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Gymnastics finds inspiration from other coaches

ASU gymnastics coach John Spini wants one thing and one thing only.

“I’m trying to figure out what’s going to get us to a national championship,” Spini said.

The coach has even brought in a few Sun Devil colleagues to help drive home his points.

“We’ve had almost every head coach come in here and speak to us,” Spini said. “We’ve had [ASU softball coach] Clint Myers in here and he’s an amazing speaker. I just want the kids to understand what other athletes and coaches are saying.”

Other guests have included women’s soccer coach Kevin Boyd and women’s golf coach Melissa Luellen.

It looks like Spini has made some friends over the past 30 years as a head coach at ASU.

“This is a program where we’ve struggled the last couple years with injury,” Spini said. “Now we have a group of healthy kids on the floor, and I want them to get that right feeling.”

The ASU women’s gymnastics team will try to take the advice they’ve been given and transform it into a Friday night upset of No. 7 Oregon State.

The No. 22 Sun Devils (2-7) are coming off their best performance of the season in a 195.900-196.675 loss to now-No. 6 Stanford.

“We will put it all out on the floor and see what happens,” Spini said. “I definitely am anxious to see if we can keep this momentum going.”

In each of the past four weeks, ASU has improved its score over its previous outing.

ASU sophomore Callie Price is confident the Sun Devils will reach the 196-point milestone this week for the first time this season.

“We keep improving each week, so I think we’ll get it,” Price said. “We’ve just got to keep our motivation going and our energy up in the gym.”

Price is a vault specialist and has been one of the team’s most consistent performers all season.

“I’m just hoping to nail my vault and put up a high score for the team,” Price said.

ASU hasn’t beaten the Beavers (9-2) since 2006.

OSU boasts fourth-ranked senior all-arounder Mandi Rodriguez.

“I do have some concerns,” Spini said. “Because usually a team that’s building like this is going to have some ‘Oh, are we going to keep going forward, or are we going to plateau and step back a little bit?’”

The Friday night contest will be a co-ed meet as the ASU men’s gymnastics club team will take on the Air Force Academy at the same time.

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