Beavers Set for Top 25 Clash in the Desert

Photo By: Mark Hoffman   03-06-2014

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No. 15 Oregon State (8-3) will be on the road the rest of the season which begins at No. 18 Arizona (3-8) at noon PT on Sunday at the McKale Center in Tucson, Ariz.

Oregon State goes for its fourth win over a top-25  team in 2014 ... OSU has beaten all seven of its opponents the Beavers have been ranked ahead of this year ... last week Chelsea Tang scored a 9.90 on the bars for the first time in her career. She became the eighth gymnast in Oregon State history to record a 9.90 on all four apparatus ... Chelsea Tang has performed in the all-around in all seven of the Beavers’ meets this year - and 13 straight meets dating back to Feb. 16, 2013 when OSU beat then-No. 4 UCLA 196.725-196.075 ... Brittany Harris is the only other OSU gymnast to compete in the all-around for the Beavers this year, each of the last three meets ... Oregon State celebrated Senior Night March 1 following it’s final home meet of the year against Nebraska and Arizona State when Kelsi Blalock, Hannah Casey and Brittany Harris each performed in their final meet at Gill Coliseum ... the Pac-12 dual meet against California, scheduled for Sat., Feb. 8 was ‘snowed out’ when a winter storm closed the Oregon State campus on Thursday and Friday. It was the second time this season the Beavers were snowed out. Their annual Orange & Black Exhibition, originally slated for Dec. 6, was postponed to Jan. 3 due another snow storm.

Oregon State and Arizona meet for the  78th time in history with the Beavers holding a 51-26 advantage. But the Wildcats have a 9-10 edge in meets in Tucson. Oregon State has won 14 straight meetings, OSU’s second-longest current winning streak over Pac-12 schools (California - 24). The last Wildcat win over the Beavers came on Jan. 26, 2007 at McKale Center, 196.325-194.600.

Here are some quick hitters about the Oregon State gymnastics team through seven meets:

  • Oregon State is ranked No. 15 this week, slipping one spot from last week ... With a season-high score at Arizona, the Beavers could move as high as No. 10 in next week’s rankings. See page 3 for the preseason top 25 and complete rankings.
  • All four of OSU’s lineups remain ranked among the top 25 in the nation. Vault is ranked No. 18 (49.020 RQS); uneven bars is ranked No. 12 (49.105); balance beam is ranked No. 12 (49.025) and floor exercise is ranked No. 23 (48.985).
  • OSU’s floor team posted a 49.475 mark against Stanford (Feb. 3), the highest floor mark the Beavers have tallied since Feb. 7, 2010 at California when Mandi Rodriguez and Makayla Stambaugh each scored 9.95 and Melanie Jones added a 9.90.
  • Through seven meets, Oregon State’s routines have been split fairly evenly throughout the squad with the juniors accounting for the most with 37% (62 out of 168) of the routines performed this year. The seniors are providing 28% (47 of 168), the freshmen 20% (34 of 168) and the sophomores (15% (25 of 168. In comparision, in 2013, the senior class accounted for 53% (151 of 287) of the production while the sophomores provided 23% (65 of 287), the juniors accounted for 18% (53 of 287) and freshmen 6% (18 of 287).
  • Oregon State has ‘hit’ 96% (162 of 168) of its routines through seven meets. In comparision, the Beavers ‘hit’ 92% (265 of 287) in 2013.
  • The Beavers’ loss to Nebraska last Saturday marked the first regular season loss in Gill Coliseum for OSU since Jan. 28, 2011. During that span of 15 meets OSU defeated 28 teams and tied one (UCLA - 2012).
  • Oregon State is on the road the rest of the season with three straight meets away from home leading into the postseason. The Beavs finish at Arizona (Mar. 9), at Washington with Seattle Pacific (Mar. 14) and at California for the Pac-12 Championships (Mar. 22).
  • OSU entered the season needing to replace four gymnasts and nine routines - three vault, two bars, two beam, two floor - from the 2013 end of season lineup. Instead, head coach Tanya Chaplin inserted 11 new routines into the lineup in the season-opener at Ohio State including two extras on the floor.
  • The Beavers’ lineups have been impacted dramatically in 2014 by a trio of walk-ons. Hannah Casey, who has been in the bars lineup for most of the last three seasons, has moved into the anchor spot  while Taylor Keeker has spent time leading off for the same lineup. Keeker has also been OSU’s best vaulter most of the season. In addition, Katelyn Ohlrich is in the middle of the balance beam lineup for the second year in a row.
  • Erika Aufiero, Kelsi Blalock and Taylor Keeker were chosen as team co-captains for the 2014 season. The threesome was selected in a vote by coaches and teammates.
  • Ten of OSU’s 2014 opponents were ranked in the preseason top 25: No. 4 UCLA, No. 6 Utah, No. 9 Stanford, No. 10 Nebraska, No. 17 Arizona, No. 19 Ohio State, No. 20 Washington, No. 22 California, No. 23 Boise State and No. 25 Arizona State.


