No. 12 Gymnasts Kick Off 2001 Season On The Road This Week

Jan. 8, 2001

THIS WEEK: The Oregon State gymnastics team kicks off the 2001 season with a road trip to the Midwest against two top teams this weekend. The Beavers open the year at No. 3 Michigan at 4 p.m. PST, Friday, January 12 before heading to No. 6 Nebraska for a meet with the Cornhuskers at 12 p.m. PST, Sunday, January 14.

BEAVERS RANKED IN TWO PRESEASON POLLS: Oregon State was selected 12th in the preseason coaches poll, while Sports Illustrated for Women tabbed the Beavers as the eighth best team in the country in its preseason coaches poll. OSU's regular season schedule features a total of 10 teams that are ranked in the preseason coaches poll, including No. 1 UCLA, No. 3 Michigan, No. 4 Utah, No. 6 Nebraska and No. 7 Stanford.

COMMENTS FROM COACH TANYA CHAPLIN:

On the team's progress in preseason training:'The athletes have worked incredibly hard and are ready to actually compete. To the staff, they look much stronger than in any other year since I've been here.'

On opening the season on the road against two top teams:'Michigan and Nebraska are two teams that have a strong tradition and a strong showing in the Super Six. We need to be at the top of our game. We need to do our job, be consistent and be mentally prepared. We've been working on that the last few weeks and pushing them in those areas.'

LINEUP SPOTS STILL UP FOR GRABS: As of Monday, coach Tanya Chaplin was still determining a lineup for this weekend's meets. The Beavers have more depth this season than in past years, and Chaplin is looking at eight gymnasts on vault, beam and floor and seven gymnasts on bars. Following is a breakdown of each event and which gymnasts are in the hunt for spots in the lineup:

VAULT: Eight gymnasts are vying for spots in the vault lineup. Leading the way are seniors Lara Degenhardt and Katrina Severin. The duo combined for eight scores of 9.90 or better on vault last season. Also back from last year's vault team are sophomores Tanya Ricioli and Annie Campbell, as well as juniors Jerra Lopez and Soni Meduna. New to the vault team are freshman Lindsay Nelson and sophomore Elizabeth Jillson, who was unable to compete on the event last year because of a knee injury.

BARS: Chaplin is looking at seven gymnasts to fill the lineup on bars. Senior Stephanie Bychowski and sophomore Elizabeth Jillson both scored 9.90 or better several times a year ago, while junior Jerra Lopez is also back on bars after being named the team's Most Consistent Gymnast on that event last year. Also returning are senior Lara Degenhardt and sophomore Annie Campbell, along with sophomore Tanya Ricioli, who competed on bars in the first five meets last year but then suffered a thumb injury that kept her off the event for the rest of the season. Junior Soni Meduna is also looking for a spot in the bar lineup.

BEAM: Eight gymnasts are in the hunt for the six spots in the beam lineup as well. The Beavers return senior Katrina Severin, who earned second team All-American honors on the event last year, as well as several other key returnees from last year's squad. Sophomores Annie Campbell and Tanya Ricioli both turned in scores of 9.90 or better on beam a year ago, while senior Stephanie Bychowski captured first-place finishes on the event twice last year. Also in the hunt are junior Jerra Lopez and senior Marissa Bruch, neither competed on beam last year but have been in the lineup in previous years. In addition, OSU's two freshmen -Lindsay Nelson and Elaine Yoder - are in the picture for spots in the beam lineup.

FLOOR: The Beavers return all six members from last year's floor lineup, but two others are also receiving consideration for spots in this year's lineup. OSU returns second team All-Americans in senior Lara Degenhardt and sophomore Tanya Ricioli, as well as seniors Katrina Severin and Marissa Bruch, junior Jerra Lopez, and sophomore Annie Campbell from last year's floor team. All six of those gymnasts scored a 9.85 or better at least once last year, with Degenhardt, Ricioli, Lopez and Campbell seeing scores of 9.90 or higher. Also looking for a spot in this year's floor lineup are junior Soni Meduna and freshman Lindsay Nelson.

NEW VAULT RULES: Gymnasts will be limited to one vault in competition this year. That's a change from previous years when vaulters were allowed two attempts, with the higher score counting.

A LOOK AT THE OPPONENTS: While OSU did not compete this past weekend, both Michigan and Nebraska were in action. Michigan took fourth with a 194.475 at the Super Six Challenge, finishing behind Georgia, Alabama and Stanford. UM's Karina Senior tied for first with a 9.85 on beam, while Bridget Knaeble tied for third on bars with a 9.875. Meanwhile, Nebraska competed at the Maui Invitational where the Huskers scored a 194.95 to take second to UCLA (ASU was third). NU freshman Alecia Ingram captured the all-around title with a 39.425 and also won vault with a 9.90. Nebraska also had a strong showing from Amy Ringo, who set career-highs of 9.925 on beam and 9.95 on floor to place second and third, respectively, on those events.

HEAD COACH TANYA CHAPLIN: Tanya Chaplin is in her fourth season as head coach of the OSU gymnastics program. Last year she guided the Beavers to their first trip to nationals since 1996 and was named Oregon State's Female Coach of the Year. Chaplin's career record is 29-15 for the regular season and 54-29 including postseason competition. In 1999, she was named Pacific-10 Coach of the Year after the Beavers posted a 16-8 record in 1999 and finished second at the Pac-10 Championships, where OSU set a school record with a 197.400 score. She was an assistant coach at Washington for seven years before moving to OSU. Formerly Tanya Service, she was a six-time All-American and held six school records while competing for UCLA from 1986-89.

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