Gymnasts Give Preseason Preview to Fans

Nov. 19, 2009

CORVALLIS - The Oregon State gymnastics team accomplished what it set out to do Thursday night in the Beavers' annual Orange and Black Exhibition at legendary Gill Coliseum ... they all walked away healthy and sent the fans home happy.

The 2009-10 Beavers spent the evening entertaining the fans while also gaining experience in front of judges and the crowd.

'This intrasquad is always such an important piece of preparing for the season,' head coach Tanya Chaplin said. 'It is a wonderful opportunity for our gymnasts to get back out here with the fans and especially for the freshmen to learn about preparing for a college meet. It is also a great opportunity for the judges to get re-acquainted with college gymnastics as well. It just provides a good learning experience for everyone involved.'

The meet, which was free of admission and concluded with autographs from the entire squad, also included lessons in what the gymnasts do to prepare for a meet as well as what judges are looking for in various routines from gymnasts Jereme Bigelow, Jen Kesler and Whitney Watson, who are recovering from various injuries.

Despite being three gymnasts short (Bigelow, Kesler and Watson) for the exhibition, the Beavers displayed depth on all four events with seven gymnasts performing on vault and balance beam, eight on the uneven bars and nine on the floor exercise.

'It's very early in the season and there were mistakes,' Chaplin said. 'But this really shows us what we need to work on which areas need to be cleaned up before our first meet ... and we have plenty of time to get it done.'

As has become a custom for the Beavers, the floor appears to be a strength heading into the 2010 season. Senior All-American Mandi Rodriguez sent the crowd home happy when she was awarded a 9.90 on the final routine of the night. Meanwhile, freshman Makayla Stambaugh added a 9.85 on the floor and a 9.825 on the beam. Rodriguez and Stambaugh were the only gymnasts to perform in the all-around with the rookie taking top honors with a score of 39.075.

Oregon State fans got their first glimpses of OSU's newest additions to the program. Leilani Alferos (vault, bars, floor), Kelsi Blalock (vault, beam, floor), Melanie Jones (vault, bars, beam) and Stambaugh (all-around) each made a solid first appearance in the Orange and Black.

The Beavers, who have reached the NCAA Championships each of the last four seasons, are scheduled to open the 2010 season at home Jan. 8 with the Salbasgeon Suites Invitational when they host Illinois, Air Force and Alaska-Anchorage.

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