Everyday Champion - Whitney Watson

Jan. 20, 2010

Whitney Watson is a senior with the Oregon State gymnastics team and is using her senior season to the best of her ability performing the best gymnastics of her career. A regular contributor to the vault and uneven bars lineup, Whitney provides a consistency to each lineup that helps to provide a sense of calm for her teammates that perform behind her.

A native of Tustin, Calif., Whitney is a prime example of what a student-athlete should strive to be. She is an excellent student as evidenced by two Pac-10 All-Academic nods and she's involved in the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. She's scheduled to graduate in June with a degree in Graphic Design.

What attracted you to coming to Oregon State?
'I was attracted to Oregon State mostly by Tanya (Chaplin) and Michael (Chaplin). They let me know that there was a great team atmosphere here at Oregon State. They were in contact with me through the whole recruiting process and were really supportive. I came up and I loved the campus ... it's definitely different from Orange County, Calif., where I'm from. It was just really the best place for me to go. '

What is it like to compete for Tanya Chaplin?
'Training and competing for Tanya is probably the best thing that I've had in my career so far. She knows exactly what she wants from everyone. She is very demanding, but very supportive at the same time. She's just fully confident in you 100 percent of the time, and it has really helped me with college gymnastics.'

What are your plans for after graduation?
'After graduation my plans are to work for Nike. I'm a graphic design major, and my dream job would be to work for Nike in apparel design, brand design, anything of that nature. I'm applying for an internship in March, so we'll see what happens!'

Do you plan to stay involved in gymnastics in the future?
'After I graduate, I do plan to stay involved in gymnastics. My Dad actually owns my gymnastics club back home, and it's going to be in the family forever, so I'll always have a chance to coach or be around it.'

What do you think it takes to be a successful student-athlete?
'To be a successful student-athlete, you really have to have time management skills. I've learned my time management skills from being in gymnastics my whole life. Even throughout high school when we were in the gym five hours a day, we still had to make sure we got our homework done. Being organized is another really big thing, trying to balance school, and gymnastics, and traveling at the same time. I haven't found it too difficult, but I don't have time for anything else.'

You're completing a degree in graphic design in four years. It takes most graphic design majors five, and you've been a Pac-10 All-Academic selection twice. How've you managed that and what does that recognition mean to you?
'I'm completing my graphic design major in four years, which is very rare. Most people take five, and I've added in athletics at the same time. I actually started with my major two terms late too, I came in as an exercise and sports science major. I took summer school a couple of years, I'm just working my butt off, and I'm going to do it in four years. '

What has been your favorite class at OSU?
'My favorite class at OSU is probably my graphic design classes. Andrea Marks and Nancy (Froelich) are important graphic design teachers. They just help so much with everything. They are really dedicated to us. My class is only about 35 people. I see the same people every day, and we've worked our way up through the program together, so I've made friends also. I'm in a packaging design class right now, which is learning how to design for products. We've also done brand design, designing logos and things like that.'

What is it like to compete at Gill Coliseum?
'The fans at the Oregon State gymnastics meets are the best in the country. The fans probably don't know how much they help us with our routines. The excitement really pumps us up. When we go to away meets, we really wish our fans could be there for us, so we have to really work to keep our energy up amongst ourselves. We just love Beaver Nation and what the fans do for us.'

You're involved in SAAC. Talk about what your role is, what drew you to that, and what that means.
'I'm the team relations executive in our Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. I got started in it as a team representative. When D'Anna (Piro) was president, she kind of drew our team in and told us to come see what it was all about. I really wanted to get more involved, so when she graduated, I ran for office. Now Laura-Ann (Chong) and I are representatives of SAAC - she's the secretary. We work on a variety of community service projects; we work on various other things within the department. We communicate between the student body and the athletic body, and make sure that everyone is working well.'

Is there any specific SAAC related project you've been involved in that has special meaning to you?
'In November I traveled to San Francisco to represent Oregon State at the Pac-10 SAAC meetings, which is similar to what we have here at OSU but at a conference level. We learned about leadership, we played leadership games, we sat down and we had meetings together, we went over legislation and I got to meet other student-athletes from all of the Pac-10 schools in various sports - even sports that we don't have here at Oregon State. It was really cool to meet other student-athletes going through the same thing that we do.'

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