(Photo: Gabrielle Mercer/WCSN)
Arizona State finished its regular season off with a third-place finish and a 194.925 score in a home tri-meet against Sacramento State and Bridgeport.
The Gym Devils were coming off a monumental win last weekend against rival University of Arizona. Before that, the last time ASU beat the Gym Cats was in 2014.
ASU freshman Graycee Rushton started ASU off strong on the vault hitting a career high of 9.750. The Gym Devils struggled on this apparatus all year but they continued to show improvement as sophomoreas Katelyn Lentz and Morgan Wilson and freshman Jessica Ginn kept the momentum going all earning scores of 9.800.
Bridgeport showed clean routines on the floor throwing in D- and E-valued elements to close out many of their routines. The extra difficulty level proved vital pulling the team into first at the end of the first rotation with a 48.825. The Purple Knights’ highest scores on the floor came from senior Brianna Comport and freshman Maya Reimers who each scored a 9.800.
Sacramento State came out solid on the uneven bars with junior Megan Kyle scoring 9.725. The Hornets would continue to post solid scores with the rest of the scores of this apparatus no lower than a 9.700. The highest score being a 9.825, posted by sophomore Courteney Ng.
For the second rotation, Katelyn Lentz led the Gym Devils tying her season high on the uneven bars with a 9.725. This was Lentz’s first time competing on the bars since the team faced UCLA over a month ago. Sophomore Eileen Imbus posted a 9.800, coming close to her season high of a 9.825. Junior Nichelle Christopherson anchored the Gym Devils and tied her season high of 9.875.
Bridgeport came out slow on the vault with the first three scores sub-9.700. Freshman Nina Whittaker helped her team get back into it scoring a 9.725 and Reimers kept the momentum going earning a 9.825. However, Whittaker and Reimer’s solid routines were not enough to offset the rest of the team’s struggles and the Purple Knights fell from first place to last with a 97.375 after the second rotation.
Sacramento State continued to put out solid routines on the beam in the second rotation. Senior Julia Konner and Kyle both earned a 9.700 in the one and two spot for the Hornets. Ng and junior Courtney Soliwoda came next, each earning a 9.800 to help the team earn another score of 48.000.
ASU sophomore Justine Callis came out strong on the beam hitting a career high of 9.800. Lone Sun Devil senior Beka Conrad competed for the last time at Wells Fargo Arena and was honored after the meet. She nearly fell off in the middle of the routine but was able to save it and earned a 9.625.
“Right before my dismount I looked down the beam and I saw my team standing there and my coaches standing there,” Conrad said. “That was probably the best feeling ever, to know they had complete confidence in me.”
ASU continued to struggle on the beam with sophomore Heather Udowitch missing her ariel during her dismount and falling on her landing. Lentz came next with a much-needed bounce back routine for the Devils, scoring a 9.825. Freshman Ashley Szafranski tied her season high with a 9.825.
The Purple Knights took on the vault next looking to come back from their struggles on the second rotation. However, they came out slow again with senior Cheyenne Keller earning a low score of 9.525. Reimer was the one bright spot for the team earning a 9.825, helping her team get to 48.550 for the third rotation.
Freshman Alexis Belkoff, the sister of ASU sophomore Corinne Belkoff, came out strong for Sacramento State earning a 9.700. The team continued to post solid scores with sophomores Caitlin Soliwoda, Lauren Rice, and Jennifer Brenner all earning scores of 9.800 or higher.
For the last rotation the Gym Devils rolled onto the floor. The team made a last minute lineup change having Callis lead off for the team instead of Belkoff. Belkoff had a few falls during warmups and it proved to be a positive change for the Devils as Callis earned a score of 9.750. Christopherson fell during her final pass, leaving her with a low score of 9.050. Ginn also helped contribute posting a career high of 9.775. ASU continued to have trouble with the last pass as freshman Morgan Hart fell on her final pass too, forcing the Devils to count a fall.
Bridgeport had another slow start for the fourth rotation. Freshman Julianna Drapkin had a few wobbles leaving her with a low score of 9.525. The team rallied after the slow start all earning scores above 9.725. Carol Chiles earned a 9.875 and Comport earned a 9.925, both season highs.
Sac State freshman Tara Catour helped her team get off to a strong start earning a 9.800 on the vault. After the strong lead the team struggled to get past a 9.750 leaving them with an overall score of 48.725, their lowest score of the night.
Arizona State head coach Jay Santos reflected on the meet and looked to what the team needed to work on for the upcoming Pac-12 Championships.
“We need to get back in the gym and focus on being clean and hitting routines,” Santos said.
Up next, the Gym Devils will travel to Palo Alto, Calif. for the Pac-12 Gymnastics Championships on March 18. The meet will be broadcasted live on Pac-12 Networks.