Getting a Grip with Mandi Rodriguez

Jan. 12, 2009

Hello Beaver fans!

Thanks for stopping by and checking out another great edition of 'Getting A Grip.' It is crazy to think that not only is it already January 12, but the Beavs have already competed in two away meets! Our first meet of the new year was on January 2 in Cancun, Mexico.

It was so exciting to have our first meet in a beautiful exotic city like Cancun, where our hotel was literally steps away from the beach.

The Cancun Classic was a great chance for us to 'get our feet wet' (no pun intended) once again in the competition scene. The day after arriving in Cancun, we had a practice session, and later that evening, we had a nice dinner with the Stanford team, allowing us to strengthen our Pac-10 bond. The competition the next day went very well - we had a lot of great individual performances, including Whitney's vault, Jen's bars, LA's beam, and Stephanie on floor! Everyone 'left everything out on the floor', allowing us to begin the season with a strong 194.575 taking second to Stanford (Denver came in third, and BYU fourth in our session). Overall, our team came out fighting and ready to go, and have nowhere else to go but up!

The day after the meet we had free to do what we wanted. Jereme, Laura-Ann, Olivia, Stephanie and I took the opportunity of a lifetime and went on a day-long tour to the ancient Mayan Chichen Itza ruins! On the way to the ruins, we were able to visit a 'cenote' - an amazing underground sinkhole that was an important source of water to the Mayans (and could be used for human sacrifices!). We were able to take a quick swim in it, which was very cool considering it was over 10,000 years old! Next was a quick lunch, at an authentic Mexican buffet. What a treat! When we finally made it to the ruins, we were all amazed at the sheer size and number of temples that stood before us. It was simply incredible to think of all the work that went into building these ancient wonders. We were fortunate to have a wonderful tour guide, Santos ('In Spanish, it is called 'Chichen Itza', in English it is called 'Chicken Pizza'!') who gave us an amazing two hour tour. We then had a few minutes of free time where we were able to explore further and take pictures. I could go on for days about how incredible the experience was, and what a great day it was, but I'll finish off by saying another 'thank you' to our coaches for allowing us to experience a little bit of 'real' Mexican culture while we had the opportunity.

After only four short days (and the start of a new term!) back at home, we were on the road again, this time to BYU. Although the overall score might not reflect it, the Beavs put up an outstanding team performance for our second meet of the season. We began on bars, with six 'hit' routines and four STUCK dismounts which was incredible!

The rest of the events followed suit, and we again had some great routines. Regardless of the final team score, I draw strength from knowing that we did improve and will continue to do so as the season progresses.

Now we're only a few short days away from our first home meet, against Arkansas and California. I know our team cannot wait to perform again in front of our amazing fans at Gill Coliseum! Well, thanks for stopping by, and I hope to see you soon! GO BEAVS!

~Mandz :)

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