Gymnastics looks to put on a show against Stanford

Gymnastics vs. California

Max Braly Sports Contributor

OSU seeks further improvement against Stanford

Week to week improvement has been the key for the Oregon State gymnastics team and that won’t change for Monday’s home matchup against No. 12 ranked Stanford.

At last Saturday’s meet against California, the Beavers scored a season high 196.850 and career bests throughout the team were created. The team has big plans to score even higher against Stanford.

Head coach Tanya Chaplin has instilled a new philosophy for this week, asking the team ‘what’s your .025.’ The team is trying to focus on the little things that could improve a performance. When all the little things are put together, a major increase in scoring is inevitable.

“It seems small individually, but if we all do that, we are going to improve our score a huge amount,” junior Taylor Ricci said.

Senior Risa Perez infatuates Beaver fans when it’s her turn to perform.

Her style isn’t exactly like those of her peers, some have used the words ‘sass’ and ‘spunk’ when describing her routines. With minor input from Chaplin, Perez choreographs her own floor routine. She started dancing at age six and later on in middle school joined the cheer squad. Elements from her early performing career are prominent in both her floor and beam routines.

“She loves to perform. She loves dance and the arts. You can definitely see that in her personality, being in front of a crowd, whether it’s dancing or acting anything like that, she absolutely embraces it. It’s the best part of her day when she actually gets to perform in front of a crowd,” Chaplin said.

It’s not only the crowd that enjoys Perez’s performance, the rest of the team can appreciate it as well.

“It’s her own choreography, so sometimes you just have no idea what to expect, which adds a little bit of excitement to it. The crowd loves it, we love it, it’s just really really cool to see her perform,” Ricci said.

When Arizona State decided to part ways with their coach two years ago, Perez thought it was time for a change of scenery. She decided on transferring to OSU because of the program’s success, the coaching, and the support of the fans. During her time in Gill wearing ASU gear, Perez took notice of the emphatic crowds that Gill hosted.

“I had competed here twice within my time at my previous university, and I absolutely loved the fans. They get really into the crowd, I thought it was really unique what they did before floor with the fight song and the cheering and the back and forth with the crowd,” Perez said.

Now, she is in a situation where she can thrive. It’s a give and take relationship between Perez and her fans. The crowd offers their attention, and Perez returns with a worthy performance.

“My main inspiration is the fans. I want to connect the crowd with the gymnast, because they are our number one supporters, they are the reason why we are so successful next to our coaches. If I can make just one person smile and one person’s day get a little better just by doing what I love to do, then I’ve totally hit the jackpot in my book,” Perez said.


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