The ASU gymnastics team will play host to No. 24 Washington this Friday night in its sixth Pac-10 meet this season.
The Sun Devils (1-5, 1-4 Pac-10) will compete alongside the ASU men’s club team for the first time since 2007, when they handed the Huskies a loss.
The team is hoping for some déjà vu.
ASU heads into the meet on the heels of its best performance of the season against the UA. The Sun Devils put up a combined season-high score and were tied with the Wildcats until the last event.
“[I’m] looking for the kids to capitalize on last week’s solid meet,” ASU coach John Spini said. “There’s no room for stumbling, and on the last event, they can’t let down mentally.”
The Huskies are 10-4 on the season, and are coming off of a weekend in which they defeated then-No. 9 Oregon State and then-No. 14 Illinois. They also beat unranked Eastern Michigan in a four-team meet. Washington is ranked in two events: 18th on vault and 25th on beam.
The Sun Devils are 23rd on beam as a team, and senior Nicole Harris is 17th in the event. She is just outside of the top 25 for all-around, currently ranked 27th.
“I’m confident on beam,” Spini said. “We’ve got to keep pushing harder on vault.”
The coach tweaked the vault lineup a bit against the Wildcats, and it looked like the team improved but still needs to work on the event.
The Sun Devils are improving week by week now because of the leadership from sophomore Beaté Jones and Harris, and the freshmen have been stepping up as the season has progressed.
“I’m really pleased with Beaté as a leader and team person, and I’m pleased with [freshman] Kelly Reilly for coming in and working hard,” Spini said.
The Huskies have some star talent of their own. Senior Ashley Houghting is ranked third in the country on vault. Last week, she also won her sixth floor title of the season. The Washington team can be compared to ASU because of its lack of upperclassmen. The Huskies only have three seniors, no juniors.
To win their second meet of the year, the Sun Devils need to somehow lock down their final event where they have been having the most issues.
“They need to focus and do their job,” Spini said.
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