Gym Devils to make 31st consecutive appearance at NCAA regionals
The Gym Devils learned last Sunday that they would be competing in the NCAA regionals as the No. 5 seed.
Nebraska, Minnesota, Iowa State, San Jose State and host Utah will be joining ASU at the regional meet in Salt Lake City.
How they perform in regionals will determine whether they will qualify for the NCAA national meet.
“I think we could go to nationals,” sophomore Samantha Seaman said. “I really do. We have to fix the little things right now, but we have a lot of potential and we’re still getting better. We’re not stopping.”
This is ASU’s 31st consecutive season qualifying for the NCAA regionals, but they haven’t competed in the national meet since the 2006 season, when they placed ninth.
Cooling off from a hot start
After starting 4-0 and scoring above 195.000 in each of their first four meets, the Gym Devils’ success declined.
The team has failed to break the 195.000 mark in over a month and hasn’t won a dual meet since the squad’s torrid start.
“(We’re) trying to get back up the energy and confidence we had in those first four or five meets,” coach John Spini said. “Winning gives you a lot of energy. When you’re going against a UCLA that beats you with a 198, you’re kind of looking over your shoulder a little bit.”
The Gym Devils had to endure watching No. 3 UCLA post a national season-high total of 198.050 when they traveled to Los Angeles for the Pac-12 championships.
Freshmen, Jones key to success
As Spini has mentioned numerous times this season, freshmen Brianna Gades, Natelle Gentile, Morgan Steigerwalt and Natasha Sundby are key to ASU’s success, but there is no doubt redshirt senior Beaté Jones has contributed the most to this team all season.
In nearly every meet, all four freshmen performed in at least two events.
The first-year collegiate athletes have performed nearly eight out of the 24 total routines in each meet this season.
“The freshmen usually do a lot for us, and it’s their consistency that we’re developing,” Spini said.
Likewise, Jones’s highest four scores this season helped contribute to ASU’s highest four scores of the season.
She is currently ranked one of the top 35 all-around performers in the country.
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