(Photo: Tyler Paley/WCSN)
The Gym Devils were back in Wells Fargo Arena on Saturday for their second Pac-12 meet against the No. 5 UCLA Bruins. Arizona State earned a season-high total but ultimately fell to UCLA.
The Gym Devils started the afternoon on vault. Freshman Graycee Rushton led things off for ASU, scoring a season-high 9.700. Three 9.750s from sophomores Corinne Belkoff and Katelyn Lentz and freshman Jessica Ginn followed. ASU scored a season-high total 48.675 on vault.
UCLA began the meet on the uneven bars. Freshman Madison Kocian, an Olympic gold medalist in the 2016 summer games, was the first to compete for the Bruins, scoring a 9.850. Junior JaNay Honest posted a 9.875 while redshirt senior Christine Peng-Peng Lee earned an event-high 9.925. The Bruins collected a 49.300 on the first rotation of the night.
For the second rotation, the Gym Devils competed on the uneven bars. ASU hit several season highs on an event they have been struggling on. Rushton posted another season-high 9.700 while Lentz earned a season-high 9.750. Sophomore Morgan Wilson scored a season-high 9.775. Freshman Ashley Szafranski earned a season- and team-high 9.875 on bars. The Gym Devils tallied a season-high 48.650 to bring their total to 97.325.
The Bruins competed on vault in the second rotation. Kocian and senior Angi Cipra both earned 9.875s on the apparatus. Freshman Kyla Ross – another former U.S. Olympian – scored an event-high 9.925. The Bruins led the Gym Devils 98.600-97.325 after two rotations.
ASU moved to beam for the third rotation. Sophomore Justine Callis was the first to compete on the event for the Gym Devils, scoring a 9.700. Senior Beka Conrad followed with a 9.725. Lentz continued to improve her all-around score, posting a season-high 9.800. Szafranski also scored a 9.800, earning her second season-high score of the afternoon.
UCLA was on floor for the third rotation. Sophomore Katelyn Ohashi earned a 9.875 for the Bruins. Senior Hallie Mossett posted a 9.900 while Kocian earned an event-high 9.950. The Bruins continued to lead the Gym Devils 147.900-145.650.
The Gym Devils competed on the floor exercise for the fourth rotation. Freshman Mekayla Jones tied her season-high score of 9.775 while Belkoff and Callis both earned season-high scores of 9.850. Rounding out the competition on floor was junior Nichelle Christopherson who scored a season-high 9.800. The Gym Devils earned a season-high 48.950 total on the floor exercise.
The Bruins closed the afternoon on the beam. Mossett earned a 9.875 while Kocian and Ross posted a 9.950 and 9.975, respectively. UCLA scored 49.300 on the apparatus.
ASU fell to UCLA, 197.200-194.600. The Bruins swept the event title, and Kocian came in first for the all-around with a total score of 39.625. Lentz earned the second-place all-around title with a season-high 38.950.
Szafranski and Christopherson said details are what the team needs to focus and improve on the most.
“We call it the Sun Devil Bubble and it’s just about like focusing on ourselves and focusing on our team, not worrying about like our competitor, and I thought it was awesome that we were able to compete against UCLA but we were also able to stay in the zone and push each other,” Christopherson said.
“I felt like we had a lot more energy today,” ASU head coach Jay Santos said. “I felt like we did more things like it is in practice than we have all year long. Expectations are always the same. We’ve got to go out, we want to hit 24-for-24 routines, we want to be clean.”
The Gym Devils will travel to Seattle next week to take on No. 18 Washington. The meet is scheduled to start at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 11 and will be on the Pac-12 Network.
PHOTO GALLERY: Check out our photo gallery from ASU vs. UCLA gymnastics