April 4, 2009
COLUMBUS, Ohio - The No. 8 Oregon State gymnastics team finished second at the NCAA Central Regional Championships to qualify for the NCAA Championships for the fourth straight season. Mandi Rodriguez won the individual title on the floor exercise and tied for first on the vault.
"We traveled a long way and did a great job," head coach Tanya Chaplin said. "I'm proud of this team. There were a few shaky points but the rest of the lineup didn't get rattled and fought through. We're ready to back to Oregon State get a few things worked out in the gym and we'll look forward to the trip to Lincoln."
The Beavers opened the meet on the uneven bars and quickly made their job a little extra difficult early in the meet when Olivia Vivian missed the bar on her release skill (Jaeger) recording a 9.225 as OSU's first score of the night. However, three consecutive stuck dismounts by Mandi Rodriguez, Jami Lanz and Laura-Ann Chong eased the pressure with scores of 9.775, 9.85 and 9.90 respectively. Jen Kesler performed a beautiful routine until a low landing on her dismount caused a step and received a score of 9.775. Freshman Leslie Mak anchored the bars team and hit all of her handstands ensuring a solid score, however a step on her landing left her with a score of 9.85.
Oregon State trailed Kentucky, which scored 49.250 on the vault, entering the second rotation with top-seeded LSU having spent the first rotation on a bye. Moving to the balance beam, OSU's fifth-ranked beam team sought redemption following a wobbly performance at the Pac-10 Championships two weeks ago. Senior Brooke Barclay led off the beam lineup with a beautiful routine, one of her best of the season, to score 9.825, which to that point in the competition was the highest beam score. Kesler had a strong set going, nailing her series elements until a major wobble derailed what would likely have been another high score settling for a 9.80. Following Rodriguez's 9.70 routine, Chong negotiated her way through a great routine, nailing her dismount to score 9.85. Lanz finished the scoring for Oregon State with an outstanding routine and a score of 9.875.
Following a bye rotation, the Beavers took the floor exercise trailing LSU by .450. Stephanie McGregor opened the fourth rotation with solid tumbling and a 9.775, including a one judge's score of 9.90. Kera Bolen followed with a clean routine and a 9.825. A short landing on the her final tumbling pass resulting in a fall by Jereme Bigelow put pressure on the back half of the lineup but the trio of Mak, Lanz and Rodriguez were up to the task. Mak got the Beavers back on the right track with a nice routine and a score of 9.85. Lanz followed with strong tumbling and well-timed choreography to set up Rodriguez with a 9.90. Rodriguez, who entered the meet ranked No. 5 in the nation on the floor, used huge tumbling to soar to a career-high 9.95 for the second straight meet. Rodriguez's floor score earned her the regional title on the event ahead of No. 1-ranked Ashleigh Clare-Kearney from LSU.
OSU moved onto the vault to finish the meet seeking to secure second place and the Beavers' fourth consecutive trip to the NCAA Championships. Performing in her usual lead-off position, McGregor delivered a stuck landing and got the scoring started with a career-high 9.85. Barclay and Whitney Watson followed with scores of 9.80 and 9.825 respectively. Next up, Becky Colvin nailed her vault to set a career-best 9.90 and Rodriguez finished the scoring tying her career-high with a score of 9.95.
Pairings for the NCAA Championships will be announced in the coming days. The NCAA Championships will be hosted in 2009 by the University of Nebraska, April 16-18.
1) LSU 196.875
2) Oregon State 196.800
3) Ohio State 195.950
4) Michigan State 194.825
5) Kent State 194.650
6) Kentucky 193.700
OSU: VAULT: 49.325, BARS: 49.150, BEAM: 49.050, FLOOR: 49.275
VAULT: Mandi Rodriguez 9.950*, Becky Colvin 9.900, Stephanie McGregor 9.850*, Whitney Watson 9.825, Brooke Barclay 9.800, Jami Lanz 9.675
BARS: Laura-Ann Chong 9.900, Leslie Mak 9.850, Jami Lanz 9.850, Jen Kesler 9.775, Mandi Rodriguez 9.775, Olivia Vivian 9.225
BEAM: Jami Lanz 9.875, Laura-Ann Chong 9.850, Brooke Barclay 9.825, Jen Kesler 9.800, Mandi Rodriguez 9.700, Leslie Mak 9.600
FLOOR: Mandi Rodriguez 9.925, Jami Lanz 9.900, Leslie Mak 9.850, Kera Bolen 9.825, Stephanie McGregor 9.775, Jereme Bigelow 9.325
ALL-AROUND: Mandi Rodriguez 39.350, Jami Lanz 39.300
* Personal Record