Flipping through the air on a four-inch wide balance beam, Arizona State sophomore Megan Thompson looks nearly flawless as she competes for the Sun Devils.
The crystals on her leotard sparkle under the lights in Desert Financial Arena, as does her genuine smile. It’s clear Thompson is ecstatic to represent her home state when she steps out on the competition floor.
“It’s phenomenal,” Thompson said. “It’s been so fun and I’m just really excited to be back here.”
Thompson grew up in Gilbert, where she attended Basha High School. She had been a longtime team member at Desert Lights Gymnastics in Chandler, where she had a successful career as a USA Gymnastics club gymnast.
Because of her success, Thompson’s recruiting process began at a young age. Schools from across the country watched Thompson, with a number of them offering her scholarships. At the time, Thompson had committed to the University of Nebraska and signed her National Letter of Intent to officially become a Corn Husker.
“At the time, Nebraska was what I thought was best for me,” Thompson said. “I really liked the coaching atmosphere. The team was really great and was really supportive, even not being on the team there when I was recruited, they treated me like I was already a part of the team.
“I really liked the school, it was a really nice area, and I thought it would be different than Arizona.”
In fall 2018, Thompson began her career at Nebraska. During her freshman year, Thompson sustained an injury that kept her sidelined for the season. Her injury, in addition to a few other factors, had Thompson re-thinking if Nebraska was still the right place for her.
After some consideration, Thompson decided to transfer to Arizona State.
“I really wanted the chance to come home and compete on a team where it was my home state, and I just felt like it was the right decision to come back here,” Thompson said.
As a Sun Devil, she’s already had the opportunity to contribute to the team on two of four events. Thompson has competed for Arizona State on both balance beam and floor exercise, where she’s recently been the lead-off for both.
“She’s been leading off two events, and she’s been leading off two events very well,” coach Jay Santos said. “We tell them all the time how it’s important because it sets the tone. It gets everyone to settle in so the fact she’s been hitting those two events really well is huge for us. She’s been great.”
Thompson knows it’s a high-pressure position to be in, but it’s a challenge she willingly accepts. She feels confident in her training and preparation each and every day, which is why she’s ready to attack the task head on.
“I take it as a challenge in that I really want to represent for my team and do my very best for them, and I take it as I know I’ve trained hard enough to do it and I want to do it for myself and ASU,” Thompson said.
Since coming home, Thompson’s time as a Sun Devil has been nothing short of surreal.
Not only does she have the opportunity to compete for her home state, but she has the opportunity to do so alongside some other familiar faces. Senior Jess Ginn is an old teammate of hers from Desert Lights Gymnastics, while senior Graycee Zaugg and sophomore Kaitlyn Harvey are both longtime friends of Thompson.
She also mentioned how wonderful it is to have her family there to be able to watch in person and support her.
Thompson is the oldest of four, with a younger sister and two younger brothers.
“It’s so great to have my family,” Thompson said. “Being able to compete for my hometown and being able to look up and see everyone and look out when I’m competing and see my teammates and everyone there to support me.
“It’s a great atmosphere and it’s been really fun.”