Gymnast Ashley Kelly Becoming Dominant In The All-Around
March 11, 2004
By Brian Gomez
TEMPE, Ariz. - If Arizona State gymnast Ashley Kelly continues at this pace, she'll have no problem filling her scrapbook by the end of the season.
The fast-rising sophomore, who doubles as a scrapbook maker over the summers, has become so proficient in the all-around that she's within shouting distance of making history in only her second year on the team.
Having claimed four straight all-around titles, Kelly can tie the school record Friday with a victory in the all-around when No. 22-ranked Arizona State meets Minnesota at Wells Fargo Arena.
That, no doubt, would be something to put in her scrapbook.
'I didn't even know I had won four in a row,' said Kelly, who ranks 10th nationally in the all-around with a regional qualifying score of 39.515. 'I'm not going to try to think about it, and just do what I've been doing.'
Kelly, the Pac-10 Conference Co-Gymnast of the Week, has reaped success this season mainly as a result of her ability to excel in her strong events and maintain adequate scores in her weaker ones.
Most of Kelly's points have come on the balance beam and the uneven bars, events in which she ranks in the top 10 nationally and in the top two in the South Central Region. Kelly could improve on the floor exercise and the vault, although she has scored high enough to prevent her all-around score from dropping.
'I don't think I'm a very strong tumbler,' Kelly said. 'I think I'm weak there, but that's just getting over my struggle of thinking I'm not good enough on the floor.'
Kelly's impressive string of all-around titles started Feb. 20 in Arizona State's annual UNO's Classic, and remained intact last week, when Kelly scored a 39.800 against Eastern Michigan to help the Sun Devils (9-6, 3-3 Pac-10) post a school-record score of 198.45.
Kelly was victorious the previous week at Nebraska's Masters Classic, shortly after she marked a school-record score of 39.875 against No. 11 Arizona. In the Arizona meet, she recorded 10s on the floor and the vault, her first perfect scores of the season.
'The team has really been what's helping me,' said Kelly, who lives with Arizona State sophomore gymnast Lauren Powell in an apartment. 'Whenever you have a team behind you, you know you can do it, and it makes it easier to compete.'