No. 16 ASU Gymnastics Opens Home Season Versus Washington

Jan. 13, 2003

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This Week --16th-ranked Arizona State begins its 28th season of women's gymnastics at home on Friday, January 17, versus Washington at 7:30 p.m. at Wells Fargo Arena. Friday's meet marks the second ranked opponent in 2003 for the Sun Devils, as they faced No. 8 Stanford Jan. 3 at the Maui Invitational. This meet will be the final tuneup before traveling to Salt Lake City, Utah to face No. 3 ranked Utah on Jan. 24.

ASU In The Rankings --Arizona State debuted at No. 15 in the GymInfo rankings, based on the preseason coaches poll released January 2. Pac-10 Conference foe UCLA was selected to win the crown with 752 overall votes and 20 first-place bids. ASU received 333 overall votes and is neighbored in the standings by No. 7 Stanford (570), No. 10 Arizona (444) and No. 13 Oregon State (355). Washington (17th, 268) rounds out the list of Pac-10 teams making the top-25. For a complete list of the current rankings see Page 2 of this release. For more information access http://www.troester.com/gym/.

2002 In Review --The Sun Devils began the 2002 season picked 9th in the coaches poll. They finished the season by being ranked 18th. ASU compiled a regular-season record of 8-5-1 en route to playing host to the NCAA South Central Regionals in Tempe. ASU's run to the postseason was derailed when senior Rhonda Robinette suffered a broken humerus bone (right arm) in a workout fall and missed the regional. Earlier in the year, Robinette haed become only the 10th Sun Devil ever to score a perfect 10.0 (on beam versus Arizona, its first in that event since 1997). ASU missed an NCAA Championships berth by 0.075 points, but did qualify senior Laura Moon as an all-arounder.

Last Week --The Sun Devils opened the 2003 season at the Maui Invitational and took second place with a score of 194.200, behind first-place Stanford (196.050). New Hampshire placed third (193.325) while San Jose State took fourth (189.825). Freshman Ashley Kelly placed third in the all-around competition with a 38.975 in her debut. Senior Cassidy Vreeke placed third on the vault with a 9.800 while Kelly also placed second on the uneven bars (9.825). The Sun Devils, under head coach John Spini, suffered a huge blow before the meet even began as senior Margaret Wojciak hyperextended her knee in warmups and had to be removed from vault and bars, thus jumbling much of the lineup.

Slow Starting Sun Devils --For all the times ASU has saved its best for last, perhaps it shouldn't be surprising that the Sun Devils don't have a reputation for flashy debuts. In fact, six of the last nine seasons have begun with ASU earning what would be its lowest team total of the year (exceptions: 1999, 2000, 2002). last season, ASU opened the year with a 193.350 showing versus Utah State. The following week, ASU posted its lowest score of the campaign, a 192.125 versus UCLA. After that, ASU posted its highest team total ever, a 197.850 against Arizona (3/1/02).

Super Frosh Debut --Freshman Ashley Kelly (York, Pa.) recorded a 38.975 all-around score in her college debut at the Maui Invitational (1/3), which was the highest all-around total at ASU since Elizabeth Reid's 39.300 at the NCAA Super Six, April 23, 1999 (representing a span of 45 months or 37 actual meets). Had it not been for a -0.1 point reduction on the floor exercise, Kelly would have posted a 39.075. Kelly's Maui Invite scores: 9.750 (vault); 9.825 (bars); 9.825 (beam); and 9.575 (floor).

The Streak --For 25 straight regular season meets -- including four in 2001 -- no one could overcome ASU at Wells Fargo Arena. Not even No. 1 UCLA. In that span, the Sun Devils defeated 39 consecutive opponents dating back to 1996. However, in the 2001 season finale, ASU beat Iowa and Kentucky, but could not top No. 7 Nebraska, which shot to No. 4 in the rankings after turning back ASU for only the third time in the last 44 meets at Wells Fargo Arena. The dates of ASU's last five home losses are as follows: Stanford (1/25/02), Nebraska (3/16/01), Utah (2/2/96), Utah (2/11/94), Oregon State (2/7/92).

Ashley Ellsberry (Senior)Posted a 38.400 in the all-around competition at the Maui Invitational (1/3/03) and placed seventh ... was inserted on vault and bars during pre-meet warmups when teammate Margaret Wojciak hyperextended her knee and could not compete ... she was not prepared for the change, but showed senior leadership in stepping in at the last moment ... that should help her confidence to get her into the vault permanently ... posted a 9.300 on vault, a 9.375 on bars, and a team-high 9.900 on beam and a 9.825 on floor at Maui ... the vault score was her first at ASU.

Cassidy Vreeke (Senior)Finished third on vault at the Maui Invitational with a 9.800 ... posted a 9.850 on floor, which tied for third with teammate Maggie Germaine ... she has looked the best of her career on vault and floor ... needs confidence on beam ... recorded a score of 9.250 on beam.

Margaret Wojciak (Senior)Suffered a hyperextension of her right knee in pre-meet warmups at the Maui invitational (1/3/03) and did not compete ... had to scratch from the vault and uneven bars ... teammate Ashley Ellsberry took her place in those events ... she is out for the 1/17/03 meet versus No. 17 Washington and is hopeful to return for Utah (1/24) ... coaches say she is important in the vault and then will add more events as the season progresses.

Jada Cox (Junior)Competed in one event at the Maui Invitational (1/3/03) and posted a score of 9.600 on vault ... is one of the keys to the vault lineup ... the coaches expect her to step up.

Carla DeMartini (Junior)Competed in three events at the Maui Invitational (1/3/03) ... posted scores of 9.700 (vault), 9.700 (bars) and 9.650 on floor ... has been training well on bars and is a solid performer on floor.

Maggie Germaine (Junior)Competed in three events in the Maui Invitational (1/3/03) ... scored a 9.800 on uneven bars, which tied her for third at the meet ... posted a 9.850 on floor, tying for third-place with teammate Cassidy Vreeke ... falls led to a 9.300 on beam ... has been training well overall ... should compete in the all-around competition versus Washington.

Amber Giorgianni (Junior)Competed in two events at the Maui Invitational (1/3/03) ... scored 9.650 on beam and 9.725 on bars ... the 9.725 on bars was an ASU career best (previous best being 9.200 in a 2002 exhibition performance) ... Amber has done a great job of starting ASU on bars ... also steady on beam.

Trisha Dixon (Sophomore)Will miss a portion of the 2003 season while rehabilitating her back ... suffers from a chronic back problem ... the coaching staff had high hopes for Dixon in 2003.

Kari Muth (Sophomore)Participated in three events in the Maui Invitational (1/3/03) ... scored a 9.825 on the balance beam ... turned in a 9.750 on bars and after a fall, posted a 9.150 on the floor exercise ... needs confidence on floor.

Ashley Kelly (Freshman)Turned in a marvelous college debut at the Maui Invitational (1/3) ... recorded a 38.975 all-around score, which was the highest all-around total since Elizabeth Reid's 39.300 at the NCAA Super Six, April 23, 1999 (a span of 45 months or 37 actual meets) ... will only get better throughout the season ... will prove to be a great leader.

Lauren Powell (Freshman)Will miss the entire 2003 season while rehabilitating a dislocated elbow ... scholarship student-athlete who did not compete in the Maui Invitational (1/3).

Shaena Friedman (Freshman)Competed in one event, the vault, at the Maui Invitational (1/3) ... recorded a 9.175 in that meet after a fall ... the coaches hope she will step up and start the vault lineup.

Sarah Zigler (Freshman)Walkon who did not compete in the Maui Invitational (1/3).

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