CORVALLIS, Ore. – After nearly a month of waiting, more than 2,000 fans turned out Friday night to see the 12th-ranked Oregon State gymnastics team perform in its annual Orange and Black Exhibition Friday night. The event was originally scheduled for Dec. 6 but was postponed due to a snow storm.
“The Orange and Black Exhibition is always a very important step in our process of preparing for the season and tonight was no different,” head coach Tanya Chaplin said. “We had a lot of new face in lineups and several more that haven’t had much experience in the lineup. We gained a lot of experience tonight in Gill that just can’t be gained from practicing in the gym. Performing in front of this many people is a new thing for most college gymnasts and this will certainly help our team be prepared for the regular season.”
With the OSU coaches seeking to replace 10 routines from the 2013 lineup following the graduations of four outstanding gymnasts, a quartet of freshmen – Madeline Gardiner, Megan Jimenez, Kaytianna McMillan and Taylor Ricci – performed for the Beavers for the first time accounting for five routines and four exhibitions.
The exhibition also allowed Chaplin to tinker with the lineup as she seeks the right combination of gymnasts and sorts out the depth of each of the four lineups. For instance, with 11 gymnasts vying for spots in the floor exercise lineup, Chaplin rested Brittany Harris and Cerise Witherby in favor of less experienced gymnasts.
“Brittany and Cerise were in the lineup every meet last year. I know what they can do. I wanted to see what some new faces could do in front of a crowd and with judges on hand. Again, it’s just an experience for them that can’t be replicated. The most important thing about tonight is that we walked away healthy and now we have a week to set our lineups and clean up some little things before the season starts.
The Beavers, who have reached the NCAA Championships in seven of the last eight seasons, open the 2014 season at No. 19 Ohio State next Saturday, Jan. 11 in Columbus. Oregon State is set to host it’s first of five home meets when Iowa State visits Corvallis Saturday, Jan. 25.