NCAA Championships Practice Day

April 15, 2009

LINCOLN, Neb. - The Oregon State gymnastics team has arrived in Lincoln, Neb. and we've have kept busy in our short time we've spent here.

In the 24 hours or so that we've been here we've had a chance to wander the downtown and Hay Market District of Lincoln. Several members of the OSU staff took a self-guided tour of Nebraska's Memorial Stadium and we've hit the local mall for shopping and lunch while killing time waiting for our practice session (4:20-6 p.m. today).

The Beavers made the arduous trip to Lincoln, Neb. yesterday. Unable to travel as one, three groups from Oregon State set out from Portland beginning at 6 a.m. via United and Frontier Airlines en route to Omaha. The entire OSU contingent arrived in Lincoln Tuesday afternoon tired, but in high spirits. However, the Beavers will be without one member of the team. Olivia Vivian did not travel after being diagnosed with mono in recent days. Fifth-year senior D'Anna Piro will be expected to lead off the bars lineup for the Beavers in Vivian's usually spot.

OSU has just wrapped up its practice session (the last one of the day) and several gymnasts are scheduled for interviews with CBS before setting out for dinner. OSU's practice session included Alabama, UCLA and Illinois all of which will be in tomorrow's evening session with the Beavers along with Utah and Arkansas.

'We're proud to represent Oregon State and the Pac-10 Conference at the NCAA Championships,' head coach Tanya Chaplin said at today's NCAA pre-championships press conference. 'It never gets to be `old hat' to compete here. We never take things for granted. There are only 12 teams that reach this point and we're honored to get this far.'

Prior to practice Chaplin and star gymnast Mandi Rodriguez participated in the NCAA pre-championships press conference. Check huskers.com to see the archived video, photos and quotes from the presser.

'The Oregon State program improves every year,' Rodriguez said. 'I really think we're going to surprise people tomorrow.'

One of those surprises? Could there be a Tasha Smith sighting? Smith has practiced well in recent weeks regaining consistency and her huge tumbling. Don't be surprised if Tasha is tumbling tomorrow!

Fans can follow the meet via Live Stats at ncaa.com and at huskers.com. In addition, a live web feed will be provided for Thursday's preliminary rounds and Saturday's Individual Event Finals at the same websites. Friday's Super Six will be televised by CBS via tape delay.

Support Oregon State University Athletics by making your tax deductible donation to the Beaver Athletic Student Fund. For more information follow this link or call 541-737-2370. You can make an 'everyday champion.' Follow Beaver Athletics on twitter.

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