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Falls on beam burn gymnastics in final home meet

For just the second time all season, the ASU women’s gymnastics team entered a meet as the favorite.

The squad came up short yet again.

It their second consecutive sub-par performance, the No. 23 Sun Devils (2-9) fell to Central Michigan 194.825-195.575 Friday night at Wells Fargo Arena in their final home meet of the 2010 season.

“We aren’t doing the job,” ASU coach John Spini said. “We’re not making the corrections in meets. We’re waiting to make [them] in practice.”

ASU executed on three out of its four events, tallying a monster score of 147.200, but gymnastics is a sport in which one bad rotation can kill a team.

The balance beam has been that defining event all year for ASU.

Three Sun Devils fell off the apparatus and consequently relegated the team to a meet-losing score of 47.625.

Both Spini and ASU freshman Nicole Johnson pointed to the same cause for the flounder.

“The last three days [of practice] we kept moving people in and out,” Spini said. “I [kind of] know what I want to do now, and now we are going to really not mess the beam lineup up.”

“I think we just have to fix our beam lineup,” Johnson said. “We are experimenting, you know, to see who’s going to fit in. We will get it right next time.”

ASU lost 1.250 points to the Chippewas (10-2) on that third rotation. The margin of defeat was 0.750 points.

If the Sun Devils would have matched their uneven bars and vault total of 48.975 on beam, they would have obliterated their previous season-high and scored a 196.175.

Johnson was the silver lining for ASU, as the standout freshman put together the best night of her young career, tallying a career-high on each of the three events she competed on.

“It means a lot, because I’ve been working hard all year,” Johnson said. “I’m glad I’m finally starting to come around and fulfill my potential. Hopefully I can keep it up the next three meets.”

Friday’s loss makes the Sun Devils’ last two away contests heading into Regionals crucial.

“They are must hits if we want to move up into the top 15 and have a good shot at Nationals,” Spini said. “And I don’t want to be in just three more meets. I want to have an opportunity for Nationals.”

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