Gymnastics holds first home meet of season tonight
Published: Friday, January 11, 2013
Updated: Friday, January 11, 2013 02:01
It was a year ago when the Oregon State gymnastics team opened the season with an upset over then-No. 4 Oklahoma at Gill Coliseum.
The No. 9 Beavers have another chance to knock off a highly-ranked opponent in their home opener.
No. 14 Ohio State comes to Corvallis tonight at 7 p.m., for a meet that has suddenly taken on a higher level of urgency for the Beavers.
The Beavers started 0-2 for the first time since 2004, and scored only a 193.600 in the Cancun Classic last Friday, an uncharacteristic score for a program that has become a mainstay at the NCAA Championships (seven straight years).
“Now with it being a couple days behind us, I look back and I realize it was a pretty early meet for us,” said associate head coach Michael Chaplin on Tuesday. “This particular team needed another week of training.”
Training doesn’t necessarily mean physical; there was a lack of mental preparation for the Beavers too. Falls, wobbles and out-of-bounds penalties spoiled the night for Oregon State.
“I think that we just had a lack of confidence in ourselves and we were kind of psyched out by the other teams,” said senior Makayla Stambaugh.
The Beavers finished third in the Cancun Classic behind Michigan (196.575) and Brigham Young University (194.475).
There were some positives gained from OSU’s slip-ups.
“We only truly hit 11 routines, and had they hit the rest of them, they would be in that mid-196 range,” said head coach Tanya Chaplin.
If the team finished with a score of 193.600 and hit all of their routines, then there would have been some real problems.
The team had added motivation this week in practice because of the lackluster performance.
“We are just training so much harder,” said junior Kelsi Blalock. “There’s no slacking, there’s a lot more discipline in the gym.”
“We can make some remarkable changes by hitting our routines this week,” added Tanya Chaplin. “It’s just going back in and creating that energy, creating that focus, and making sure that they’ve learned a lot.”
The determination to improve upon last week’s meet is essential for this meet.
The Buckeyes come in as a team trending upward in recent years. Ohio State bested Oregon State by one-fifth of a point in nationals a year ago.
“Ohio State’s a very good team,” Michael Chaplin said. “They made it to nationals last year. They’re continuing to improve. It’s a good challenge for us for our first home meet.”
The gymnasts know the task at hand will be difficult, and that the significance of having a solid showing in this early-season meet will be crucial to catch up to the rest of the nation.
“Ohio State — they’re going to come ready,” Blalock said. “They’re a top-10 team. We definitely have our work cut out for us.”
The Beavers are currently in a state of flux with their lineups because of the insertion of several new faces.
Having open competition at a lot of spots can be a good problem to have.
“We will have some changes before we find out for sure who are going to be our solid six on each event,” Tanya Chaplin said. “But I think it’s also good because they push each other that way. There’s competition for those spots.”
All indications from the Beavers is they will be ready for the Buckeyes.
“I think Friday night we’ll find out what this team is about and what it’s going to do,” Michael Chaplin said. “My feeling is, this team will respond really well from what I’ve seen and watched at practices.”
Tonight’s meet marks the first gymnastics meet ever aired on the Pac-12 Networks.
Warner Strausbaugh, sports editor