Mak, Rodriguez Lead No. 11 Beavers to Season-High Score
Jan. 30, 2009
CORVALLIS, Ore. – The No. 11 Oregon State gymnastics team gripped up to face their toughest competition of the season, No. 2 Utah in legendary Gill Coliseum Friday night. Hitting season highs on three events, Oregon State battled, but came up short 196.650-197.050.
Despite the loss, the Beavers continue to show improvement and received particularly impressive performances from several underclassmen stepping into the spotlight. Freshmen Stephanie McGregor scored 9.825 on the floor, Leslie Mak tallied a 9.95 on bars and 9.9 on the beam and sophomore Jereme Bigelow added a 9.875 on the floor – all career-high scores.
“They keep fighting through,” head coach Tanya Chaplin said. “There were some performances especially from our younger athletes that did a phenomenal job. It’s great to see the youth taking a hold of those opportunities and making the most of it.”
The Beavers, following their home rotation, started off the night on the vault. Contributing from her customary lead-off for the lineup, McGregor earned a solid starting score of 9.75, to match her career high. Brooke Barclay and Becky Colvin followed with strong vaults earning marks of 9.775 and 9.8 respectively. Continuing the momentum, Jami Lanz stuck her landing to a roar from the crowd, tallying an impressive 9.9, only to be followed by a huge performance from Mandi Rodriguez earning a 9.925.
Oregon State rounded to the uneven bars holding a slim .025 lead after tallying their highest vault score of the season, 49.15. Laura-Ann Chong performed a beautiful routine earning 9.725 following a fall by the Beavers’ lead-off. Lanz and Rodriguez followed for the Beavers swinging to matching scores of 9.825. Leslie Mak continues to emerge as a go-to competitor for OSU this time scoring a career-high on the event for the fifth straight week with a 9.95. Jen Kesler closed out bars rotation for the Beavers with a score of 9.825.
“It was all about having fun and performing like we do in training,” Mak said. “All of us on the team just rock in training and it is about bringing that into competition. That’s what I was trying to do and it just worked out well for me I guess.”
Together, the Beavers tallied their highest bars score of the season, 49.15. Heading into their third rotation, balance beam, Beavers trailed the Utes, who had scored an outstanding 49.450 on the vault, by a .275 margin.
Barclay, performing in the lead-off spot on beam for the first time, set a solid foundation for Oregon State with a 9.725 routine. Kesler followed with a solid routine that produced a 9.8 routine. Rodriguez and Chong furthered the cause with excellent performances scoring 9.85 and 9.825 respectively to set the scene for Mak. The freshman, who has been one of OSU’s best beam competitors this season, negotiated the beam to a career-high tying 9.9.
McGregor led off for the team once again on the floor with an explosive start to the rotation tallying a career-best 9.825. Senior Kera Bolen followed with a score of 9.775 in the second slot to set up Bigelow. The sophomore, who has recently become a regular in the floor lineup, nailed her tumbling passes to set a career-high 9.875. Mak followed with a 9.8 and Lanz continued the Beavers’ best floor set of the season with a 9.85. Ending the meet with the crowd on its feet, Rodriguez performed another gorgeous routine to the tune of a 9.9.
Once again, the Beavers beat their previous event score for the season marking a 49.25 on the floor.
“It is a great score for the fifth meet of the season,” Rodriguez said. “Our goal was just to keep building on our last performance, which we did. Even comparing this week to last week, the performances were more confident and aggressive and that is what really matters, then the scores are out of our control.”
Oregon State is at home again next weekend when it hosts the fourth annual “Pink Out” against Arizona State. The event is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. at legendary Gill Coliseum. Doors open at 6 p.m. Season and individual tickets can be purchased online, by calling 1-800-GO-BEAVS or in person at the OSU Ticket Office located in room 107 of Gill Coliseum.
Team Scores: No. 2 Utah 197.050; No. 11 Oregon State 196.650.
Beam: 1. Leslie Mak (OSU) 9.900; T2. Kyndal Robarts (Utah), Daria Bijak (Utah) 9.875. Other OSU Scores: Mandi Rodriguez 9.850, Laura-Ann Chong 9.825, Jen Kesler 9.800, Brooke Barclay 9.725, Jami Lanz 9.250.
Floor: 1. Mandi Rodriguez (OSU) 9.900; T2. Jereme Bigelow (OSU), Daria Bijak (Utah), Nina Kim (Utah), Kristina Baskett (Utah), Annie DiLuzia (Utah) 9.875. Other OSU Scores: Jami Lanz 9.850, Leslie Mak 9.800, Kera Bolen 9.775.