  • Tanya Chaplin set the Oregon State record for wins in the Beavers’ home opener with a 196.425-194.850 victory over Iowa State. It was the 318th triumph of Chaplin’s career pushing her into sole possession of first on Oregon State’s all-time list moving past Jim Turpin (1986-97). She also holds the school record with 261 regular season wins and currently has 323 overall.
  • Chaplin has led the Beavers to conference titles in two of the last three years, winning the 2011 Pac-10 title and the 2013 Pac-12 Championships.
  • She has directed OSU to the NCAA Championships 10 times in her 16 seasons at the helm.
  • Chaplin is a five-time Pac-10 Conference Coach of the Year - 1999, ‘05, ‘08, ‘10, ‘11.

Chelsea Tang was named Pac-12 First Team on the balance beam and qualified to the NCAA Championships as an individual all-arounder in 2013. Here are some quick hitters about Chelsea:

  • Named as the Pac-12 Gymnast of the Week, for the week of Jan. 13-19, for the first time in her career after scoring 39.275 in the all-around earning individual titles on bars and in the all-around.
  • Has eight total wins including four in the all-around plus two each on bars and beam.
  • She is tied for No. 17 in the all-around (39.260) and tied for No. 15 in the nation on the balance beam (9.865).
  • Last week Tang scored a 9.90 on the bars for the first time in her career. She became the eighth gymnast in Oregon State history to record a 9.90 on all four apparatus joining an exclusive list that includes Annie Campbell (2000-02, 04), Jami Lanz (2006-09), Lindsay Nelson (2001-03, 05), Chelsea Plourde (2004-05), Tanya Ricioli-Hebron (2000, 02-04) and Mandi Rodriguez (2007-10).
  • Tang has performed in the all-around in each of the last 13 meets and 15 of the last 16.
  • She has ‘hit’ all 28 routines in 2014 and 87 out of 89 in her career.
  • Majoring in exercise and sport science with aspirations to be a physician’s assistant.
  • Her family runs and owns a Chinese restaurant in Eugene - Hong Kong Restaurant.

Brittany Harris is a two-time All-Pac-12 selection on the uneven bars and qualified to the NCAA Championships as an individual all-arounder in 2013. Here are some quick hitters about the senior:

  • Has one ‘win’ under her belt in 2014; she scored 9.925 on bars against Stanford (Feb. 3, 2014) to tie for the individual title ... Brittany has three individual titles in her career - one on vault (Jan. 14, 2011), one on beam (Feb. 3, 2013).
  • She was inserted into the floor lineup for the first time at Utah and has been in the all-around for the last three meets and has performed in the all-around 24 times in her career.
  • Has ‘hit’ 22 out of 23 routines in 2014 and 148 of 154 in her career - the most on the squad.
  • Majoring in public health and will graduate next June. She plans to go on to grad school after graduation.
  • Her father, Steve Harris, played five seasons in the NBA for Houston Rockets, Golden State Warriors, the Los Angeles Clippers and Detroit Pistons.

