Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.

ASU gymnasts are reaching new heights in Barrett, The Honors College

The Gym Devils are setting themselves up for success both in and out of the gym

230120 WRE-GYM Beauty and the Beast(RVA)-134.jpg
ASU junior all around gymnast Sarah Clark performing on the floor at the Beauty and The Beast event vs. Stanford at Desert Financial Arena on Friday, Jan. 20, 2023. ASU lost 196.225-196.050.

The Gym Devils are coming off another strong weekend, scoring a season-high against UCLA and remaining No. 20 in the rankings. Even with these new strides in the gym, academics still come first for the team. 

There are 19 women on the roster for this season. Nine of them are also in Barrett, The Honors College. Why would more than half the team want to tackle honors on top of their rigorous workload and commitment to gymnastics? 

Barrett was actually the deciding factor for some of the women to choose ASU.  

"ASU really encourages their student-athletes to get involved in the Barrett program, which I thought was so cool and a lot of places don't do that," senior Jordyn Jaslow said.

There are currently 63 student-athletes enrolled in Barrett and gymnastics has the second highest amount of Barrett students on their team. Lacrosse is the only sport with more honors students, with 13 of their athletes currently part of Barrett. 

Sophomore Alex Theodorou said she believes Barrett will enrich her studies and set her up for more success in the future as a medicinal chemistry major.

"Barrett was actually a really big selling point for me. I really wanted to be able to challenge myself and provide the opportunity for me to grow academically," Theodorou said. 

She said she's also excited to work on her thesis project in the next two years. 

"The thesis at the end was really interesting to me because I've never really had an opportunity to make my own project with something I'm interested in that can be so beneficial after college." 

The thesis project that caps all students' time at Barrett allows them to dive deeper into a subject they're passionate about. Some of the Gym Devils have already begun their projects and are making an impact on different communities. 

"I am currently working with children with Down syndrome, and we're looking to see if cycling therapy and exercise is something that can help their self-efficacy and exercise perception. So it's been a really neat experience," Jaslow said. 

Junior Sarah Clark is starting to consider her topic for the thesis project. She wishes to pursue a career as a doctor or physician assistant, and one of the topics she's contemplating is mental health and its effect on athletes. 

"The idea that I have right now is writing a paper, doing research on pre-med students and how we deal with stress," Clark said. "I might try to incorporate mental health, stress with pre-med students, maybe incorporating student-athletes."

Her teammate Izzy Redmond is also incorporating athletes into her thesis. The senior is researching the mental health of athletes, especially gymnasts, and how they're conditioned to overlook struggles with mental health. 

"I think something unique to gymnastics is just that you start in the sport really young, and that's kind of how it is for most sports, but I think that it leads to a lot of this conditioning and growing up with these ideas that you're not allowed to be weak, you're not allowed to cry, which can impact you way later in life," Redmond said. 

Redmond has been competing on and off with the Gym Devils since her freshman year but has had a tumultuous career due to injuries. She had to make the decision to retire and is still involved in the sport as a student manager. 

Her own experience with the sport has influenced her decision to focus on mental health for her thesis. 

"Growing up in the sport, there's a lot of toxicity in the culture that is just at the beginning of being addressed, and my experience in club when I was younger," Redmond said. "I saw really great coaches who did a lot of work to support me, and I also saw really terrible coaches, so that was something that was very personal for me."

Redmond said this perspective has helped redirect her career path with her conservation biology and ecology major. 

"I've kind of started to gear my career interest toward social aspects, social injustices and mental health is a big one," Redmond said. "It's a big topic in our society and media today."

For some of the Gym Devils, like freshman Kayla Lee, the thesis project is a faraway thought. She's still finding her footing as a student-athlete juggling gymnastics, academics and Barrett. 

"It was a big adjustment for me, but now that I'm in my routine and plan, it's been really nice," Lee said.

Lee also has an older sister, Jenna, who is a student-athlete at ASU and a Barrett student. Having the extra resource and seeing her sister succeed has helped Lee adjust. 

Adjusting to Barrett has been a task for all the women, but it's a challenge they can handle. The gymnasts are always looking to reach new heights in their academics and are motivated to do well in school.

"We're athletes. We're used to being in high-stress situations," Clark said. "We can pull through and get it done. That's one of the biggest things that I've learned from gymnastics, just how to deal with stress and pressure, and so I can relate that to school."

Edited by Kathryn Field, Reagan Priest and Caera Learmonth.

Reach the reporter at and follow @kat_m67 on Twitter.

Like The State Press on Facebook and follow @statepress on Twitter.

Continue supporting student journalism and donate to The State Press today.

Subscribe to Pressing Matters



This website uses cookies to make your experience better and easier. By using this website you consent to our use of cookies. For more information, please see our Cookie Policy.