Sun Devils Sweep Pac-10 Weekly Gymnastics Honors

March 18, 2008

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WALNUT CREEK, Calif. - ARIZONA STATE's Francesca Mercurio and Tia Orlando have been named Pac-10 Gymnast of the Week and Pac-10 Event Specialist of the Week, respectively, for March 11-17, Commissioner Tom Hansen announced today. The Sun Devil sweep of the Pac-10 weekly gymnastics honors marks the second consecutive week and third time this season that an institution has garnered both accolades in the same week.

Mercurio, a freshman from San Mateo, Calif., won her first collegiate all-around competition in the Sun Devils' win against Ohio State. Mercurio tabulated a career-high 39.250 to take the competition. It is the first time Mercurio has bested the 39.0 mark as a Sun Devil. Leading up to her all-around score, Mercurio tallied three career-best individual event performances - vault, beam, and floor - that bolstered Arizona State to its best team score of the season, 196.175. Her 9.875 vault placed Mercurio second on the apparatus. She followed with a clean bar routine that scored a third-place 9.8. On beam, Mercurio's 9.825 (third) lifted the Sun Devils to a 49.225, their best beam score of the season. The freshman finished her career-high night with a best-ever floor score of 9.750.

Orlando, a junior from Philadelphia, Pa., added her own headlines to the Sun Devil lineup and carried her team to its first home win of the season. Competing in three events for the first time this season, Orlando nailed career-high performances on all three. She placed first on bars, matching her best score ever on the event of 9.850. Orlando also tied her 9.875 personal best on beam, good enough for second place and yet another determining factor that led to the team's beam record. Orlando now ranks fifth in the Conference on beam. The winner of the floor competition at the 2003 Pan American Games, but sidelined from the exercise for the last two years, Orlando once again took to the floor against Ohio State. She tied for first place with a career-high score of 9.875 to round out her dazzling evening.

Mercurio is the second Sun Devil to be named Gymnast of the Week this season, as is Orlando for Event Specialist of the Week. The honors are the 10th and 11th nods all-time for Arizona State.

Gymnast of the Week: Sophia Hocini, CAL; Jen Kesler, OSU; Kristina Comforte, UCLA; Kristen Linton, WASH.
Event Specialist of the Week: Bridgette Glass, CAL; Laura-Ann Chong, OSU; Ashley Jenkins, UCLA; Samantha Walior, WASH.

2008 Pac-10 Gymnasts of the Week: Jan. 14 - Anna Li, UCLA; Jan. 21 - Nicole Harris, ASU; Jan. 28 - Jami Lanz, OSU; Feb. 4 - Tasha Schwikert, UCLA; Feb. 11 - Tabitha Yim, STAN; Feb. 18 - Karin Wurm, ARIZ; Feb. 25 - Tasha Smith, OSU; Mar. 3 - Miranda Russell, ARIZ; Mar. 10 - Ashley Houghting, WASH; Mar. 17 - Francesca Mercurio, ASU.

2008 Pac-10 Event Specialists of the Week: Jan. 14 - Carly Janiga, STAN; Jan. 21 - Marci Bernholtz, UCLA; Jan. 28 - Jordan Schwikert, UCLA; Feb. 4 - Ashlee Hinkle, ASU; Feb. 11 - Allyse Ishino, STAN; Feb. 18 - Tasha Smith, OSU; Feb. 25 - Liz Tricase, STAN; Mar. 3 - Mandi Rodriguez, OSU; Mar. 10 - Nikki Waiss, WASH; Mar. 17 - Tia Orlando, ASU.

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