Madeline Gardiner is one of the most decorated gymnasts ever recruited to Oregon State during the Chaplin era. Here are some quick hitters about the talented freshman:

  • Has won two event titles in her rookie season - one on beam (9.875) and one on floor (9.95) in the Comfort Suites Invitational (Feb. 15).
  • Has ‘hit’ all 16 routines in her career - one of 10 OSU gymnasts that have not ‘missed’ a routine in 2014.
  • Madeline was named the Pac-12 Specialist of the Week for the week of Feb. 10-16 after she posted career-bests of 9.95 on floor and 9.875 on beam to win the first event titles of her career.
  • Canadian National Team’s alternate for the 2012 Olympics in London.
  • During the team’s trip to Ohio State - the first road trip of her career - she introduced several teammates to Tim Horton’s Cafe and Bake Shop, a Canadian multinational fast casual restaurant.

Kaytianna McMillan was a four-time Junior Olympic Nationals qualifier and won the Level 10 national titles on balance beam and all-around in 2013. Here are some quick hitters about the talented freshman:

  • Won her first event title in her first meet at Gill Coliseum, scoring a 9.90 on the beam against Iowa State (Jan. 25).
  • Has ‘hit’ 12 of 13 routines - her one miss was on the bars at UCLA (Jan. 19).
  • She is currently nursing a foot injury that has held her out of the last two meets. Coaches are hopeful to have her slowly begin returning to lineups in the near future - her status remains week-to-week.
  • Kaytianna trained at the National Academy of Artistic Gymnastics - the same gym as other OSU greats Chari Knight, Jami Lanz and current teammate Chelsea Tang among others and OSU head coach Tanya Chaplin.

Kelsi Blalock went through Senior Night last year but was granted a fifth-year of eligibility in May after missing most of her freshman season due to an ankle injury. Here are some quick hitters about the senior:

  • Is third on the team with three event titles in 2014 - one on vault (9.875 against Iowa State, Jan. 11) and two on floor (9.875, Iowa State, Jan. 11 & 9.950, Stanford, Feb. 3).
  • Has ‘hit’ 13 of 17 routines in 2014 with two misses each on beam and floor ... has ‘hit’ 123-136 routines in her career.
  • Kelsi injured an ankle on her floor routine against Nebraska and Arizona State and will miss this week’s meet.
  • She is the team’s lone returning All-American after earning the distinction as a NACGC/W Regular Season All-American on vault in 2013.
  • Will graduate later this month with a degree in human development and family sciences with aspirations of working with at-risk youth after graduation.

Erika Aufiero was an All-Pac-12 selection on the uneven bars in 2013. Here is some quick hitters about the sophomore:

  • Erika is second on the team with four individual titles in 2014, all on bars.
  • She has scored 9.90 or better on bars three times this year.
  • Has ‘hit’ all 15 routines in 2014 and is 24-26 in her career.
  • Only performed on bars as a freshman during recovery from an Achilles injury as a senior in high school.
  • Has performed in the vault lineup all season with a best of 9.875 at Utah.
  • Inserted in the beam lineup last week and scored 9.825 in her first competitive performance.
  • Erika’s sister, Breyanna, is a sophomore gymnast at Utah State. The sisters squared off earlier this year at OSU’s Comfort Suites Invitational.

Junior Cerise Witherby has really come on for the Beavers in 2014. Here are some quick hitters about Cerise:
  • She has been outstanding in a utility role.
  • She’s ‘hit’ all 13 of her routines in 2014 and 29 out of 30 in her career. She hasn’t missed a routine since Jan. 19, 2013 at Utah - that’s 22 in a row.
  • Has led off the floor lineup for the last six weeks ... set a career-high of 9.85 at the Comfort Suites Invitational (Feb. 15).
  • She joined the beam lineup five weeks ago ... scored a career-best and team-high 9.875 against Arizona State & Nebraska (Mar. 1).
  • Cerise has been in the vault lineup twice ... posted a career-high 9.80 at Utah (Feb. 22).

