ASU gymnastics' season, John Spini's career ends in Arkansas
In what would become John Spini’s final meet as head coach of ASU gymnastics, the Sun Devils didn’t improve upon their seed and finished fourth at the regional championships with an overall score of 194.425.
Top-seed Utah took first place with ease, finishing with a score of 197.300, six tenths ahead of fellow Pac-12 rival UCLA. The host Arkansas Razorbacks took third, totaling a score of 196.375. The Utes and Bruins both advanced to the national championships in Birmingham, Ala. The Razorbacks didn’t advance as a team, but senior Katherine Grable and freshman Amanda Wellick took the top two all-around scores, qualifying for the individual national championship.
ASU’s first event of the night was on floor, its most consistent event throughout the season. Sophomore Allie Salas opened up with a solid 9.775, followed by a 9.750 from freshman Beka Conrad. Senior Sammie Seaman couldn’t break the trend of solid but not strong scores with a 9.725. Junior Morgan Steigerwalt and sophomore Risa Perez each scored 9.800’s as ASU totaled a 48.975 on floor, not up to par with their previous scores in the season.
Moving on to vault, Salas started out with a 9.750, followed by consecutive 9.800s from sophomore Carissa Kraus and Seaman. The vault from Seaman was the last event that the senior would compete in for ASU. Junior Natasha Sundby scored a 9.825 and ASU totaled a 48.875 on vault, once again below their season average.
After a bye rotation, ASU returned to the floor to compete on uneven bars. Perez led off with a solid 9.700, followed by a 9.750 from sophomore Kristine Levin. A pair of falls from Conrad and sophomore Stephanie Miceli hurt ASU’s overall score, as the Sun Devils totaled a weak 47.900 on bars.
The last rotation of the night had ASU on balance beam. Conrad opened up strong with a 9.800, and after a 9.675 from Steigerwalt and a 9.600 from freshman Savannah Borman, ASU finished up with a 9.800 from Perez and a 9.850 from junior Brianna Gades. ASU totaled a 48.775 on beam as the careers of Spini and Seaman came to a close.
While there was talk of Kraus and Perez competing all-around to better the chances that ASU would send a gymnast to Birmingham, Ala., only Conrad competed in all four events, finishing with a 38.175.
Looking ahead to next season, a new head coach will be taking over a still-young Sun Devil squad. Borman and Conrad will be returning after playing key roles in their first year at ASU, along with Gilly Hogue and Kellie Wanamaker, whose freshmen years were cut short by injury. Seven sophomores will come back as juniors, and four juniors will return as seniors, looking to improve on the leadership that sole senior Seaman brought so well.
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