Beavers Put On Show in Season Opener, Win Salbasgeon Suites Invitational

Jan. 9, 2010

CORVALLIS -

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The 10th-ranked Oregon State gymnastics team (3-0) made it a clean sweep in the 30th annual Salbasgeon Suites Invitaitonal Friday night. A crowd of 4,112 showed up at legendary Gill Coliseum to see the impressive performance by the Beavers (195.625) as they defeated No. 13 Illinois (192.850), Air Force (184.475) and Alaska-Anchorage (183.475). Makayla Stambaugh, Mandi Rodriguez and Laura-Ann Chong combined to take top honors on all four events and the all-around as the Beavers dazzled the crowd of 4,112 at legendary Gill Coliseum.

It may have been the season opening meet, but the Beavers were in midseason form as they opened the season with their highest score (195.625) on an opening night since 2003. In particular, Laura-Ann Chong had an outstanding meet setting career-high scores of 9.925 on the uneven bars and 9.80 on the floor exercise, tying for first on bars and winning the beam title with a 9.850. In addition, freshman Makayla Stambaugh topped a field of a dozen all-around competitors with a 39.275 and the first individual titles of her career - she also scored 9.850 on the floor to take first.

'This was a good start to the season,' head coach Tanya Chaplin said. 'I'm really happy with the job our freshmen did tonight. Now they've experienced a college meet, they'll know what to expect from here on and that can be a hurdle. But we've got a lot of things to work on and clean up. We'll be back in the gym next week and we'll fix those things and we'll be ready to compete next week at Ohio State.'

The Beavers began the night with a solid vault rotation. Freshman Leilani Alferos, who took huge strides in practice in the last week or so, warmed up so well Chaplin put her in the lineup and rewarded her coaches with a 9.70 to start her career. Fellow frosh Kelsi Blalock and Stambaugh followed with a pair of 9.775's. Then the veterans, junior Becky Colvin and senior Mandi Rodriguez finished the rotation with scores of 9.80 and 9.850 respectively.

It was in the second rotation with that the Beavers put the meet out of reach of the competition. Senior Whitney Watson started things on the right foot with a 9.80. Rodriguez scored 9.875 and Olivia Vivian added a 9.825 to set up the back half of the lineup. Chong nailed her routine and stuck the landing for a 9.925, and Mak followed with beautiful routine and planted her landing as well to tie Chong's score. Stambaugh anchored with another excellent routine and another stuck dismount to score 9.850. OSU finished the rotation with an impressive score of 49.400 on the bars, a mark the Beavers topped only one time in 2009.

With a lead of more than 2.5 points, OSU moved to the beam where Vivian, who only performed on bars as a freshman while battling a variety of injuries, led off with a 9.650. The Beavers' only hiccup of the evening followed with back-to-back misses by Melanie Jones and Rodriguez. Mak got the Orange and Black back on track with a 9.80 and Stambaugh followed with a matching score before Chong finished the rotation with an individual title winning 9.850.

Oregon State ended its solid opening night performance on the floor exercise going six-for-six. Chong led off the lineup with a career-best 9.80 followed by Vivian's 9.750. Colvin returned to the floor lineup for the first time since her freshman season with another 9.750. Stambaugh earned the individual title with a 9.850 and Rodriguez, who had been battling a cold all week ended the meet with a 9.775.

The Beavers are on the road next Saturday at Ohio State. Oregon State will then return to Corvallis for the next two weeks when the Beavers first host Washington on Friday, Jan. 22, and then the fifth annual Pink Out, Friday, Jan. 29, against Stanford and Seattle Pacific. Both events are 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. 10 Oregon State 195.625; No. 13 Illinois 192.850; Air Force 184.475; Alaska-Anchorage 183.475
All-Around: 1. Makayla Stambaugh (OSU) 39.275; 2. Mandi Rodriguez (OSU) 38.775; 3. Allison Buckley (ILL) 38.700.Vault: T1. Mandi Rodriguez (OSU), Allison Buckley (ILL) 9.850; 3. Kelsey Joannides (ILL) 9.825. Other OSU Scores: Becky Colvin 9.800; Kelsi Blalock 9.775; Makayla Stambaugh 9.775; Leilani Alferos 9.700; Stephanie McGregor 9.575 (Exhibition - Whitney Watson 9.525).
Uneven Bars: T1. Laura-Ann Chong (OSU), Leslie Mak (OSU) 9.925; 3. Mandi Rodriguez (OSU) 9.875. Other OSU Scores: Makayla Stambaugh 9.850, Olivia Vivian 9.82, Whitney Watson 9.800 (Exhibition - Jen Kesler 9.675).
Balance Beam: 1. Laura-Ann Chong (OSU) 9.850; T2. Makayla Stambaugh (OSU), Leslie Mak (OSU), Kelsey Joannides (ILL) 9.800. Other OSU Scores: Olivia Vivian 9.650, Melanie Jones 9.300, Mandi Rodriguez 9.275.
Floor Exercise: 1. Makayla Stambaugh (OSU) 9.850; T2. Laura-Ann Chong (OSU), Allison Buckley (ILL) 9.800. Other OSU Scores: Mandi Rodriguez 9.775, Olivia Vivian 9.750, Becky Colvin 9.750, Leslie Mak 9.725650.

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