2003 Gymnastics Season Preview

Dec. 6, 2002

The Oregon State gymnastics team has advanced to the NCAA Championships the last three seasons, and the Beavers expect nothing less in 2003.

Early signs indicate the Beavers are poised to have another successful campaign. OSU returns 19 of 24 routines from last year's NCAA meet and, with the addition of three freshmen who could make an impact on every event, the competition for lineups spots is heating up.

'Our goal is to continue to compete and contend with the best in the nation, and we'd obviously like to break into the Super Six,' coach Tanya Chaplin said.

Two All-Americans highlight the list of strong returning gymnasts ready to take the Beavers to the next level.

Senior Elizabeth Jillson earned first team All-American honors on bars a year ago, and junior Tanya Ricioli captured second team All-American honors on floor in 2000.

Annie Campbell, an All-Pacific-10 all-arounder last year, is also back for the Beavers. However, the senior ruptured her Achilles tendon the week before the NCAA Championships, so she's been limited in her training. She is quickly regaining her skills, but she won't be rushed into competing before she's ready.

'We're going to take things slowly with Annie. We're not going to push her. She'll return to competition slowly,' Chaplin said.

Other top returnees for OSU include junior Lindsay Nelson and sophomore Th�r�se Videan, both of whom won at least one individual event title for the Beavers last season.

'The team continues to grow. The returnees have gained a lot from all the adversity they've been through. They've worked tremendously hard to bring added enthusiasm to the gym,' Chaplin said. 'They've done a great job in the preseason. The freshmen have added a lot, and they really push the upperclassmen. That's nice to see.'

Those freshmen are Chrissy Lamun, a former Junior Olympic national champion on balance beam, Angela Morales, a former USAG junior national team member, and Michelle Dickinson, a regional beam champion.

The team will be challenged early, with three away meets to start the season. OSU opens with a dual meet against UCLA on January 2 in Hawaii, followed with meets at Michigan State and Arizona. The Beavers open the home season on January 24 with another competition against UCLA.

Collegiate gymnastics will implement the use of the vaulting table this season, making the horse a thing of the past. Introduced internationally in 2001, the new table bears a slight resemblance to a tongue and is about three-feet wide by four-feet long. By contrast, the horse was five-feet wide, but only 18 inches long.

'It looks intimidating because it's a longer distance, but it hasn't been too difficult of an adjustment,' vault coach Michael Chaplin said. 'The yurchenko (round-off entry) vaults have benefited the most because there's a larger margin for error. On the old horse, when you're making a blind entry, if you misplace your hands you could have a big problem. Now with the new table, there's more surface area, so if you're off a little, it won't hurt you as much.'

The table was used in USAG Junior Olympic competitions in 2002, so OSU's freshmen have been training the new apparatus for a full year, while the returning gymnasts have had to learn to make the adjustment a little quicker, but it's gone smoothly.

Chaplin expects that the extra year of competing on the new table combined with her natural ability could make freshman Angela Morales OSU's top vaulter this year. Morales placed fourth on the event at the J.O. national championships in 2000 and 2001. She competes a handspring pike half and is also capable of a handspring layout front with a half twist, both of which are worth a 10.0.

'Angela is explosive and very powerful,' Chaplin said. 'She's one of the most powerful gymnasts I've ever coached.'

Morales won't be the only Beaver performing a 10.0 vault, though.

'I will be surprised if we don't have six 10.0 vaults this year,' Chaplin said. 'Maybe not in the first meet or two, but if we live up to our potential, we will have six 10.0 vaults.'

Tanya Ricioli and Th�r�se Videan will continue to train the handspring pike half, and Heather Justus has upgraded to that vault as well. Ricioli and Videan combined for 12 scores of 9.80 or better last season, and Justus scored three 9.80 marks on her handspring pike front, worth a maximum of 9.90.

Lindsay Nelson and Annie Campbell both scored as high as 9.925 on their yurchenko half-off layout fronts last year, and Daylee Ingalls looks to earn a lineup spot with that vault as well. She trained it last year but never performed it in a competition.

Meghan Jones has been training a yurchenko layout full, a 10.0 vault, after competing a handspring front tuck (valued at a 9.80) as a freshman.

'The biggest surprise has been Meghan Jones. She is going to do really well,' Chaplin said.

