9.825, but ASU’s total of 48.475 severely brought down their final score.
Overall, the Utes took first place easily, with Stanford and Cal taking a distant second and third. UCLA took fourth place, followed by Oregon State, UA, ASU and Washington.
ASU is waiting to hear where it’ll be headed next week for Regional Championships, but its score Saturday night doesn’t help much for its regional qualifying score (RQS). At Regionals, the top two finishers earn a spot at Nationals. After the last place finish last year in the Pac-12 Championship, ASU came back and took third at Regionals, narrowly missing a trip to Nationals. After improving one spot from 2013 at the Pac-12 Championship, the Sun Devils hope they can be one spot better than their 2013 finish next week too.
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