Sun Devil gymnastics freshmen propelling team to new heights

Three ASU freshmen set or tied career-highs in the team's win over Stanford

The ASU gymnastics team has reached new heights this year due to big contributions from its freshman class.

With six freshmen on the team, most expected this team to take a step back from last year, but the exact opposite has happened.

Freshmen Gracie Reeves, Juliette Boyer, Isabel Redmond and Hannah Scharf have all been a big reason as to why the Sun Devils have been so successful recently. 

In the past few weeks, the Sun Devils have hit their stride, upsetting No. 10 California at home, scoring their highest team score since 2006 and winning or tying three out of their last four Pac-12 meets. 

Although she now is one of the team's top performers, it took a while for Scharf to feel confident in her routines. 

“I started out really inconsistent at the beginning of the season,” Scharf said. “I knew the potential I had; I just wasn’t confident enough to actually get there. I knew once I was in a good place, I would really start to help my team out.”

Scharf said that head coach Jay Santos and associate head coach Jessica Santos helped her settle down, which showed in her performance versus Washington. 

After the Sun Devils tied No. 13 Washington, Scharf was named the Pac-12 Freshman of the Week after her impressive showing as an all-around gymnast, scoring a 39.350 all-around score.

“I just wanted to improve each week,” Scharf said. “That was kind of like an extra little celebration for me. I wasn’t expecting it, but it was a good surprise.”

After that meet, Santos said the hard work his freshmen gymnasts have been putting in is finally starting to show. 

“We knew they were going to have to gain some experience,” Santos said. “We’re two-thirds of the way through the season at this point. They’ve got a lot of experience under their belt and I think it’s really starting to show in how they’re performing. All those little details are really starting to show.”

In the Sun Devils' most current meet, they defeated Stanford 196.575 to 195.975, with Reeves, Boyer and Scharf all setting or tying career-highs, playing an instrumental role for the team’s success.

Reeves said that her landing on vault in the Stanford meet reminded her why she works so hard in practice every day.

“At the last Stanford meet when I stuck my vault, it just makes me want to stick it every time cause it feels so awesome,” Reeves said. “I just really want to get after those landings and stick them because that’s the best feeling ever and you know you really nailed that routine.”

Despite Reeves' recent success, Jay Santos knows that there is still plenty of room to improve. 

“We want to just keep getting better. It’s not like we can’t build from here,” Santos said. “We just gotta keep taking care of the things we’ve been working on in the gym. Showing up in the competition and doing those same things, those details."


Reach the reporter at cfahrend@asu.edu and follow @chris_drop_ on Twitter.

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