2021 Gym Devils Season Preview
TEMPE, Ariz. – After an abrupt end to 2020, the No. 21 Gym Devils are ready and motivated to compete in 2021 with a roster full of experience and talent from both newcomers and letterwinners alike.
When the 2020 campaign was canceled prior to the last regular season meet of the year due to COVID precautions, Arizona State had a 7-6-1 record, the second season in a row with a winning record. The Sun Devils wrapped up the year ranked No. 21 after jumping 13 spots from the second-to-last week of the season. The Sun Devils also finished in fourth in the Pac-12 regular season standings. Four of those wins came against ranked opponents, including a win over No. 10 Cal, Arizona State's first ranked win over a top-10 opponent since 2014.
The Gym Devils scored a 196.000-plus five times, including the last four meets in a row of the season. Two of those scores are in the top 20 team scores in the ASU record book. The best team score was a 196.875, which Arizona State scored in a tie with No. 13 Washington. The team scored a 9.900 or better 16 times in 2020, five coming from freshman.
Arizona State returns a strong group of 11 returners in 2021, let by three-time All-American Cairo Leonard-Baker. Entering her senior season, she is coming off of another strong year where she won seven event titles and eight scores of 9.900 or better, the most of any Gym Devil. She scored a 9.950 on bars against Washington, the highest score by any ASU gymnast in 2020. On Road to Nationals, she finished the season ranked No. 19 on the uneven bars. Additionally, she earned Pac-12 honors for bars, her third-straight season being recognized by the conference.
In addition to her strong performances, Leonard-Baker brings strong postseason experience. She has advanced to the NCAA championships as an individual in 2018 (all-around) and in 2019 (uneven bars). In 2019, she scored a 9.900 to earn second-team All-America honors on top of her regular season All-America nod that season.
Three sophomores competed in the all-around in multiple meets last season: Juliette Boyer, Gracie Reeves and Hannah Scharf. Their contributions were significant, with 12 event titles between the three. They also earned five scores of 9.900 or better, two from Boyer (one on floor and one on bars), one from Reeves (vault) and one from Scharf (vault). Both Boyer and Scharf were named Pac-12 Freshman of the Week once during the season, and Boyer and Reeves both earned Pac-12 honorable mention nods in the all-around.
Of the 11 returners, nine have made lineups for various events. Junior Megan Thompson was a staple in the beam lineup, leading off almost every meet. She also saw time on the floor, often leading off in that lineup as well. Sophomore Isabel Redmond competed on vault, bars and beam in different meets. Additionally, sophomore Jordyn Jaslow will return form injury ready to compete for the first time with strong talent ready to showcase.
Seven freshmen join the Gym Devils in 2021 with a plethora of skill and experience to bring to the lineup. With a total of 21 new routines between them, the freshmen are ready to compete. The Gym Devil fans will see a lot of this talented group of newcomers in 2021.
Three freshmen have the potential to compete in the all-around: Cassi Barbanente, Jada Mangahas and Emily White. With strong J.O. Nationals experience, Barbenente and Sarah Clarke bring depth to the lineup, with Clarke focusing on bars, beam and floor. On vault, Anaya Smith has a 10.0 start value that the Gym Devils look forward to showcasing, as well as a strong floor routine. Skye Harper and Cienna Samiley will both contribute as well, Harper on beam and floor and Samiley on bars and beam.
The Gym Devils will hold their annual Maroon and Gold intrasquad meet on December 30 at 4 p.m. MST. Though fans are not permitted, it will be available to watch on the ASU Live Stream.