Gymnastics sets season-high score in Friday's meet
Published: Monday, February 25, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, February 26, 2013 14:02
As the No. 11 Oregon State gymnastics team ended its first event, it was clear the Beavers were going to put on a show Friday night.
OSU won the three-team Pink Out Meet — the annual meet dedicated to the fight against cancer with proceeds going to the Corvallis Clinic Foundation’s Project H.E.R. — with a score of 196.925, making it the the team’s high score on the season.
No. 15 Arizona finished in second place, and Seattle Pacific came in third.
“We needed another good home score,” said senior Kelsi Blalock. “We needed to drop another 195, a pretty low score. It’s going to give our [Regional Qualifying Score] a boost and we’re just going to keep on rolling.
The first event of the night for the Beavers — vault — ended with Blalock scoring a 9.950, and gave OSU the highest vault score of the season.
“It’s really good to start off well instead of having to build from the start— especially at home,” Blalock said. “Our vaults looked amazing and were exactly what we practiced.”
Senior Makayla Stambaugh and sophomore Chelsea Tang set career-highs in vault, and the strong performance on the apparatus set the tone for the Beavers’ fourth consecutive win.
Stambaugh won the all-around for the second straight meet, with a 39.525. Her night was capped off by once again closing out the meet with a 9.950 on the floor exercise.
Stambaugh has now come close to achieving the ultimate goal in gymnastics — the perfect 10.0.
“I still think I can do better,” Stambaugh said. “I can’t say I’m not satisfied with a 9.950. A perfect 10 would be awesome, but a 9.950 is not that bad.”
Noticing the difference between a 9.950 and a 10 is hard for most to see.
“You are striving for perfection,” said head coach Tanya Chaplin. “Perfection is different in different people’s eyes. It’s tiny, tiny details we have to clean up.”
Behind Stambaugh in the all-around was Tang, who has seen her role and production incrementally increase throughout the 2013 season.
She was the mark of consistency on Friday, scoring between 9.825 and 9.875 in all four events.
“Chelsea’s doing a great job,” Chaplin said. “As she learns how to nail those landings a little bit more, that’s going to make a huge improvement on her scores.”
With winter term wrapping up, Chaplin’s job as coach becomes difficult, because the gymnasts are trying to find a way to balance intensive practice with their academics.
“There were some really outstanding things and there were some mental breaks that we need to make sure we don’t have,” Chaplin said. “I knew with midterms and other things, I would see those things happening in the gym. How we train is usually how we compete and we need to make sure we get focused in as we head into finals week and these last few meets.”
After two home meets in six days, the Beavers will be back on the road for the final time this season. They head to Palo Alto, Calif., for a three-team meet against No. 10 Stanford and California on Friday.
Warner Strausbaugh, managing editor