No. 16 Women's Gymnastics Places Third At Masters Classic

Feb. 23, 2002

LINCOLN, Neb. - Continuing to struggle on balance beam, Arizona State's 16th-ranked women's gymnastics team earned a final score of 194.600 to place third at the Masters Classic in front of 2,138 at the Bob Devaney Sports Center in Lincoln, Neb., Saturday. Picking up one win over Ohio State (193.600) and a pair of losses to No. 4 Nebraska (197.150) and No. 25 West Virginia (194.750), ASU moved to 5-5-1 on the season, while dropping to 0-4 vs. ranked opponents.

The Sun Devils didn't have it easy to begin with, being forced to start the night on floor exercise and finish on balance beam, the event in which they had completed only 20 of 36 routines without a fall this season. With a score of 146.75 through three rotations, ASU trailed Nebraska (147.825) by more than a point, but was four-and-a-half tenths above West Virginia (146.300) and well ahead of Ohio State (145.225).

While West Virginia worked to a team total of 48.450 on the uneven bars, ASU couldn't muster a final stand on beam. Resulting in an event total of 47.850, ASU suffered three falls on beam for the fifth time in seven meets this season. The only Sun Devils to avoid the 0.5 deduction were Rhonda Robinette, who tied her season high with a 9.875, Laura Moon, who made her 2002 beam debut with a 9.8, and Ashley Ellsberry, who scored a 9.6.

The Sun Devils had hit 18-of-18 routines going into beam, although they finished the night without being granted better than a trio of 9.875s.

ASU's strongest event was bars, where freshman Kari Muth led the way at 9.875 and Carla DeMartini, Maggie Germaine and Moon all scored 9.825s en route to a 49.100 team total. Germaine and DeMartini also scored 9.825s on vault to pace ASU to a 48.800 in the second rotation.

Opening on floor, only Muth's 9.875 and Ellsberry's 9.825 cracked the 9.8 plateau. DeMartini was awarded a 9.75, while Jada Cox, Germaine and Cassidy Vreeke all went for 9.7. Germaine's score marked only the fifth time in her 20 collegiate floor routines that she wasn't awarded a 9.8 or better.

En route to its meet title, Nebraska set a school record on beam with a 49.675. Richelle Simpson earned a 9.975, while A.J. Lamb and Laura Goss went for 9.95 and Tami Harris and Jen French came in at 9.9. Simpson, who earned another 9.975 on floor, won the all-around at 39.525.

The Sun Devils were forced to compete without junior Margaret Wojciak, one of ASU's top performers this season, who was left home due to illness.

Up next for ASU is the final regular season home meet of the year, when the Sun Devils take on current No. 12 Arizona, Friday, March 1, at 7:30 p.m. in Wells Fargo Arena. ASU will also host the NCAA South Central Regional, April 6.

Final Team Scores (in order of competition):
Nebraska - 197.150 (48.825 vault, 49.325 bars, 49.675 beam, 49.325 floor)
West Virginia - 194.750 (48.400 beam, 48.875 floor, 49.025 vault, 48.450 bars)
Arizona State - 194.600 (48.850 floor, 48.800 vault, 49.100 bars, 47.850 beam)
Ohio State - 193.600 (48.125 bars, 47.800 beam, 49.300 floor, 48.375 vault)

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