Gymnasts Open Season In Hawaii

Dec. 30, 2002

WHAT'S IN STORE: The Oregon State gymnastics team will spend the New Year's holiday in the Aloha State as the Beavers travel to Hawaii for their season opener. OSU will kick off the season with a dual meet against UCLA at Kokokahi Gymnastics in Kaneohe, Hawaii, on Thursday, January 2 at 6 p.m. (8 p.m. PT).

A LOOK AT THE BEAVERS: Oregon State, which advanced to the NCAA Championships for the third year in a row last season, returns 19 of its 24 routines from last year's national competition. All-Americans Elizabeth Jillson (first team, bars, 2002) and Tanya Ricioli (second team, floor, 2000) highlight a list of solid returning gymnasts. Joining the 12 returnees are three talented freshmen, who are expected to make an impact early on.

ROAD WARRIORS: Oregon State won't get a chance to compete in front of its home crowd until January 24, when OSU hosts UCLA in a rematch of the season opener. The Beavers will compete on the road the first three weeks of the season. After enjoying the sun and surf of Hawaii, the Beavers will return to the mainland to grab their winter coats before heading to Michigan State, where they'll face the Spartans and Auburn on January 10. OSU then travels to the desert for a January 17 dual meet at Arizona. OSU hasn't opened with three straight road meets since 1985, when the Beavers were at the Aloha Gym-Fest, at San Jose State, at Washington State and at Utah before hosting Oregon in the home opener that year.

GETTING AN EARLY START: The January 2 date marks OSU's earliest season opening meet since the 1985 season, when OSU opened with the Aloha Gym-Fest on December 28. That was also the last time the Beavers ventured off the mainland for a meet. The Beavers placed second in the seven-team invitational in Honolulu that year, finishing behind champion New Mexico. UCLA was also at the Gym-Fest.

TENTATIVE LINEUP: Following is a breakdown of which gymnasts likely will compete in Thursday's season opener.

Vault: Seven gymnasts are in the hunt for the six spots on vault. Freshman Angela Morales, who placed fourth on the event at the 2000 and 2001 Junior Olympic national meet, is expected to anchor the event for OSU. Also in the mix are Th�r�se Videan and Lindsay Nelson, who each won the event at least once last year. Tanya Ricioli and Meghan Jones were named the team's co-Most Consistent Vaulters a year ago and are also contenders for lineup spots, as are Heather Justus and Daylee Ingalls.

Bars: All-American Elizabeth Jillson headlines a list of seven gymnasts who are in the mix for spots on bars. Jillson earned first team All-American honors and placed 11th at last year's NCAA Championships. Tanya Ricioli scored a career-high 9.90 at last year's NCAA Regional Championships and is expected to be another key competitor this year. Also watch for Lindsay Nelson, Chrissy Lamun, Th�r�se Videan, Meghan Jones and Daylee Ingalls.

Beam: The addition of the freshmen should provide a boost to the beam team. Chrissy Lamun was the Junior Olympic national champion on the event in 2000 and was sixth last year. Angela Morales took sixth in her age group at last year's J.O. meet and is expected in OSU's beam lineup as well. Likely joining the two rookies in the beam lineup are returnees Tanya Ricioli, Elaine Yoder, Daylee Ingalls and Lindsay Nelson.

Floor: Floor should be a strong event for OSU. This year's opening lineup should include four of the gymnasts who were part of the floor team that scored a school record 49. 625 at NCAA regionals last year. All-American Tanya Ricioli leads the list of those returnees, with Th�r�se Videan, Lindsay Nelson and Heather Justusalso expected to compete on Thursday. Making their debut should be freshmen Chrissy Lamun and Angela Morales, who placed second in their divisions at the 2002 J.O. national meet.

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