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ASU gymnastics aims for second straight win at UA

Senior Nicole Harris competes on the balance beam earlier in the season at Wells Fargo Arena.(Damien Maloney/The State Press)

The ASU gymnastics team will be in Tucson tonight to face UA for the first Duel in the Desert event of the weekend between the two in-state rivals.

The ASU women’s basketball team will tip off its tilt with UA on Saturday.

The Sun Devil gymnastics squad (1-4, 1-3 Pac-10) finally broke into the win column last week with a victory over Cal.

The No. 19 Wildcats (3-5, 0-4 Pac-10) boast two gymnasts ranked in individual events. Senior Bree Workman is in the top 20 for vault, and junior Sarah Tomczyk ranks 14th on floor. ASU no longer has any individually ranked gymnasts.

Senior Nicole Harris and sophomore Beaté Jones have led the team for most of the season, but others have stepped up of late.

Senior captain Tiana Jean nailed her floor routine last week to earn a career-best near-perfect 9.9. Junior Kaitlynn Bormann has also improved as the season has rolled on and has begun to hit parts of her bar routine that were causing falls earlier in the year.

Last week, Jones compiled two 9.9s against Cal, one on floor and the other on vault.

Earlier in the week the sophomore said the team would have to work hard to match up against the Wildcats.

“We definitely need to get our team together and do what we do in practice,” Jones said.

Despite the win last week, the team still had issues with at least one event — beam.

Each week there is a trend with the young Sun Devil squad in which they perform well on most events but fall apart on one.

“The girls need to take time and focus on their starting skill and believe in [their] team and [themselves] and [they’ll] do fine,” ASU coach John Spini said.

The Sun Devils will have an uphill battle against the more experienced Wildcats tonight.

ASU’s roster has seven freshmen and only three upperclassmen. The team also relies on Harris, Jean and Jones to compete in all four events at each meet, meaning less rest for each gymnast.

UA has six upperclassmen, two sophomores and six freshmen and has won its last two meets.

Spini said he is encouraging his team to continue being persistent.

“The kids aren’t giving up, but they need more confidence, they need to figure it out,” he said. “In workout they’re hitting those sets, and we just want them to figure it out, because [next] we have Arizona.”

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