Gymnastics improves again, score 195.575 at Utah Saturday
Published: Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, January 22, 2013 01:01
The word to describe the No. 16 Oregon State gymnastics team’s first three meets of the 2013 season would be: progression.
The Beavers began the season with a third-place finish and a score of 193.600 in the Cancun Classic on Jan. 4. They followed it with a 195.375 on Jan. 11 against Ohio State.
In Saturday’s four-team meet with No. 8 Utah, West Virginia and Southern Utah, the Beavers improved once again — scoring 195.975 for a second-place finish.
“Especially from where we started, we want to see those scores go up,” said head coach Tanya Chaplin. “It also shows the potential that they have. They still have not put a whole meet together.”
Oregon State set season-high scores in vault (49.275), balance beam (49.125) and floor exercise (49.100) in the meet. The team still did not “put a whole meet together,” as Chaplin put it, because of struggles on uneven bars.
The ability to overcome adversity, whether from a poor performance in one routine, or in the entire meet, has been the way OSU has operated in the early-going this season.
“Every week we’re improving in some areas,” said senior Makayla Stambaugh. “I love the dedication the team has, and this week was really impressive to me, especially because over the years that I’ve been here, if we start off rough, we have a hard time picking it up and turning it around.”
Beyond the improvement in scoring, the performance on Saturday was particularly important for the Beavers because Utah’s crowd is the largest and loudest in college gymnastics. The attendance at the Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City for Saturday’s meet was 14,197. For a comparison to exemplify how large that is, OSU ranked sixth in the nation in attendance last year with an average crowd of 4,097.
“It’s a fun atmosphere, the crowd gets really into it,” Stambaugh said. “I thought [the team] did an awesome job of just blocking out the crowd noise and everything that was going on.”
Transition in the lineup rotation has been in flux over the first couple meets for the Beavers, but now it seems the underclassmen are fitting into their roles.
Sophomores Katelyn Ohlrich and Chelsea Tang both set career-highs on beam, scoring a 9.850 and 9.825, respectively.
“Obviously a lot of our [underclassmen] are getting used to having exposure,” said senior Melanie Jones. “It’s good to get that experience out of the way.”
Beam had been the event OSU struggled with in the first two meets, so the turnaround on that event was significant for the team going forward.
“It is a big, mental apparatus,” Jones said. “We obviously train very well in practice, but in competition it’s always a bit harder because you only have that one chance to show what you can do. It’s just important for us to keep mentally tough, and that’s what we’ve been training.”
Saturday’s meet was the first of four consecutive road meets for the Beavers. Three of the four events were performed at a high level, scoring at least 49.100 on all apparatuses but uneven bars.
“Now we just have to keep the consistency across the board,” Chaplin said.
The Beavers will compete in the Metroplex Challenge, which will likely be their toughest regular season meet, this Saturday. OSU will face off against No. 2 Oklahoma, No. 7 LSU, No. 9 Georgia and Washington.