No. 16 Women's Gymnastics To Pac-10 Championships

March 19, 2002

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This Week --
In addition to competing for their first conference title since 1986, Arizona State's 16th-ranked women's gymnastics team (8-5-1 overall, 2-3-1 vs. Pac-10 opponents) will enjoy one last shot at improving its Regional Qualifying Score when the Sun Devils take to the floor of Maples Pavilion for the 2002 Pac-10 Championships in Stanford, Calif., Friday, March 23 at 6:00 p.m. PT. Fox Sports Net will televise the event on a tape-delayed basis, Friday, March 29 at 9:00 a.m.

The Field --
The Pac-10 Championships field includes seven teams, five of which are ranked in the top-20: No. 1 UCLA, No. 10 Stanford, No. 12 Arizona, No. 14 Oregon State, No. 16 Arizona State and unranked Washington and California. Pac-10 schools Washington State, Oregon and USC do not sponsor women's gymnastics teams.

Pac-10 Championship Notes --
With four conference crowns in their history, ASU hasn't won a league title since winning back-to-back Pac-10 crowns in 1985 and 1986. Since then, ASU has compiled three runner-up finishes, most recently in 1996. Over the last three years ASU has finished third (1999), fourth (2000) and fifth (2001) respectively.

ASU In The Rankings --
After one week at 13th, an idle ASU dropped to 16th in the current rankings. Two weeks removed from its season-high road score (196.100) ASU has a Regional Qualifying score of 195.135. By event, ASU is 18th on vault (48.895 RQS), tied for 12th on bars (49.075), unranked on beam and 16th on floor (49.215). In the preseason coaches poll ASU was ninth, just behind Stanford (8th) and just ahead of Oregon State (10th). Throughout the season, GymInfo rankings are based on one of the following: high score (Jan. 14, 21), average score (Jan. 28, Feb. 4, 11, 18), regional qualifying score (Feb. 25 thru season's end). Current rankings are available on Page 2 of this release. For more info access www.gyminfo.com/troester.

Regional Qualifying Scores --
Regional Qualifying Scores (RQS) are calculated by taking a team's top six scores, of which three must be away scores, dropping the best score and averaging the remaining five. ASU's current RQS is based on averaging road scores at Utah State (196.100), California (195.025) and Washington (194.800), plus home scores at the UNO's Classic (195.800) and vs. Stanford (195.450). Its record total vs. Arizona (197.850) is dropped.

Recent Results --
Although held back by a team deduction on bars and a pair of falls on beam, the Sun Devils earned their best road score of the season, 196.100, to defeat Utah State (195.425) and Southern Utah (195.275) for the second time this season. ASU's highest score of the meet was a 9.925 on beam by sophomore Amber Giorgianni in just her second performance back after missing almost a year due to a torn ACL. For her efforts, Giorgianni was named the Pac-10's Gymnast of the Week for March 4-11.

Up Next --
While entire regional fields will be announced Monday, March 25, as meet host, Arizona State is guaranteed to compete at home at the NCAA South Central Regional, April 6 at Wells Fargo Arena. The competition begins at 6:00 p.m. The top-two teams at each regional advance to the NCAA Championships in Tuscaloosa, Ala., April 18-20.

All-American Laura Moon (senior) --
Having battled back from preseason knee surgery, Laura Moon has hit all eight of her routines this season for 9.8 or better. She made her season debut on bars at the UNO's Classic (Feb. 8) scoring a 9.825. She has competed on bars in each of the four meets since with a high score of 9.85 (Feb. 15 vs. Washington) and a season average of 9.825. Three meets ago, Moon made her comeback on beam, debuting for a 9.8 at the Masters Classic (Feb. 23). In ASU's meet vs. Arizona (Mar. 1), after scoring a 9.8 on bars Moon earned a career best 9.95 on beam. As her knee continues to strengthen, she may be able to compete on floor by season's end. Last year, her first as a Sun Devil after two team-MVP stints with the University of Maryland, Moon wasted no time working her way into the ASU record books. Against Auburn, in one of her 11 appearances in the all-around, Moon earned a school record total of 39.600. Helping her to that sum was Moon's second perfect 10.0 score on the uneven bars, causing her to join Danna Lister as the only Sun Devils ever to record a pair of perfect marks in the same season (Lister earned two 10.0s on beam in 1994). Moon also had season highs of 9.825 on vault, 9.925 on beam and 9.925 on floor. Out of a combined 49 routines, Moon scored 9.9 or better 11 times. At the NCAA Championships, Moon earned second-team All-America honors with her 17th-place finish in the all-around, scoring 39.100.

