Chong Wins Pac-10 Title, Beavers Finish Third
March 27, 2010
TUCSON, Ariz. - The Oregon State gymnastics team finished third at the Pac-10 Championships and Laura-Ann Chong won the Pac-10 title on the balance beam Saturday night.
"I'm really proud of how this team finished tonight on the beam," head coach Tanya Chaplin said. "I challenged them and reminded them that it is extremely important to finish strong and regain some as we move forward into the postseason. We clearly still have work to do in the next week or so to be prepared for regionals."
The Beavers opened the night on their strongest event for the second year in a row, this time on the floor exercise. Stephanie McGregor led off for OSU with nearly flawless tumbling to score 9.70. Olivia Vivian performed a solid routine and earned a 9.75 but Becky Colvin's routine included a couple stumbles and left her with a 9.70. Melanie Jones performed a beautiful routine, as usual, earning a 9.825. Makayla Stambaugh was next with a fabulous routine and a 9.90. In the anchor slot, Mandi Rodriguez took a step on each of her first two tumbling passes and scored 9.825 to leave the Beavers with a team score of 49.000 in the first rotation.
Following their first bye of the night, the Beavers moved to the vault trailing UCLA, which scored 49.275 on the beam and Arizona, which scored 49.050 on the vault. Whitney Watson led off and stuck her landing but her chest was low giving her a score of 9.725. Jones followed with a low landing of her own for a 9.65 and McGregor took a step to score 9.725. Stambaugh and Colvin each had better vaults but took small hops on the landing and earned matching scores of 9.80. Rodriguez nailed her vault to score 9.90 to finish second on the event.
After another bye, Oregon State (97.950) found itself in fourth behind UCLA (98.700), Arizona (98.025) and Stanford (98.000) as the Beavers approached the uneven bars. Jen Kesler cast over, missing her routine to begin the rotation and scored 9.20. Vivian came next with a nice routine and stuck her dismount to score a much-needed 9.80. Rodriguez followed with a solid routine but over-rotated on the dismount and needed to use her hands to stay on her feet resulting in a score of 9.25. Stambaugh helped the Beavers recover with a great routine and only had a small hop on the dismount to score 9.80. Chong performed a beautiful routine and stuck her dismount to post a score of 9.875, which ended up good for third in the meet. Leslie Mak wrapped up the rotation for the Beavers with a gorgeous routine to score a 9.95, which was only beaten by a perfect score for UCLA's Anna Li.
The Beavers remained in fourth place as they moved immediately to the balance beam. OSU finished the meet on a high note, knocking out their best beam performance of the season. Jones performed a great routine to score 9.80 from the lead-off spot. Vivian followed with a nice performance and raised the bar to 9.825. Kesler came next and had one big wobble for a 9.75 before Rodriguez navigated a solid routine to score 9.85. Mak performed a brilliant routine at score a 9.90 including a perfect score of 10.0 from one judge. Mak's 9.90 temporarily put her in a tie for first, but it didn't last long. Chong anchored the beam team and was almost perfect to score 9.95 to win the Pac-10 title.
Seedings for the NCAA Regional Championships will be announced Monday morning. Regionals are slated to be held at UCLA, Utah, Missouri, West Virginia, Penn State and Kentucky.
NOTE: At the conclusion of the meet, the annual Pac-10 Awards were announced with OSU's Makayla Stambaugh receiving Pac-10 Freshman of the Year and Tanya Chaplin earning Pac-10 Coach of the Year. UCLA's Vanessa Zamarripa was named as the Gymnast of the Year ... Chaplin's award is the fourth of her career.
OSU: VAULT: 48.950, BARS: 48.675, BEAM: 49.325, FLOOR: 49.000