Beavers Go 24-for-24, Tie for Second, Edges Georgia in Tiebreaker

April 10, 2010

COLUMBIA, Mo. - The tension was high. The intensity was immense. The result was complicated. Tiebreakers were involved. But in the end, the eighth-ranked Oregon State gymnastics team earned its fifth straight trip to the NCAA Championships, Saturday night.

'We knew this would be a tough regional field and qualifying for nationals would be difficult,' head coach Tanya Chaplin said. 'We stress to the team every day the importance of fighting to finish every skill because you never know when you'll need that fraction of a tenth (of a point). Tonight we needed everything and it is a testament to this team's will that we were able to meet our goal of reaching the NCAA Championships.'

Oregon State 'hit' 24 out of 24 routines for the first time during the 2010 season, and it proved to be the difference between beginning its offseason earlier than planned and continuing the season for two more weeks and a trip to the NCAA Championships in Gainesville, Fla., April 22-24. Laura-Ann Chong, who won the Pac-10 title on the balance beam two weeks ago, tied for the Regional title on the uneven bars.

The Beavers finished the meet on a bye with a score of 196.275. For the final rotation, OSU was forced to sit in their corral and watch as third-seeded Missouri - which led throughout entire meet - finished on the floor exercise and needed to score 48.850 to tie the Beavs, and Georgia, which finished on the beam needing a 49.175 to tie.

Missouri tallied a 49.075 to win the regional with a score of 196.500, but on the balance beam where Georgia was working, the highest team score entering the final rotation was just 49.000. The Bulldogs were solid, but not spectacular, as each of their first three gymnasts scored 9.825. However, back-to-back 9.80's from the fourth and fifth performers left Courtney McCool in need of a 9.925 to beat the Beavers. McCool performed an outstanding routine and scored 9.90 to win the event title, but it left Georgia tied with Oregon State.

The tiebreaker is to use all six scores on each event, which gave the Beavers the advantage over the five-time defending national champion Bulldogs, 235.200- 234.800. It is the first time Oregon State has beaten Georgia since the 1985 NCAA Championships.

Oregon State began the meet on the floor exercise, which has become a familiar rotation for the Beavers after drawing the same rotation as at Pac-10 Championships two weeks ago. Six solid routines earned a team score of 49.225 including matching 9.85's for Becky Colvin, Melanie Jones and Makayla Stambaugh. Mandi Rodriguez anchored the lineup scoring 9.875 which finished third in the meet.

In the second rotation, Leilani Alferos led off on the vault with a 9.65 in her first competition since late February. Stambaugh tallied a 9.85 and Rodriguez finished with a 9.90 to tie for second.

At the halfway point - after a bye - Oregon State (98.225) was in third behind Missouri (98.425) and Georgia (98.350).

Moving to the uneven bars, the Beavers needed to make up ground. Jen Kesler and Olivia Vivian opened the rotation with scores of 9.80 - which to that point in the meet was the third-best score. Rodriguez nailed her dismount to score 9.825 and Stambaugh added a 9.85. Chong followed with a beautiful routine and stuck her landing to score a 9.90 to tie for the event title. The Beavers posted a bars score of 49.175, the highest team score of the night.

In the fifth stanza, Oregon State had another solid rotation with Vivian scoring 9.80 and Leslie Mak topping out for the Beavers with a 9.825. OSU finished with a score of 48.875 on the beam, which was judged tightly throughout the meet. Then the waiting began.

NOTE: The top two teams from each regional advanced to the NCAA Championships, April 22-24. Oregon State and Georgia finished in a tie for second. The tiebreaker was settled by going to all six scores on each event giving OSU second place by a score of 235.200-234.800 ... Leilani Alferos performed for the first time since a bicycle accident Feb. 22. She had missed the last six meets prior to Saturday night's vault.

Team Results
1) Missouri 196.500
t2) Oregon State 196.275
t2) Georgia 196.275
4) Minnesota 195.000
5) Iowa 194.900
6) North Carolina 194.750

VAULT Results
1) Sarah Shire (MIZZOU) 9.950
t2) Alex Gold (MIZZOU) 9.900, Hilary Mauro (UGA) 9.900, Mandi Rodriguez (OSU)
t1) Sarah Shire (MIZZOU) 9.900, Laura-Ann Chong (OSU) 9.900
t3) Makayla Stambaugh (OSU) 9.850, Rebecca Simbhudas (IOWA) 9.850
1) Courtney McCool (UGA) 9.900
2) Sarah Shire (MIZZOU) 9.875
t3. Mary Burke (MIZZOU) 9.825, Cassidy McComb (UGA) 9.825, Hilary Mauro (UGA) 9.825, Noel Couch (UGA) 9.825, Leslie Mak (OSU) 9.825
t1) Sarah Shire (MIZZOU) 9.900, Courtney McCool (UGA) 9.900
3) Mandi Rodriguez (OSU) 9.875
1) Sarah Shire (MIZZOU) 39.625
2) Mandi Rodriguez (OSU) 39.300
3) Danielle Guider (MIZZOU) 39.275

OSU: VAULT: 49.000, BARS: 49.175, BEAM: 48.875, FLOOR: 49.225
Mandi Rodriguez 9.900, Makayla Stambaugh 9.850, Becky Colvin 9.750, Stephanie McGregor 9.750, Whitney Watson 9.750, Leilani Alferos 9.650
BARS: Laura-Ann Chong 9.900, Makayla Stambaugh 9.850, Mandi Rodriguez 9.825, Olivia Vivian 9.800, Jen Kesler 9.800, Leslie Mak 9.800
BEAM: Leslie Mak 9.825, Olivia Vivian 9.800, Melanie Jones 9.775, Jen Kesler 9.775, Laura-Ann Chong 9.700, Mandi Rodriguez 9.700
FLOOR: Mandi Rodriguez 9.875, Makayla Stambaugh 9.850, Melanie Jones 9.850, Becky Colvin 9.850, Olivia Vivian 9.800, Leslie Mak 9.775
ALL-AROUND: Mandi Rodriguez 39.300

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