All-American Maggie Germaine (sophomore) --
Last season, Maggie Germaine was the only Sun Devil to compete in the all-around at all 13 meets, hitting an impressive 46-of-52 routines, including 41 of her last 44. Through seven meets this season, Germaine continued her all-around role. Yet while 17 of her 21 combined routines on vault, bars and floor had gone for 9.8 or better, Germaine was 0-7 on beam, suffering a fall on the apparatus at each meet. Germaine was removed from the beam lineup for the first time of her career vs. Arizona (Mar. 1) and responded by tying her career-high on bars with a 9.9, while improving her career bests on vault and floor from 9.925s to 9.95s. Germaine has 2002 averages of 9.786 (v), 9.841 (ub), 9.210 (bb), 9.863 (fx) and 38.785 (aa). In 2001, Germaine was named ASU's co-MVP with Laura Moon after becoming the first Sun Devil freshman to earn All-America honors since Elizabeth Reid in 1997 (second-team, vault). Her season-best all-around total of 39.550, scored against Arizona, tied her with Amy Shelton (1997) for third all-time at ASU. Her event-by-event highs were 9.925 on vault, 9.9 on bars, 9.875 on beam and 9.925 on floor. Seven of Germaine's final 28 routines were scored at 9.9 or better.

Ashley Ellsberry (junior) --
Who is the Sun Devils' next All-America candidate? Look no further than Ashley Ellsberry, ASU's most consistent beam and floor artist over the past two seasons. On beam, Ellsberry has a pair of 9.9s and a 9.925 to stand as her season bests and has hit 19 of her last 21 routines over the past two seasons. On floor, where she has hit 20 of her last 21 routines, she has scored 9.85 or better six times this season, including a career best 9.925. Ellsberry has added bars to her resume in 2002, hitting five of seven routines for 9.75-or-higher, including her career best 9.875 in ASU's last meet at Utah State. Last year, after suffering falls on beam and floor in the season opener, Ellsberry responded by hitting her final 24 routines, scoring at 9.8 or better 17 times.

Rhonda Robinette (senior) --
One of two seniors on the squad, Rhonda Robinette saved her best for last. In the final regular season home meet of her career, Robinette scored a perfect-10.0 on beam vs. Arizona. The 16th perfect score in ASU history, sixth all-time on beam and first on beam since 1997, Robinette's effort improved her personal best from a 9.925. After coming out of the gate slowly, four of Robinette's last six beam routines have earned 9.85s or better. She is also enjoying one of her most productive seasons on bars, hitting the 9.8 plateau four times including a career-high 9.85 vs. California. Last year, Robinette appeared on beam in all 13 meets, and competed on bars seven times. One of her two season-high 9.8s on bars was turned in at the NCAA Central Regional. On beam, Robinette suffered only three falls, with the rest of her 10 routines all going for 9.8 or better.

Cassidy Vreeke (junior) --
A huge factor in ASU's record-setting performance vs. Arizona was Cassidy Vreeke, who went for 9.9 on floor while improving her all-time bests on vault and beam from 9.875s to 9.925s. Vreeke followed that performance by scoring a 9.7 on vault, 9.825 on beam and 9.9 on floor at Utah State. Save the Washington meet, which she sat out due to injury, Vreeke has appeared on vault and floor in every meet, and on beam in seven of nine meets. On floor, three of her last four routines have scored a 9.9 or higher. Last season at the Pac-10 Championships, Vreeke earned ASU's highest score of the meet with her career best 9.95.

Margaret Wojciak (junior) --
As a junior, Magaret Wojciak is putting together arguably the best season of her career. She has a pair of career-high tying 9.9s on bars and has scored above her previous career high of 9.75 on floor three times, with a best of 9.875 recorded vs. Washington. Also at Washington, despite taking a fall on beam, Wojciak improved her best in the all-around to 38.650. She has hit five of seven vaults this year and is coming off back-to-back 9.8s. On bars, she has scored no worse than a 9.75 over her last six routines. Last year, Wojciak posted eight scores at 9.8 or better on bars with three 9.9s, and scored a pair of career-high 9.8s on beam at the NCAA Regional and NCAA Championships (semifinal).

