Beavers Have Tough Four-Week Stretch Starting Friday

Jan. 13, 2005

CORVALLIS, Ore. - The Oregon State gymnastics team begins a nasty stretch of tough competition Friday night at 7 p.m. on its home floor of Gill Coliseum.

In describing the competition, 'tough' may not be a strong enough adjective to aptly describe the level of quality gymnasts that the Beavers face in the coming weeks. Friday night the gauntlet begins for the Beavers when No. 2 UCLA comes to town. The Bruins, who have won four of the last five national championships and are the two-time defending NCAA Champions, are led by three Olympians. Fifth-year senior Kristen Maloney, a 2000 U.S. Olympian, is seeking the fourth national championship of her career in 2005. Junior Kate Richardson is a two-time Canadian Olympian and eight-time All-American, while freshman Tasha Schwikert is a 2000 U.S. Olympian and 2004 alternate.

Things don't get any easier for the Beavers next week when No. 1-ranked Utah travels to Corvallis for a dual meet Friday, Jan. 21. Utah opened the season last week by beating UCLA, despite the Bruins posting their second-best season-opening score in history.

Oregon State ends the month of January with a road trip to face Stanford. The Cardinal, was ranked third in the preseason poll and tied for third at the NCAA Championships in 2004. Despite losing four All-Americans to graduation, Stanford returns junior Natalie Foley, who earned All-America honors on all four events and the all-around.

OSU's streak of strong competition continues into the first week of February when the Beavers host No. 5 Arizona State at Gill Coliseum Friday, Feb. 4. Junior Ashley Kelly, the reigning national champion on the balance beam, leads ASU.

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