Seniors Outshine Kentucky on Senior Night
March 20, 2010
CORVALLIS - Led by its three seniors, the seventh-ranked Oregon State gymnastics team beat No. 18 Kentucky 196.650-195.275 on Senior Night on Friday. Mandi Rodriguez, who scored 39.425 in the all-around, and Laura-Ann Chong, performing in their final home meet of their career, wrapped up all of the individual awards against the Wildcats.
Oregon State's record improved to 13-3 while Kentucky falls to 7-7. Rodriguez corralled two other individual titles to go with her all-around win earning first place on the balance beam and tying for the top spot on the floor exercise.
"This was a great night for these seniors. They did a wonderful job tonight and deserved to go out on such a positive note," head coach Tanya Chaplin said. "As a group we still had too many mistakes and now with finals over, we'll need to buckle down next week and make sure we're in the right frame of mind heading into Pac-10 Championships and the postseason."
The Beavers opened the meet with a solid set of vaults going six-for-six. Senior Whitney Watson led off the meet with a good vault and a step on the landing and a score of 9.775. Melanie Jones and Stephanie McGregor followed with solid vaults and small steps as well to score 9.75 and 9.775 respectively. Makayla Stambaugh and Becky Colvin were next with excellent vaults, and small hops, to score 9.80 and 9.825. Anchoring the vault lineup Mandi Rodriguez nailed her's to tie her career-high for the third time this season with a 9.95 to win the individual title.
At the end of the first rotation, OSU had established a comfortable cushion and led 49.125-48.750. The Beavers put together another six-for-six set and the entire bars group scored as high or higher than all six of the Wildcats on the apparatus. Jen Kesler set the tone with a brilliant routine and stuck landing for a 9.85. Her enthusiastic celebration seemed to light a fire for her teammates as Olivia Vivian and Rodriguez followed with strong routines and scores of 9.80 and 9.825 respectively. Stambaugh added a 9.85 before Chong performed a near-perfect routine and nailed her dismount to score 9.90 to earn the individual title. Leslie Mak closed the rotation with a pretty routine and a 9.875.
After the first rotation, the Beavers had extended the lead to nearly a full-point 98.425-97.675. It was in the third rotation on the balance beam that OSU suffered its only hiccup of the night. Wobbles throughout the lineup and a miss by Stambaugh, held down the scoring for the Beavers. The Australian connection of Jones and Vivian scoring 9.725 and 9.75 before the fall. However, Mak corrected the team's course with a solid routine and a score of 9.825 and Rodriguez navigated to a 9.725. Chong's performance in the anchor position stood out for the Beavers' beam team as she scored 9.875 to win her second event title of the evening.
Despite losing momentum, Oregon State had extended the lead to 147.325-146.350 heading for its strongest event. For the second time in the meet, all six gymnasts in the floor lineup posted scores of 9.80 or better. McGregor led off for the Beavers with a strong routine and a score of 9.80. Vivian followed, delighting the judges and crowd with her heavy metal routine to tie her career-best of 9.825. Colvin was next and performed a nearly flawless routine until landing short on her final pass and settled for a 9.80. Jones, who has yet to score lower than a 9.80 on the floor, continued to impress the judges with her wonderfully choreographed routine and scored a 9.875. Stambaugh came back from her fall on the beam to nail her floor routine to score 9.90. Rodriguez closed out the scoring for the Beavers with her signature huge tumbling and dramatic routine and a score of 9.925 to secure the event title.
Oregon State competes at the Pac-10 Championships next Saturday, Mar. 27 hosted by Arizona. The Beavers have finished second at the conference championships each of the last two years.
Team Scores: No. 7 Oregon State 196.650, No. 18 Kentucky 195.275.