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ASU gymnastics focusing on small details heading into Pac-12 Tournament

Confident in their lineup, the Sun Devils head into the postseason looking to make their mark


ASU junior Justine Callis lands her beam routine during a meet against Washington at Wells Fargo Arena in Tempe, Arizona, on Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018.

The No. 17 ASU women’s gymnastics program is preparing to travel to Tucson for the Pac-12 Tournament this weekend. After a historically impressive season, the Sun Devils hope to correct their mistakes from last year's tournament where they finished in last place with a score of 195.600. 

This season, with a year under their belt and impressive gymnasts to back them, the Sun Devils are looking bright as they head into Saturday’s competition. ASU currently sits below five of their Pac-12 opponents in the NCAA rankings, however, its spot on the list of top-25’s does not detail the impressive season they’ve had thus far.

Their toughest opponent will come from No. 4 overall Utah. The Sun Devils fell to the Utes 197.075-195.400 earlier in the season, and despite putting up their second-lowest score, several Sun Devils notched career highs including juniors Anne Kuhm and Heather Udowitch

While the team is confident heading into the competition, one thing they all agree on is the need to focus on the small details above all else. 

“The focus every week wherever we are, however our performance was the week before, is just trying to come back in here and find those little details,” head coach Jay Santos said. “Whether it be landings or handstands or form or your breathing, just being calm opposed to being a little tight or rushed.”

Santos said the team has been in that mode for a while now, and that their main goal has been to find the perfect routine in practice so that they can replicate it during the meets.

“When it comes to competition, they can really think back and rely on that practice a little bit more and try to find that great performance that they want, when they want it,” Santos said.

Junior Justine Callis agreed and said she believes the team has done well this season and that everyone in the lineup has done a good job of hitting their landings thus far.

“I think that a lot of people have stepped up, and I don’t think we have any problem with our lineups at this point,” Callis said. “We don't have any problems with people making us nervous, we’re confident with everyone going in.”

One of the main components each gymnast and coach harped on heading into the postseason is repetition. Callis stated that in preparation for the tournament, there was no reason to “reinvent the wheel”, but to keep doing what they’ve been doing and work on the technicalities. Kuhm reiterated Callis’ point.

“We are really focusing on all the details and just doing what you do at practice because we all do a really good job and I think the little details can have a huge difference,” Kuhm said.

With the Sun Devils itching to improve from last season's faults, it’s safe to say they will be strong competitors in the postseason tournament this year. With the roster focusing in on the details of the game, and the likes of freshman phenom Cairo Leonard-Baker and Kuhm leading the way, the Sun Devils are sure to make their mark. 

The Sun Devils are currently listed as competing in Session 1 for the Pac-12 Tournament. The tournament will be broadcast on the Pac-12 Network on March 24. Session 1 will begin at 1 p.m. MST, with Session 2 following soon after at 6 p.m.  

Reach the reporter at or follow @KellyBSays on Twitter. 

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