Getting a Grip with Laura-Ann Chong

Jan. 21, 2010

Hey Beaver Nation!!

It's LA here! This season has turned out to be an amazing one so far! Our team worked so hard in the preseason and it's so exciting to see our hard work paying off!

As you know, we just returned from our first away meet in Columbus, Ohio. For the freshmen, it was exciting for them to travel with the team and experience what it's like to compete in different venues. We began our journey early Friday morning, where we had an early departure from Corvallis - 7 a.m. to be exact. We then drove to Portland by bus to catch our flight that would stop in Chicago before landing in Columbus. We arrived late that night and were eager to check out scores that other teams around the country had posted. It was a long day, especially with having two flights, but we made our time in the airport worthwhile. Some caught up on homework, while others caught up on their current events! (See picture of Mel!)

Saturday was THE day. Everyone was feeling eager to get the meet started. We all had a great feeling about what was to come and during our team meeting before the meet, there was nothing but exciting vibes radiating off each gymnast. As for every meet, I supply all the girls with a fortune cookie during our team meeting. I think it was a tradition that started back in my freshman year. When it was my parents' turn to supply the team gifts for our meet vs. UCLA, they gave all the girls lucky fortune cookies and that night we completely dominated UCLA! Ever since then ... every meet, I supply my team with lucky fortunes! Even all the way from Vancouver! Next year, I'm passing the torch to my fellow Can-Asian, Leslie (for those of you who don't know, Les and I call each other Can-Asians because we are both from Canada and we're both Asian). Anyway, the cookies this week held amazing lucky fortunes! Such as 'Everything you do from now on must be done whole heartedly,' and many about how our time has come and that today was the day our lucky number would prevail (aka - Number 1).

Off to the meet we were. Two vans.... The J-Van and the van Michael drives. Volume cranked, playing O-State Ballaz by former OSU baseball player, Mitch Canham. It is and has been the gymnastics team's anthem ever since it came out.

When we got to the arena, it was awfully familiar, as we felt confortable as we were just there for NCAA Regionals last spring! We even got to stay in the same locker room we were put in 10 months ago. Equipment check went well and the Beavers were ready to go! We were confident from the performance we had one week earlier, and wanted to prove to the nation that we deserved the scores we got, and that it wasn't just because we were at home.

The fact that we lost both Leslie and Olivia in our first 15 minute warm-up of the night shook our team a little. The coaches had to scramble and reassemble line-ups for the night and had to see if Olivia would be able to still perform on the other events. As upperclassmen, we took it upon ourselves to make sure the rest of the team stayed calm through the chaos. Sure enough, by our next warm-up touch, the Beavers were back on track and focused. I would say we were more determined to prove that we could still put up the numbers, even with our first and sometimes second alternates in our line-ups.

Our trip back to Oregon was anything but short! We had to leave our hotel at 3 a.m. PT and didn't return to Corvallis until about 3:15 p.m. PT. The whole team was exhausted, but high in spirits. On the bus ride back from Portland to Corvallis, we had another team meeting - this one is to debrief about the meet. What went wrong, what went well, what worked, and what we needed to work on as a team and individually. We all agreed that this meet proved something to all of us. It gave us realization that we are unstoppable. We were able to overcome the biggest adversities that could happen in a gymnastics meet. We lost four routines due to injuries, which could have potentially been six had Oliv not been able to push through her injured finger. We had to substitute alternates that weren't scheduled to even exhibition on that event (i.e. Leilani on bars). And we started off the meet having to count a fall on the first event ... this was a recipe for disaster. But - this year's gym team is not like any I have been on. Instead of continuing the negative snowball effect that can so easily occur, we were able to come back and have some amazing highlights. Many career and season-highs were set at Ohio State, and our team and individual rankings continued to outshine people's expectations.

This was our chance to make another statement to the nation. The statement that screamed so loudly for attention. That the 2010 Beaver Gymnastics team could do it any given night.

As a senior, I can't begin to explain how excited I am to see how far this team can go. I feel so privileged to be able to share my final year of gymnastics with such amazing and talented individuals, and I know we are going to make some heads turn this season!

Thank you so much for your continuous support Beaver Nation!

See you all on Friday in legendary Coliseum when we take on the Huskies, cheering loud and proud!


Go Beavs!

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