Youth Movement --
In its quest to return to the NCAA Championships, ASU is relying heavily on the performances of its three freshman, Trisha Dixon (Fair Oaks, Calif.), Nicole Gause (College Station, Texas) and Kari Muth (Mesa, Ariz.). Dixon has been the most consistent, with only two falls in 20 routines. Her strongest meet of the season was the UNO's Classic in which she set career bests of 9.8 on vault and 9.9 on beam (other bests: 9.675 (ub), 9.525 (fx) and 38.500 (aa)). She has found consistency on vault, hitting her last four attempts for 9.725 or better. Gause has competed seven times on vault, led by two scores of 9.8, and once on floor (9.5). She has been hampered by a sprained ankle. Muth has been the most dynamic rookie, competing on bars, beam and floor in all but one meet this season. She is coming off back-to-back solid performances: 9.9 (ub), 9.85 (bb), 9.925 (fx) vs. Arizona, 9.775 (ub), 9.875 (bb), 9.9 (fx) at Utah State.

Important Imports --
ASU welcomed a pair of transfers in the off-season, and both sophomore Carla DeMartini and junior Melissa Lewis have made an impact in 2002. DeMartini, who spent her freshman season at the University of Oklahoma, sat out the first meet of the season but has been an important part of ASU's floor lineup since with a 9.737 average, including a career-best 9.9 at the UNO's Classic. Her last three vaults have earned two 9.875s and a 9.825, and on her last routine on bars scored a 9.825. Lewis comes to ASU from Cal State Fullerton and has added depth to ASU's vault lineup. She suffered a fall (9.375) in her only competitive performance, but has exhibition scores of 9.6 and 9.65.

New & Improved --
Walk-on Jada Cox is having a breakthrough sophomore season after competing sparingly as a freshman. In 2001, Cox didn't compete until the ninth meet, but filled in admirably down the stretch completing three vaults for 9.7-or-better over ASU's final five meets. In 2002, Cox has hit all nine of her vaults to lead the team with a 9.788 average. Even her lowest score (9.65) was good enough to earn third-place honors vs. UCLA. Her other eight vaults have gone for 9.725 or better. In ASU's last four meets she's also appeared on floor, with three marks at 9.7 or higher. Against Arizona, Cox posted career-highs in both events: 9.925 on vault and 9.825 on floor.

Comeback Trail --
Senior All-American Laura Moon isn't the only Sun Devil making a comeback from knee surgery this year. In ASU's March 1 meet vs. Arizona, sophomore Amber Giorgianni appeared in official competition for the first time in almost exactly a year, earning a 9.8 on beam. The following week at Utah State, Giorgianni set a personal best on beam with a first-place score of 9.925. As a result of her strong comeback, Giorgianni was named the Pac-10 Gymnast of the Week for March 4-11. Last season, Giorgianni was enjoying a fine freshman campaign (highs: 9.825v, 9.875bb) before tearing her ACL in vault warm-ups before the ninth meet of the season (vs. Auburn).

Beam Blues? --
Through seven meets of the season, the Sun Devils couldn't slay the dragon that is balance beam. Traditionally one of its strongest events, ASU had outscored only two opponents on the apparatus (California, Southern Utah), suffering at least three falls on beam in the other five meets -- hitting only 23 of 42 routines overall. But in ASU's eighth meet vs. Arizona, it all came together. The Sun Devils hit all six routines for the first time this season, its lowest score being Amber Giorgianni's 9.8. Meanwhile, Kari Muth set a personal best with a 9.8 and Ashley Ellsberry had a season-high 9.925, matching Cassidy Vreeke who improved her career best from 9.875. Laura Moon upped her best to 9.95, and fellow senior Rhonda Robinette stole the show with ASU's first perfect-10.0 on beam since 1997. It was all enough for the Sun Devils to set a school record with an event total of 49.650. ASU suffered two falls the following meet at Utah State, which means ASU has had to score a fall on beam in every meet but two.

It's A Hit --
While the accomplishment of 13 personal bests no doubt played a role, the secret to ASU's school record success vs. Arizona had as much to do with the number of routines successfully completed. ASU hit a season-best 23-of-24 routines, with Carla DeMartini's 9.3 on floor, Trisha Dixon's 9.725 on vault and Margaret Wojciak's 9.775 on bars standing as the only sub-9.8 scores of the night. Boosted by consistency, ASU tallied 13 scores at 9.9 or better, just two shy of its total for the previous seven meets combined (15).

Regional Action Up Next --
The Sun Devils have one more home meet this season, when they compete in the NCAA South Central Regional, April 6, at 6:00 p.m. in Wells Fargo Arena. March 25, the top-18 teams in the nation (based on RQS) are seeded out to the six regional meets (3 apiece), with the remaining team spots (three per meet) filled by teams within the region. Four event specialists (1 per event) and five all-arounders will also compete at each regional.

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