Pac-10 Q&A with Mandi Rodriguez, Oregon State Gymnastics

Jan. 6, 2009


Mandi Rodriguez

Rodriguez competed the entire 2008 season without a single fall, 'hitting' 48 out of 48 routines. In addition, she scored equal to or higher than 9.85 on floor exercise in her last 13 meets of the season, including six scores of 9.9 or better. Mandi tallied 13 individual event titles in '08 including six on vault, where she posted scores of 9.9 or better eight times, and five on the floor. She scored 9.9 at the NCAA West Regional to tie for the title. She also earned first team All-Pac10 honors on vault and floor. Mandi gives a shout-out to all her teammates: it's going to be a great season for the Beavs! Statistics courtesy of

Favorite 2008 Christmas gift... I asked everyone for donations to my savings account for a new computer. The funds came rolling in, and I am now the proud and very excited owner of a brand new MacBook. It's my first Mac! MacBook

Highlights of Oregon State's trip to Cancun, Mexico, last week for the season-opening Cancun Classic... The highlight of the meet was that our entire team came out ready to go. We were the most prepared that we've ever been for a season-opening competition. Everyone was confident in their abilities and, therefore, not stressed about how the meet might turn out. We thoroughly enjoyed competing. As for outside the gym, four teammates and I decided to bypass tanning on the beach one afternoon for a tour of the Chichen Itza Mayan Ruins. What an incredible experience! Words can't capture the beauty and magnitude of the ruins, but we had a fantastic time.


Chichen Itsu Mayan Ruins
Tool from last November's NCAA Division I Regional Leadership Conference that you are most excited to apply on campus... The entire Regional Leadership Conference was amazing. I learned a tremendous amount about myself. The Pac-10 break-out session was the most memorable meeting, though. It was exciting to meet Conference peers and administrators and to gain an awareness for how the Pac-10 can become a more unified Conference. I hope that Pac-10 gymnastics can be a model in 2009 for how other sports can take pride in their collective programs. Stanford and Oregon State initiated this model at the Cancun Classic. Instead of doing our traditional Oregon State cheer, we altered the words and invited Stanford to chant Pac-10 with us. At the conclusion of the meet, after Stanford took first place and we nabbed second, the two teams repeated the Conference chant on the podium. Pac-10 Conference Logo
Favorite athlete to watch... Michael Phelps, swimming. I was mesmerized by his Beijing Olympic performance of 8 gold medals. From his interviews and profiles, he comes across as a chill guy, very down to earth and relaxed. As he approaches the start blocks, he knows exactly what he needs to get done. When the start gun sounds, he does it.


Love to trade places for a day with... The President of the United States. I'm not so much interested in actually being President for a day as I am in just hanging out in the private corners of the White House. But getting a glimpse of the day-to-day agenda for the President would be interesting... for a day only. That job's too stressful for my liking!


Thoughts while mid-air during a vault... All technical stuff. I think, 'Go for the landing. Find that floor!' The goal while flying is to ultimately stick the landing.


Attribute I like most about myself... My sense of humor. I have an easy time making my friends, teammates, and coaches laugh. Humor has a wonderful ability to incite relaxation in people. Laughing to tears
The funniest member on my team... Jami Lanz and me in partnership. We feed off of each other and keep the laughs rolling. For example, our team had a disastrous workout the day before we left for Cancun. Teammates were falling from apparatuses and injuring themselves, everyone was tired, and we had a long night of packing and team dinner ahead of us. Jami and I were the last two to complete our events. Before our routines, we just started giggling. It was like, 'Seriously, what else can go wrong? We might as well just go for it and see what the outcome it.'


Biggest pet peeve... Ah, I have so many. The most personal one is touching. I can't stand being touched, especially on the back. We might be running and someone reaches to tuck in a tag on my shirt, and I'll completely snap. Also, I think people who answer their cell phones or text while in restaurants are completely rude. There's a time and a place for using cell phones, and a public setting while surrounded by friends is not it!


Marked out cell phone

Favorite class at Oregon State... I took a course titled Ballet for Sport during my sophomore year. We had the most eclectic group of athletes in the class: 300-pound football players, wrestlers, 6'-tall volleyball players. The instructor was a 4'9' petite woman. I had a great time just watching the awkwardness in the room. Plus, it was an  opportunity to stretch before gymnastics workout.


What my sights are set on after college... My goal is to travel to Mexico or some other Spanish-speaking community for 3-6 months. I am a Mexican citizen and have taken Spanish classes since early high school. But I have never taken advantage of either. I plan to enroll in a nursing program for graduate school; consequently, I would ideally work within the healthcare system of one of these Spanish communities.
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