The Beavers had one of the top bars teams in the country a year ago, and the majority of those competitors are back this year. Many of them have upgraded their routines, so the Beavers could be even stronger on the event in 2003.

'Looking at preseason practices, the athletes are showing much better positioning than they were at this point last year,' said Dick Foxal, who coaches the bars team. 'Their handstands are stronger, there are less execution errors and they are more consistent in their sequences.'

Elizabeth Jillson earned first team All-American honors as a junior last year, and she's working on adding a toe-on toe-off hindorff in hopes of including another 'E' skill (the most difficult level) in her routine as she tries to repeat as an All-American her senior year.

Tanya Ricioli had a career-high 9.90 to place second at the NCAA West Regional competition last year, but according to Foxal, she's capable of even greater things this season.

'Tanya is looking better in preseason than she did at regionals,' he said.

Lindsay Nelson has upgraded to a full-twisting double-layout dismount, and Meghan Jones has added a piked jaeger and a double front dismount (both 'E' skills) to her routine and will be a contender for a lineup spot as well.

Heidi Goehring, who competed on bars in every meet but one last year, has been hampered by a wrist injury but could make her way back into the lineup once she's able to train regularly. Annie Campbell scored as high as 9.90 on bars last year and should make an impact when she's able to return to competition.

Th�r�se Videan, the team's alternate in 2002, has added a new dismount and a new combination to her routine in hopes of earning a full-time lineup spot this year.

Chrissy Lamun is the most likely of the three freshmen to crack the lineup, although Foxal said Angela Morales and Michelle Dickinson could see competition as well.

The Beavers have more depth on beam than any other event, with at least 10 gymnasts in the hunt for the six lineup spots.

'There's such healthy competition for spots on this event that I couldn't list an exact lineup right now,' coach Tanya Chaplin said. 'It's going to come down to who's the most consistent.'

OSU returns five of its six regular beam performers from a year ago, but the addition of three talented freshmen have made the competition some of the toughest in the gym.

Chrissy Lamun was the 2000 Junior Olympic national champion on the event in 2000, and she was sixth at the 2002 competition. Angela Morales placed sixth in her age group in 2002, and Michelle Dickinson won the regional beam title in 2002.

'Chrissy is a beautiful gymnast. She's breathtaking to watch on beam. Angela is very solid and aggressive, and Michelle has beautiful execution,' Chaplin said. 'The addition of the freshmen will give us a solid beam team.'

Tanya Ricioli, Daylee Ingalls and Elaine Yoder competed beam in every meet last year, with all three scoring as high as 9.85. Annie Campbell turned in several 9.925 marks and is quickly getting her skills back after her injury. Lindsay Nelson also competed regularly in 2002 and will battle for a spot in the lineup again this year.

Heidi Goehring proved last year that she's capable of making an impact on beam as well. When Campbell was injured just before nationals, Goehring was put in the NCAA lineup despite not having competed since January. She ended up scoring a 9.80, the highest of any Beaver at nationals.

Like beam, the three freshmen have increased the competition for lineup spots on floor. Realistically, the Beavers return four of the six gymnasts who helped OSU set a school record on the event at regionals last year. The Beavers didn't count a score lower than 9.90 in that meet.

Lindsay Nelson, who set a personal best 9.90 at regionals, has upgraded her middle and last passes, and Th�r�se Videan, who also scored a 9.90 at regionals, is training a double layout this year. Tanya Ricioli scored a 9.90 or better four times last season and should be a factor in 2003 as well, and Heather Justus has upgraded her first pass.

The freshmen will help fill the void left by Jerra Lopez, who scored as high as 9.975 a year ago, and possibly Annie Campbell, who hasn't yet tumbled since her injury.

Chrissy Lamun and Angela Morales placed second in their age groups at the 2002 Junior Olympic national championships, and Michelle Dickinson tied for 13th on the event. All three are legitimate contenders for lineup spots this season.

'They have different styles, but all three freshmen are very good. Chrissy has strong tumbling and a lot of grace and beauty,' said Tanya Chaplin. 'Angela has raw power and a lot of energy, and Michelle is very clean and really pretty to watch.'

Elaine Yoder, Daylee Ingalls and Meghan Jones could also see action, and Heidi Goehring may be an impact once she recovers from her wrist injury.

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