Gymnastics continues stretch of road meets
Published: Friday, February 8, 2013
Updated: Friday, February 8, 2013 01:02
Today will conclude a month-long stretch of four meets away from Gill Coliseum for the Oregon State gymnastics team.
So much time away from home can make traveling routine for the team.
“PDX is definitely starting to feel more like home than Corvallis is,” said senior Kelsi Blalock. “We’re doing really well with it. I haven’t heard anyone complaining and it hasn’t caused any unfortunate things to happen.”
The No. 12 Beavers head to Tempe, Ariz., on short rest. It will only be a five-day turnaround between meets — OSU defeated Cal 196.050-194.700 on Sunday.
The meet in Berkeley, Calif., was unique because of its crowd — or lack thereof. According to junior Brittany Harris, there were about 200 people there including the gymnasts. Not a surprise since the meet was on Super Bowl Sunday.
Cal’s small crowd was actually a positive factor for tonight’s meet.
“It was good that we got used to be in an environment where we don’t have as many fans,” Harris said. “When we go to ASU, it won’t be like our Gill fans where we have thousands.”
The team only had two days of practice this week because of travel.
Of the first six meets of the season, the only time performing in Gill was the Jan. 11 win over Ohio State.
“They’re comfortable now on the road, it’s almost like a routine for us,” said associate head coach Michael Chaplin. “They know what to expect. It’s been challenging, it seems like our last home meet against Ohio State was a whole different season.”
The physical toll of being on the road for four straight weeks would typically be a detriment — but the Beavers are thriving.
OSU scored its season-high (196.825) in the Metroplex Challenge in Fort Worth, Texas, on Jan. 26. The last three road meets were all higher scores than the Ohio State meet in Corvallis.
“The most important thing is that we’re confident now,” Blalock said. “It’s not a matter of who’s going to hit or miss, it’s a matter of who’s going to do the best routine.”
High scores on the road are critical in gymnastics. The Regional Qualifying Score (gymnastics’ version of the Bowl Championship Series) takes into account six meets total: Three at-large meets (home or road) and three road meets. The highest score is dropped.
“Right now, everything’s averaged,” Chaplin said. “So we’re still carrying around that 193.600 from our Cancun meet. That’s rough. I feel really good [because] we’re still ranked 12th and we’re carrying around . . . a low score. We get to shake that off pretty soon and hopefully that’ll be 196 or better.”
Oregon State had improved upon each of its scores until Sunday. The score against Cal was still the second-highest of the season.
The Beavers have always stressed that they don’t want to ever peak too soon, so the gradual incline of performance is ideal in the sports of gymnastics.
“We’re climbing, just steadily climbing up to the top,” Harris said.
Warner Strausbaugh, sports editor
On Twitter @WStrausbaugh