Gym Devils host No. 4 UCLA, Steigerwalt returns
When the Gym Devils competed against Sacramento State and San Jose State last Friday, it was a little different from their first meet at home.
“Here we have this huge arena where we compete in; it's bigger, it's colder in there," freshman Stephanie Miceli said. “(Last meet) was more of like a high school gym. I actually liked it, though. It was more homey. You heard the crowd a lot more.”
The team definitely won’t have that environment at Wells Fargo Arena Friday against No. 4 UCLA for the annual Pink Meet.
The Bruins (2-0) will come in Friday boasting an average score of 196.788. They hold the No. 1 position on floor, No. 2 on bars and have three gymnasts ranked in the top 10 for both events.
ASU sophomore Morgan Steigerwalt will be returning from an ankle injury to compete on both beam and floor after only competing in beam last week.
She is ready to get back into the routine of competition.
“(Last) Friday, when bars was our last event and it was our make it or break it point, I don't even do bars, but I just really wanted to do it, because I know we needed a good score,” Steigerwalt said.
ASU has been strong on beam this season, ranked 18th nationally and fourth in the Pac-12. It should be even stronger this week with Steigerwalt at full strength.
Sophomore Natasha Sundby will have to be strong for ASU for the third straight meet. Sundby is now in the top 20 nationally, ranked 18th on vault with a career-high average of 9.875.
Coach John Spini loves coming back to Wells Fargo.
"I like being at home against a top team like this," Spini said, "It gives our spectators a chance to see where we've come and where were going and to see the very top teams, and it makes us hopefully move to a bigger level and do more."
Once again, the Sun Devils will have to rely heavily on their freshmen.
Carissa Kraus has given the team a big boost on vault and bars with a 9.825 on vault at last week’s tri-meet. The same goes to Miceli, who will compete on beam, bars, floor and vault if needed.
The added responsibility hasn’t hindered the young gymnast, though.
“You feel the pressure, especially (last) weekend when we had a fall on bars," Miceli said. "You know you gotta hit your routine. You have to have your girls' back. I love it."
The Gym Devils will wear pink leotards and fans are encouraged to wear pink, and if they do, they will only pay $3 for admission. The first 250 fans through the door get a pink T-shirt.
This weekend’s meet will include a battle of the West Valley, featuring sophomore Brianna Gades from Peoria and UCLA’s senior Monique De La Torre from Glendale. They will be competing in Tempe for the first time in her college career.
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