Gymnastics Holds Season End Banquet

April 27, 2009

CORVALLIS, Ore. - The Oregon State gymnastics team put the cap in the 2009 season with its annual season-end banquet, Saturday evening. The special evening was a last chance to say good-bye for the teams' six seniors and for awards to be presented.

Laura-Ann Chong was awarded the Joy Selig Award, an award that annually goes to the gymnast who most distinguishes herself both academically and athletically and exemplifies courage and leadership, both on and off the competition floor. Chong, a junior from Coquitlam, B.C., is active in the Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) keeping her teammates involved in community service activities and has been chosen as OSU's representative to attend the NCAA Student-Athlete Development Conference in Orlando, Florida at Walt Disney World Coronado Springs Resort, May 24-27. On the competition floor, Chong earned second team All-Pac-10 honors on the balance beam.

Junior Mandi Rodriguez was awarded the Most Valuable Gymnast honor. Rodriguez, from Baldwin Park, Calif., enjoyed one of the most impressive single seasons in OSU Gymnastics history. She earned first All-America honors on vault and floor exercise and was second team in the all-around. Additionally, Rodriguez was named as the Pac-10 Gymnast of the Year and won Pac-10 titles on the vault and floor. She earned first team all-conference in the all-around. Rodriguez 'hit' 53 of her 56 routines in 2009 and won 26 individual event titles on the season.

D'Anna Piro, a senior from Lake Oswego, and Stephanie McGregor, a freshman from Calgary, Alberta, were recognized as the team's Outstanding Scholars. Piro has a double-major in Exercise and Sport Science and Business Administration and studies in OSU's Honors College. Piro is also the president of SAAC. McGregor is also studying within OSU's Honors College and has recently determined that she'll major in biochemistry. McGregor led off the Beavers' vault and floor lineups through most of the season. Both gymnasts have maintained a 4.00 GPA in 2008-09. This is the second year in a row that Piro has claimed the award.

Leslie Mak, a freshman from Toronto, Ontario, received OSU's Freshman/Newcomer of the Year award. Mak earned the anchor position on the uneven bars at midseason, tied for the Pac-10 title on the event. Mak earned first all-conference as a rookie and tallied three Pac-10 Special Performance of the Year awards in 2009. Mak held positions in three lineups in every meet of the year and 'hit'39 of 42 routines.

Piro also received the team's Most Inspirational Award, an award voted on by her teammates. Piro, the team's only fifth-year student-athlete, returned to competition in 2009 after missing the 2008 campaign while recovering from off-season shoulder surgery. Piro's attitude and work ethic in the gym led her to the primary alternate position on the uneven bars. During the week leading up to the NCAA Championships, Piro was informed that she would be competing at the biggest meet of the year due to a teammate's illness. Despite having been in the competitive lineup only twice during the regular season, Piro came through with her best performance of the year and a season-high score of 9.80.

Senior Jami Lanz, from Eugene, was honored with a career achievement award. Lanz earned the third All-American award of her career in 2009 - this time on vault - giving her All-America status on vault, bars and beam. Lanz finished her career having competed in the all-around in all 56 meets of her career (224 events) without ever missing an event. She won 48 individual event titles in four years which is the third-most in Oregon State history. Lanz wrapped up her career with career-best scores of 9.925 on vault, bars and floor; 9.95 on the beam; and 39.625 in the all-around. In her career, she 'hit' 202 of the 216 (93.5%) routines she performed in her career.

Oregon State coaches, staff and boosters concluded the festivities by saying good-bye to six seniors who have competed their final meets at OSU. The seniors are: Brooke Barclay, Kera Bolen, Jami Lanz, D'Anna Piro, Johnnie Rae Schmelzer and Tasha Smith.

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