Gymnastics returns to Gill hoping to finish their meet strong

Brian Rathbone, Sports Editor

Gymnastics team hopes to finish strong at Dam Cancer meet on Saturday against Arizona State

By Brian Rathbone

Sports Editor

When the Oregon State gymnastics hits the gym on Saturday against Arizona State, the focus will be on finishing their final event strong—something the team struggled to do in their previous losses to Auburn and Utah. 

Against Auburn it was not executing on the floor routine that plagued OSU. Last week on the road against No. 6 Utah, the Beavers were unable to maintain  their strong performance on the beam.

“We didn’t do our job on beam the way we needed to do,” said head coach Tanya Chaplin. “We definitely hit some stumbles on beam, it was not a beam set that we are used to doing. We really only had one person hit the routine on the beam, and had we gone in and all six did what we see in practice, we would have walked away with a score in the 196’s.”

Finishing their meets as strongly as they start their meets has been an emphasis at practice to help fix their late meet woes. 

“We have to know that we can do it,” said junior Kaytianna McMillan. “I think that’s where it starts with being confident, with being able to finish strong. I think we really changed our mindset in the gym, which is important, so even in our rotations during practice we really make it a point to finish how we start the day, so I think that helps carry into the meet.” 

The team spent the week following their 196.125-195.125 loss to Utah this week working on individual aspects  and working on encouraging their teammates. 

“We do a lot of drill and practice sets, so not the entire set, practicing one skill at a time and learning them to our best abilities,” said junior Madeline Gardiner. “Then we put them into our routine and we work each little piece into the puzzle.” 

“The one thing we have really been focusing on is engaging in each other’s performance,” McMillan said. “So whoever is up we are cheering and screaming for them, you are really putting your energy into them. It makes the world of difference, when you hear them cheering, you know they have your back, and it gives you the confidence that you need.” 

Magic Madeline

Against Utah, Gardiner earned her third consecutive all-around victory of the season. She scored 39.150 points, with 9.875 score on the floor exercise, 9.675 on the balance beam, 9.750 of uneven bars and 9.850 on the vault. The All-American fed off the atmosphere at the Huntsman Center.

“I love the Huntsman Center, it has a lot of energy,” Gardiner said. “Other than beam, I knew what I was doing and felt confident going out there.” 

Her success can be accredited to her becoming more comfortable with college gymnastics. 

“She has an arsenal of skills that she can do which is really positive because not many athletes can do that,” Chaplin said. “With that arsenal comes a lot of different combinations and now as an older athlete she knows how to put those combinations together. 

Dam Cancer

Saturday will also be the 11th annual DAM Cancer met. The program will hold their ninth annual Lunch and Silent Auction prior to the meet with Arizona State. The auction will run from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

“It’s a pink out — this is the one week that we get to do something for someone that is bigger than ourselves,” Gardiner said. “It’s really inspiring to be able to go out there for everyone who is fighting and show them that we are embracing them.”

On Twiter @brathbone3