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ASU Gymnastics: Gym Devils capture first conference win in 3 years, beat Arizona

(Photo: Gabrielle Mercer/WCSN)

The Arizona State gymnastics team traveled to Tucson on Sunday and walked away with a Territorial Cup victory against in-state rival Arizona, posting a season-high team score.

The Gym Devils started the meet strong on the uneven bars. Sophomores Eileen Imbus and Morgan Wilson both hit a career-highs, scoring a 9.825 and 9.850, respectively. Freshman Ashley Szafranski hit her third consecutive 9.8+ of the season, posting a 9.800. Junior Nichelle Christopherson continued the 9.8+ streak, earning a season-high 9.875. The Gym Devils broke the 49.0+ mark for the second time this season with a season-best 49.025 total on the bars.

The Wildcats began the first rotation on vault. Freshmen Jenny Leung and Heather Swanson as well as junior Madison Cindric all earned scores of 9.8+.

ASU led UofA 49.025-48.925 after the first rotation.

Arizona State moved to vault for the second rotation of the afternoon. Freshman Graycee Rushton started strong, tying her career-best 9.700. Sophomore Katelyn Lentz recorded a career-high 9.825. Wilson continued the upward trend, scoring her second career-high of the meet with a 9.850 on vault. Freshman Jessica Ginn hit a solid 9.800 to earn the third 9.8+ on the apparatus. The Gym Devils earned another season-high total on an event with a 48.850.

Arizona moved to the uneven bars for the second rotation. The Wildcats recorded a couple of falls on the apparatus, but junior Victoria Ortiz earned the top bars score of the meet with a 9.925. Senior Krysten Howard tied for second on the event with a 9.875.

The Gym Devils continued to lead the Wildcats 97.875-97.625 after two rotations.

For the third rotation of the afternoon, ASU competed on the floor exercise. The Gym Devils struggled on this event with four girls stepping out of bounds. Christopherson and Ginn were two of the competitors who stepped out of bounds, but still earned scores of 9.775 and 9.700, respectively. Freshman Morgan Hart returned to the floor lineup after being out for five weeks with a bruised heel. The freshman notched a 9.750. Lentz anchored the event for the Gym Devils, tying her career-high score of 9.850.

Arizona was on the beam for the third rotation. Aside from the two falls recorded on this event, the Wildcats earned four scores of 9.800 or better. Howard earned a 9.825 along with sophomore Haylie Hendrickson.

The Gym Devils closed the competition on the balance beam. Sophomore Justine Callis led things off, earning a career-high 9.775. Senior Beka Conrad recorded a fall on the beam, but sophomore Heather Udowitch made up for it, hitting a season-high and matching her career-high score of 9.800. Lentz continued her career-best afternoon, posting another career-high 9.875 on the beam. Szafranski followed Lentz with her second 9.800 of the meet. Christopherson closed the meet for ASU, earning a career-high 9.900. The Gym Devils posted another season-best and their third 49.0+ total of the season with a 49.150 on the balance beam.

UofA closed the meet on the floor exercise. Howard earned the top event honors with a score of 9.925. Junior Kennady Schneider posted a high 9.900 on her self-choreographed routine. The Wildcats finished with a strong 49.200 total on floor.

The Gym Devils pulled off the upset, beating No. 23 Arizona 195.700-195.375. This was the first conference win for ASU since beating Arizona back in Feb. 2014 and its first regular season conference win since its victory over Washington in Jan. 2014.

Christopherson took home first place in the all-around with a career-high score of 39.150. Christopherson also earned the balance beam title with her pivotal 9.900 on the apparatus. Wilson won the vault title with a career-best 9.850.

The Gym Devils will close the regular season with a tri-meet at home against the Sacramento State Hornets and the Bridgeport Knights on Friday, March 10 at 7 p.m. The meet with take place at Wells Fargo Arena and will be streamed live on Pac-12 Plus.

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