Hannah Casey continues to be a steadying influence on the Beavers’ bars lineup. Here are some quick hitters about Hannah:
  • Hannah has won two individual titles in 2014, the first of her career. The first came in the season opener with a 9.875 on bars at Ohio State (Jan. 11) and the other with a 9.90 against Arizona State & Nebraska (Mar. 1).
  • Moved from the fourth spot in the lineup to the anchor position three weeks ago and has set or tied career-highs in each of the three meets since.
  • Has ‘hit’ all seven routines in 2014 and 29 of 30 in her career. In all, she has hit 24 straight dating back to Feb. 10, 2012 at UC Davis.
  • Will graduate with a degree in finance in June and plans to pursue a career as a financial analyst.
  • She is heavily involved in OSU’s Student Athlete Advisory Committee, in her third year on the executive council. Last summer, she represented Oregon State at the Pac-12 SAAC meetings in San Francisco.

Taylor Keeker had never performed a competitive routine for OSU prior to 2014 and yet was named a team captain before the season started. Here are some quick hitters about the junior:
  • Taylor, a walkon, could be considered one of the most improved gymnasts in the nation. Prior to this season she had never been in the competitve lineup and now is firmly in two lineups and has arguably been OSU’s best vaulter.
  • Has twice scored a 9.90 on vault - at UCLA (Jan. 19) and against Arizona State & Nebraska (Mar. 1).
  • She has performed in the bars lineup all season with a best of 9.80 which she has achieved three times.
  • Has ‘hit’ all 14 of her routines.
  • Majoring in human development and family science with an emphasis on childhood development and plans to be a first grade teacher.

Here are some quick hitters about the rest of the team:
  • Junior Katelyn Ohlrich has firmly established herself in OSU’s beam lineup. This is the walkon’s second season in the lineup and she’s never missed a routine 19-for-19 in her career. She also vaulted once last year and is 20-20 in her career.
  • Sophomore Nicole Turner has already competed more than twice as many times as she did as a freshman ... has ‘hit’ all seven routines in 2014 and all 10 in her career ... has a career-high of 9.875 on FX.
  • Freshman Megan Jimenez has performed in the vault lineup five times and has scored 9.775 or 9.75 every time.
  • Junior Kailie Ponto could be on the verge of making the competition lineup for the first time in her career. With the Beavers’ injuries, Ponto is in the mix for a spot in the floor lineup. Ponto scored a 9.875 in exhibition in the Stanford meet.
  • Sophomore Jaime Wright began the season in the floor lineup and has also performed in the vault lineup ... with holes in both lineups due to injury, Jaime could return to the lineup at Arizona.
  • Freshman Taylor Ricci has made two exhibition vaults.
  • Freshman Kana Kobayashi will miss the season due ankle surgery.
other Beaver winners are: Hannah Casey (1),  ... The Beavers have completed 138-144 routines without a fall. Gymnasts without a fall are Taylor Keeker (12-12), Hannah Casey (6-6),

The Beavers, like every other team in the country, are striving to reach the NCAA Championships and the Super Six. But to reach that goal teams must get through NCAA Regionals. In 2014, regionals will be held at Arkansas, Georgia, LSU, Minnesota, Penn State and Washington. The top two finishers at each regional will advance to the NCAA Championships.

The Pac-12 Conference has seven teams ranked in the Top 25. Utah is 6th, UCLA 8th, Stanford 10th, Oregon State 15th, Arizona 18th, Arizona State 21st, and California 22nd. Washington ranks 31st. All eight Pac-12 teams were ranked in the preseason Top 25.

TWO FOR 2015
In November, two high school seniors signed the National Letters of Intent to join the Oregon State gymnastics program for the 2014-15 academic year. Danielle Dessaints (Henderson, Nev.) and Shireen Khamedoost (Bountiful, Utah) are scheduled to enroll at OSU this coming summer ... “I’m extremely excited to welcome two outstanding young women to the Oregon State Gymnastics family. I am confident that both will make an immediate impace on our lineup next season,” Tanya Chaplin said.