Arizona State Gymnastics Inks Three Gymnasts to Compete for the Sun Devils

Nov. 17, 2006

TEMPE, Ariz. - Arizona State gymnastics' program signs three gymnasts to compete for the 2007-08 season announces head coach John Spini. Mary Atkinson of Chesapeake, Va., Francesca Mercurio of San Mateo, Calif., and Stephannie Moore of Henderson, Nev., all signed National Letters of Intent to study and compete at Arizona State.

Mary Atkinson shows off her Sun Devil pride.

Atkinson, a Level 10 gymnast who trains at Ocean Tumblers, was the runner-up on bars at the 2005 Junior Nationals where she also placed ninth on vault and eighth in the all-around. In 2006, she took first place on vault at the Region 7 Championships. As well as being a strong gymnast, she is also an excellent student coming to ASU with a 4.34 GPA and is planning on enrolling in the Barrett Honors College.

'Mary is very strong on bars, floor and vault,' says Spini, 'She is a very elegant gymnast and we look forward to her being a standout in the gym and in the classroom.'

Another Level 10 gymnast, Mercurio, who trains at Byers Sacramento, is expected to compete primarily on uneven bars and balance beam for the Sun Devils, although she could compete on the vault as well. She was the 2004 National Champion on vault. In 2006, she was the state champion on beam and went on to place third at nationals. On bars, she placed second at regionals in 2006 and eighth at Nationals the same year.

Francesca Mercurio signs her letter of intent to go to ASU.

'We're excited about Francesca because we don't feel like she's peaked as a gymnast,' says Spini, 'Since switching gyms this past year she has increased her skill level immensely. We feel like she will keep improving as time goes on.'

Moore, who trains at Brown's Gymnastics in Las Vegas, was the 2006 Level 10 Beam State Champion. She also placed second on vault, floor, and in the all-around at the state championships. She is expected to train in the all-around for the Devils.

'Stephannie is a very dynamic and powerful athlete, with her strengths being on vault and floor,' says Spini. 'She has struggled on bars in the past but has really stepped it up this year and increased her difficulty level. She will likely compete in the all-around for us.'

The Sun Devils begin the 2007 season at Stanford on Jan. 19. They compete in their first home meet on Jan. 26 against UCLA.

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