http://taltybaptistchurch.org/events/2021-07-29/?ical=1 The atmosphere at ASU’s gymnastics practice this week was full of confidence. As it should be, the Sun Devils have moved up in the rankings from 25th to now 24th in the nation. ASU will head to Los Angeles this weekend to face the sixth-ranked UCLA Bruins. This is ASU’s third away meet of the season and will provide the Sun Devils with its final road score that can be counted towards their regional qualifying score.
Assistant coach Tom Ward mentioned the team’s success from this year compared to last stating, “ASU is the only team that didn’t qualify to NCAA regionals last year that is ranked in the top-25 right now.”
Coach Ward offered insight into why he stresses about team rankings stating, “The more confident the team is, the more confident the judges are in the team. When judges come into that meet they have a preconceived notion of how good you are. They look at the rankings and they look at the scores from the previous week. That is why your rankings are so important, from a judging standpoint, and how they mentally perceive you.”
Not only were the coaches focused on the rankings but the gymnasts were as well. Freshman Natelle Gentile, who broke her season and career highs on both vault and bars against Illinois last meet, was pleased with her team’s performance. Natelle stated, “Moving up in the rankings has really made our team confident and proves that our hard work is paying off.”
Even senior Stephanie Hangartner mentioned how the expectations for the team this year has changed due to all of their success. Stephanie explained, “At the beginning of the year it was our goal to make it to nationals and now we expect to make it nationals. This year we have been able to finally show how good of a team we are by getting the scores that we deserve.”
Coach John Spini explained where his focus is right now half way through the season. Spini said, “My main concern is on my team’s health. My expectations are let’s take one meet at a time and put it all out on the floor and see what we got. We need one more great away meet score to make sure that we get to nationals. We just need to go out there and own it. We lost two meets one by four tenths and one by two and one half tenths but we are right in the ball game again.”