Senior Night Brings Out Magic in OSU Gymnasts
March 6, 2009
Corvallis, Ore. – Magic was performed Friday night at legendary Gill Coliseum and the entertainment was provided by the Oregon State gymnastics team. With six seniors performing at home for 4,187 fans for the final time, the Beavers took the emotion of the night and were nothing short of amazing as they tallied an incredible score of 197.500 to trounce the competition in the 29th annual Salbasgeon Suites Invitational.
“We sat down with the freshmen this week and explained that the Salbasgeon meet is magical every year,” Mandi Rodriguez explained.
The Beavers walked away with a dominating win with Washington, which beat OSU two weeks ago in Seattle, finishing a distant second at 192.925 and Seattle Pacific third at 187.975.
Among the feats performed Friday was the team score of 197.500 ranks as the ninth-ranked Beavers goes down as the third-highest score in school history. In addition, the Beavers’ bars lineup scored 49.575 to set the school record and 14 season and career-bests were set on the evening. OSU gymnasts also “hit” all 24 of their routines for the first time in 2009.
“I couldn’t have asked for a better Senior Night,” senior Jami Lanz said. “We have the best team I have ever been on in three years and I am so happy to have shared it with them. Salbasgeon is the meet, that is when everything comes together and it is so magical, and I swear we created magic tonight.”
Seemingly effortlessly, the Beavers earned their highest team scores of the season in each of the first three events including beating the school record on the bars. Along the way, Oregon State also swept all three apparatuses with all six gymnasts scoring better than the rest of the competition.
In a meet full of career and season bests, freshman Leslie Mak swung her way to a nearly perfect routine, earning a 9.95 and a 10.0, for a combined score of 9.975, a career best for Mak.
“It felt amazing,” Mak said. “I can’t explain it. When I stuck it, it was magic.”
The Beavers started the night on the vault to tally a 49.225, their highest vault score of the season. Stephanie McGregor tied her career best on the event with a 9.775. Whitney Watson nearly stuck her landing to match her career high of 9.825. With a 9.8 from Becky Colvin, Lanz and Rodriguez came through with huge anchoring vaults, tying their season highs, for the Beavers earning a 9.9 and 9.925, respectively.
Olivia Vivian started off the bars rotation in solid standing, nailing her dismount to set a career-best of 9.85. Rodriguez hit all of her handstands to earn a season-high 9.875. Building the scores, Lanz also tied her career high of 9.925, followed by a 9.875 from Laura-Ann Chong. Next, Jen Kesler’s near perfect routine to earn the second 9.925 in the rotation, tying her season best. Mak took over in the anchor position to score her 9.975 leaving Oregon State with a school record on the event of 49.575.
“We tried a new bar lineup this week,” Rodriguez said. “It was completely mixed up and jumbled and obviously John (Carney) knew what he was talking about.”
Continuing the momentum, Barclay performed a wobble-free routine to start off the rotation with a season-best 9.875. She was followed by Kesler’s season-high 9.85 which Rodriguez matched, another career-best. With yet another stuck routine, Chong tallied a career-high 9.925. After an impeccable showing on the previous event, Mak once again stuck her landing for a career-high 9.925. Oregon State prepared to head to their final event, floor, after earning a season-best 49.425 on beam.
With three season-best event scores under their belt, the Beavers confidently rotated to the floor. McGregor started off the lineup with a 9.725, followed by Kera Bolen’s 9.8, and Jereme Bigelow’s 9.825. Mak kept the consistency with a 9.8 while Lanz stepped onto the floor for her last routine in legendary Gill Coliseum and exited to a standing ovation and a 9.9, tying her season high. The crowd was silent until Rodriguez nailed all three of her tumbling passes yielding a 9.95 and a second ovation.
“We talked a lot about taking control and charge of what we each do individually,” head coach Tanya Chaplin said. “I wanted them to take control of their individual routines and build off each other and they did a very good job of that tonight.”
NOTE: A highlight for fans, Tasha Smith performed a new floor routine for the home crowd in an unscored exhibition ... Jami Lanz competed in the all-around for the 52nd straight meet (208 routines). She has never missed event in her career ... A Senior Night ceremony followed the meet for the seven Beavers including Brooke Barclay, Kera Bolen, Jami Lanz, D’Anna Piro, Johnnie Rae Schmelzer, Tasha Smith and team manager Cassandra Rowell.
Team Scores: 1. No. 9 Oregon State 197.500; 2. No. 22 Washington 192.925; 3. Seattle Pacific 187.975.
Floor (49.275): 1. Mandi Rodrigeuz (OSU) 9.950; 2. Jami Lanz (OSU) 9.900; 3. Samantha Walior (UW) 9.850. Other OSU Scores: Jereme Bigelow 9.825, Kera Bolen 9.800, Leslie Mak 9.800, Stephanie McGregor 9.725.