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ASU Gymnastics: Gym Devils struggle, fall to Cyclones in season opener

(Photo: Tyler Paley/WCSN)

In a “Beauty and the Beast” style meet that featured both gymnastics and wrestling, the Arizona State gymnastics team fell to Iowa State on the road on Friday in its first meet of the 2017 season.

Arizona State started the evening on bars with three freshmen making their debuts on the apparatus. Freshman Ashley Szafranski was a standout in her first meet as a Gym Devil, earning a 9.725, thanks in part to a stuck landing on her dismount. Junior transfer Nichelle Christopherson and freshman Graycee Rushton were also of help to ASU, scoring a 9.675 and 9.625, respectively. Sophomore Katelyn Lentz fell during her routine which led to an 8.350.

Iowa State began the meet on vault. Freshman Meaghan Sievers earned an event-high 9.825. All-around sophomore Haylee Young scored a 9.725, helping to push the Cyclones 0.275 points over the Gym Devils in the first rotation.

The Gym Devils had a solid second rotation competing on vault. Freshman Jessica Ginn made her debut with a 9.650. Sophomore Morgan Wilson, who missed nearly half the season last year due to injury, recorded a 9.700 on vault, tying her career-high. Lentz earned a 9.600 to add to her all-around competition.

Young scored an event-high 9.800 on the bars, once again adding a high score to her all-around. Also earning higher scores on the event were freshman Madeline Johnson and sophomore Briana Ledesma, scoring 9.750 and 9.700, respectively. The Cyclones finished the second rotation only 0.850 points above the Gym Devils.

For the third rotation of the night, the Gym Devils competed on the floor. Freshman Mekayla Jones had a respectable debut on the event scoring a 9.500. Major deductions led to lower scores for both sophomore Corinne Belkoff and Lentz, earning a 9.225 and 9.175, respectively. Christopherson continued to shine in her debut as a Gym Devil, scoring a 9.725 on floor.

Iowa State continued to pull ahead in the third rotation on the balance beam, receiving a cumulative total of 48.450. The Cyclones led the Gym Devils by 1.675 points after three.

For the fourth and final rotation, Arizona State took to the beam. Senior Beka Conrad performed her only routine of the night, scoring a 9.100. Sophomore Justine Callis and Christopherson both earned strong scores on the event. Callis scored a 9.725 and Christopherson scored a 9.700. Szafranski earned a 9.750 to close out her solid collegiate debut.

Her score was the highest any Gym Devil received all night.

Young won the all-around competition after finishing with 39.250. Lentz finished second with a total score of 35.725 after recording falls on two events.

The Gym Devils ultimately fell short to the Cyclones, 193.850-191.800.

Next up, the Gym Devils will travel to Colorado to take on No. 14 Denver on Saturday, Jan. 14 at 6 p.m.

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