Mandi Rodriguez's Floor Routine Seals Victory for No. 13 Beavers
Jan. 16, 2009
CORVALLIS, Ore. - Oregon State gymnastics fans filed into Gill Coliseum Friday night to watch the No. 13 Beavers (195.950) fight their way to victory No. 5 Arkansas (195.925) and California (185.250). Oregon State held the lead at the end of each event, but the outcome rested on the final floor routine of the night.
With the meet on the line and needing a score of 9.95 to tie the fifth-ranked Razorbacks, Mandi Rodriguez tumbled and danced to a near-perfect score of 9.975 to send the Beavers home victorious.
Despite the win, head coach Tanya Chaplin knows there is always room for improvement.
"I'm really proud of this team for finishing the meet the way they did. They competed hard," Chaplin said. "I thought there was a lot of nervous energy that I don't see on the road. We saw that in some of the performances. This is something that we can learn from and we can focus on performing."
The Beavers started off the night strong on the vault with Stephanie McGregor nailing her Yurchenko with a half twist to earn her a career high of 9.7. Brooke Barclay and Jami Lanz followed to produce solid scores of 9.8 and 9.85 respectively. With a stuck landing and great height off the horse, Rodriguez sent Oregon State fans to their feet tallying a 9.9. Becky Colvin vaulted for the first time this year as well scoring 9.725.
Moving to their second event, the Beavers lead the Razorbacks by .275 with a vault total 49.025, their highest vault score of the season. On the uneven bars, the Beavers made hitting handstands the theme of the rotation producing a 48.95, their season high on the event. Whitney Watson and Laura-Ann Chong led off for the team with solid performances earning a pair of 9.775's. Freshman Leslie Mak continued the momentum producing a career high of 9.85 and set the scene nicely for Jen Kesler whose stuck landing earned her a 9.9.
The Oregon State women approached their third event, the balance beam, still leading the Razorbacks by a quarter of a point. Following a solid routine by Watson, both Rodriguez and Chong remained steady throughout their beam routines earning scores of 9.8 and 9.825 respectively. Always consistent, Lanz came through for Oregon State anchoring the team with a 9.875.
Meanwhile, Arkansas' Casey Jo Magee, Jamie Pisani and Michelle Stout posted big numbers on the vault, as the Razorbacks continued to close the gap to within .05 of the Beavers' lead.
Performing in the lead-off position, McGregor provided a concrete starting point for the Oregon State floor lineup with a 9.65. Sophomore Jereme Bigelow, making her first career appearance in the competitive lineup, tumbled her way to a 9.775, which was matched immediately by Kera Bolen. Mak continued the string of 9.775's, producing her career high.
With the Razorbacks performing an outstanding bars set that scored 49.225, the Beavers needed some big scores to pull off the victory. Lanz, one of the Beavers' steadiest performers as well as a crowd pleaser, nailed her three tumbling passes powering her way to 9.9.
Then needing a 9.95 to tie with Arkansas, Rodriguez took the floor to show off her new floor routine to the home crowd for the first time. With perfect timing in her choreography, elegant dance and huge tumbling, Rodriguez earned a clutch score of 9.975 send the crowd of 3,429 to its feet and earning a perfect 10.0 from one judge.
"I knew I had to do my best," Rodriguez said. "It was an unbelievable feeling and I never thought I would see this day. I was very excited."
The Beavers hit the road next Friday against Arizona. Oregon State is set to return to Corvallis the following week to host Utah on Friday, January 30. The event is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. at legendary Gill Coliseum. Doors open at 6 p.m. Season and individual tickets can be purchased online, by calling 1-800-GO-BEAVS or in person at the OSU Ticket Office located in room 107 of Gill Coliseum.
Team Scores: No. 13 Oregon State 195.95; Arkansas 195.925; Cal 185.25
Vault: T1. Mandi Rodriguez (OSU), Michelle Stout (ARK) 9.900; T3. Jami Lanz (OSU), Casey Jo Magee (ARK) 9.850. Other OSU Scores: Brooke Barclay 9.800; Whitney Watson 9.775; Becky Colvin 9.725; Stephanie McGregor 9.700.
Bars: 1. Jen Kesler (OSU) 9.900; 2. Casey Jo Magee (ARK) 9.875; T3. Leslie Mak (OSU), Jaime Pisani (ARK), Michelle Stout (ARK), Sarah Nagashima (ARK) 9.85. Other OSU Scores: Whitney Watson 9.775, Laura-Ann Chong 9.775, Jami Lanz 9.650, Mandi Rodriguez 9.550.
Beam: 1. Jami Lanz (OSU) 9.875; 2. Laura-Ann Chong (OSU) 9.825; T3. Mandi Rodriguez (OSU), Sarah Nagashima (ARK), Casey Jo Magee (ARK) 9.800. Other OSU Scores: Whitney Watson 9.675, Brooke Barclay 9.575, Leslie Mak 9.375.