ASU Women's Gymnastics Team Finishes First at NCAA North Central Regional

April 8, 2006

AMES, Iowa - Led by senior Ashley Kelly who won the all-around title with a 39.525, the No. 11 Arizona State women's gymnastics team took first place with a score of 196.675 at the NCAA North Central Regional Championship in Ames, Iowa. With the first-place finish the Sun Devils automatically qualify for the 2006 NCAA Championships taking place Apr. 20-22 in Corvallis, Ore.

For the Sun Devils it is their third NCAA Regional Championship and their first since 1987. With the automatic berth the Sun Devils will be headed to the NCAA Championships as a team for the 19th time in 25-year history of the NCAA Championships.

Also gaining an automatic berth to the NCAA Championships were the Iowa State Cyclones, who finished in second place with a score of 195.725. Coming in third place was the University of Arizona with a 195.4, followed by the University of Denver in fourth place (195.25), the University of Minnesota in fifth place (194.675) and Brigham Young University in sixth place (192.125).

ASU started the competition on vault where it hit five of its six routines to score a 49.125. Kelly led the way with a 9.875, the seventh time this season she scored a 9.875 or higher in the event. Also scoring a 9.8 or higher for the Sun Devils were senior Lauren Powell (9.85), junior April Boone (9.825) and freshman Nicole Harris (9.8). Freshman Ashlee Hinkle also contributed to ASU's vault total with a 9.775.

After a bye, the Sun Devils moved to the uneven bars where they hit all six of their routines and scored a 49.175. Kelly and Harris paced ASU by registering a pair of 9.9s. For Kelly, it marked the sixth time she scored a 9.9 or higher on bars this season while for Harris it tied the second-highest bars score of her career. Boone started the event for ASU, scoring a 9.675. Freshman Tiana Jean would follow by scoring a 9.825, which tied her career high. Junior Cassandra Jusino and Powell would both tally scores of 9.775 before Harris and Kelly closed out the event with the aforementioned 9.9s.

ASU continued its steady performance on balance beam where it had five gymnasts score 9.8 or higher to score a 49.175 in the event. The Sun Devils got off to a great start on beam as their first three competitors on in the event - Powell, Jusino and Hinkle - each scored a 9.8 before Boone tied her career best with a 9.875. After a 9.35 by Harris, Kelly came through with another outstanding performance, scoring a 9.9. Powell's 9.8 tied her season high in the event while Jusino's 9.8 represented her second-highest score of the season in the event. Kelly's 9.9 marked the fifth straight meet and the eighth time in 2006 that she has scored a 9.9 or higher on beam.

The Sun Devils closed out the competition on floor exercise where they scored a 49.2. Four Sun Devils scored a 9.825 or higher in the event led by Boone, who recorded a 9.9. Right behind Boone were Kelly and Harris, who each scored a 9.85. Hinkle added a 9.825 and Jusino concluded ASU's night of competition with a 9.775.

The Sun Devils return to action when they travel to Corvallis, Ore., for the 2006 NCAA Women's Gymnastics Championships taking place Apr. 20-22 at Gil Coliseum on the campus of Oregon State University.

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