2022 Gym Devil Season Preview
TEMPE, Ariz. - With just three routines to replace from a record-breaking 2021 season, the No. 12 Gym Devils are ready to keep the fire burning in 2022 with experienced returners and a challenging schedule ahead of them.
2022 Schedule Outlook
The Gym Devils will face a strong string of opponents throughout the upcoming season. They will face eight teams who finished the 2021 season ranked in the top-25, with four of those teams finishing in the top-10. All but one of this year's opponents made it to the 2021 NCAA Regionals. Four of those teams advanced to nationals and three of those four made it to the finals with Michigan winning the championship. The Sun Devils enter the season ranked No. 12 on the WGCA preseason poll with eight of their opponents this season ranked in the top 25 of that poll. ASU will face five of its ranked opponents this season at Desert Financial Arena, with the first meet coming up on Jan. 5 against No. 13 Kentucky.
ASU wrapped up the 2021 season ranked No. 9 on Road to Nationals, the best finish for the program since 2006. On Road to Nationals, the team was ranked in the top-25 all season. They scored 196.000 or better in all but two meets during the season, including a streak of ten meets in a row reaching that mark to end the season.
The team finished fourth overall in the Pac-12 regular season standings, as well as in the Pac-12 championship. They earned the No. 11 seed in the NCAA tournament, the Gym Devils first time earning a seed, where they advanced to the regional finals for the first time. Scharf qualified for the NCAA Championships as an individual, where she placed seventh on bars to be named a Second Team All-American in that event.
The Sun Devils return 15 experienced gymnasts to the 2022 roster. The team is led by junior All-American Hannah Scharf who went to the NCAA Championships as an individual and earned Second Team All-America honors, adding to her WCGA regular season nod in the all-around. She led the team with 14 total event titles, with seven coming from the all-around. On Road to Nationals, she finished the season ranked No. 16 in the all-around. With the 49 team scores of 9.900 or higher last season, Scharf led the way with 15 of her own. Additionally, Scharf had a score of 9.950 on the floor, the highest by any Gym Devil. She was named to the All-Pac-12 All-Around First Team along with being an honorable mention for floor and vault.
After starting their collegiate careers with a bang, the sophomore class returns ready to get building. The class earned three Pac-12 Newcomer of the Week nods and two Pac-12 Coaches Choice of the Week picks. Sarah Clark competed on bars, beam and floor in every meet last season. Clark took home three event titles (two on bars and one on beam) and scored six 9.900s over the season. Anaya Smith competed on the vault in every meet and took home six vault titles and was on the All-Pac-12 Vault First Team. She scored below a 9.800 just one time and reached all six of her scores of 9.900-plus in six of the last eight meets.
Emily White and Jada Mangahas are two other sophomore contributors and both scored two 9.900s or better in 2021. White competed in every meet, making the bars lineup each meet and on vault and beam for the majority of last season where she won one bars title and two beam titles. Mangahas made the vault and floor lineups in every meet, as well as some beam appearances. Her two 9.900s this season came on the floor.
Other returning contributors include juniors Gracie Reeves and Juliette Boyer. Reeves saw time at every event in 2021, with her primary event as beam, which she competed in every meet and scored a career-high 9.900 at the regional finals. Boyer also competed in every event, but she made the bars lineup in every meet, scoring a 9.800 or better in all but one meet.
Seniors Jasmine Gutierrez and Megan Thompson made an impact in the lineups as well last season. Gutierrez brought in some big scores on beam and floor, including a career-high 9.900 on beam at the regional finals after beginning competition halfway through last year's season. Thompson led off on beam in every meet in 2021, scoring a 9.800 or better 10 times.
The Gym Devils welcome two newcomers to the team for this upcoming season in freshmen Mallory Marcheli and Alex Theodorou that will bring high-level experience to Tempe. Marcheli, a Texas native, competed on some big stages in 2018 such as J.O. Nationals, U.S. Elite Classic and the American Elite Classic. Theodorou, a local gymnast, won 11 state and regional championships during her level 10 career and competed at J.O. Nationals three times. She additionally scored a perfect 10 on the vault, which she did at the 2020 Valley of the Sun Challenge.
The Gym Devils will hold their home and season opener against Kentucky, who finished No. 11 in the final rankings of Road to Nationals last season, on Jan. 5 at 7 p.m. MST