Sun Devil Gymnastics prepare to meet with No. 2 UCLA Bruins

The Sun Devils will take on defending national champions UCLA in a dual meet

With early improvements in the season, No. 19 ASU women's gymnastics will pack up their bags for a dual meet with the No. 2 UCLA Bruins on Monday, Jan. 21. 

The Sun Devils will meet up with the defending national champions for the first time in Pac-12 play since the 2016-17 season where they placed second with a team score of 194.600.

"I want them to be able to go in there (and) try to make some more corrections," coach Jay Santos said ahead of the meet. "Just really try to compete as best they can and not get distracted by all the extra stuff that might be going on."

The Gym Devils (3-1) average 195.338 after their first two meets, according to the Road to Nationals

Their average stood slightly less compared to where they were a year ago at 195.575. 

Despite the hiccup, Sun Devils sophomore Cairo Leonard-Baker and senior Anne Kuhm led the team in their first place finish over Texas Women's University.

Kuhm finished first in her team on the all-around with a score of 39.175 whereas Leonard-Baker finished with a score of 39.025.

In their previous meet, Leonard-Baker put up two 9.900s, one in bars and one in floor.

During practice this week, Kuhm said she will focus on being more precise whether that is sticking more dismounts, correcting handstands and eliminating wobbles on beam while trying to make small corrections. 

"The entire team is going to do the same," Kuhm said. "We're not changing anything. We are trying to find the little 10th or half-a-tenth to get better scores." 

As for UCLA, all eyes have been on senior Katelyn Ohashi who scored a perfect 10 on floor routine in their meet with UC Davis.

That was not all for the Bruins, Ohashi went on to score a 10 on beam while junior Kyla Ross notched a 10 score on bars.

The stage will be set between the Sun Devils and Bruins come Monday. 

However, unlike other sports like basketball where teams compete against each other, the Sun Devils will be competing against themselves to score their individual highest.

"There's gonna be a lot of energy," said Santos. "That's UCLA and the events they put on. More times than not it's a good thing because there's going to be a lot of energy and it's not going to be an empty dead arena."

ASU fans can tune in on Monday at 3 p.m. MST.


Reach the reporter at Edith.Noriega@asu.edu or follow @Noriega_Edith on Twitter. 

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