Gymnastics set season-best, other records in loss to Golden Bears

The Oregon State Beavers Gymnastics team cheers on their teammate during a floor routine. OSU Gymnastics faced off against Cal Gymnastics on Sunday, Feb. 21 at Gill Coliseum.

Andres De Los Santos, Sports Contributor

Ongoing cases of COVID-19 have made for a weird 2021 sports season. Just last week, Oregon State Gymnastics was supposed to host the Arizona Wildcats, but that meet was canceled due to COVID-19 issues within the Wildcat program. 

But Beavers’ Head Coach Tanya Chaplin was one to look on the bright side.

“It was disappointing not to have an opportunity to get out and compete, and it was just a reminder that in this year, we’re grateful for every opportunity we have, and we want to make the most out of every opportunity we have,” Chaplin said. 

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So when the Beavers were given another opportunity to compete in Gill Coliseum against the 13th ranked California Golden Bears, the Beavers made sure they would not go down without a fight. 

Per the team’s usual, Oregon State started with a solid performance with the vault routine. Junior Kristina Peterson kicked things off for the Beavers, scoring a 9.750 on her routine, but redshirt senior Lacy Dagen scored the highest Oregon State on vault routine, with a 9.900. This was Dagen’s second meet of the season, and competing in Gill Coliseum was something that she was longing for. 

“I’m having a lot of fun being back out there,” Dagen said. “It was really good to see the first couple of meets from the sidelines to see what we needed to work on, and now stepping into the lineup is a really good feeling, and I’m excited for the rest of the season to see how it goes.” 

On top of Dagen’s team-high vault score, the senior got to compete before her sister, junior Madi Dagen, who earned a 9.300 on her vault routine. Competing with her sister, alongside the rest of her teammates, was something that is so much fun for the older sister. 

Last weekend [against Washington], we didn’t compete directly after each other”, Lacy Dagen said. “And then Bryan [Raschilla] was like ‘No I want that one-two count’ because I think we really build off of each other. Madi struggled a bit today, but you know, that’s part of gymnastics. It’s so much fun to go right before her and for me to pump her up right after I go.” 

Chaplin said that the team has been training to stick their landings in the vault routine, which showed throughout the meet. 

“And then on the other events, they’ve just been training, trying to get some of those landings, which we saw Kaitlyn Yanish did a beautiful vault as did Lacy Dagen, both coming pretty close to sticking those vaults, and it really showed in their scores.” 

In total, the Beavers’ vault lineup, ranked 13th in country, scored a 49.050. The high score would help boost their confidence as they headed to the bars event. 

Junior Madi Dagen started the Beavers off strong by scoring a 9.675. It was after this where the Beaver started to set some of their own personal records. Freshman Kaitlyn Hoiland set a personal record of 9.775, and fellow freshman Ariana Young, in just her second meet as an OSU gymnast, set a personal record of 9.725. Senior Niya Mack set a personal record by scoring a 9.625, and Kayla Bird scored the highest score for the Beavers with a 9.850.  

Chaplin believes that the team seems to be improving on the bars after each meet, going from scoring a 45.800 in the meet against the Boise State Broncos to start the season, to scoring a 48.700 in their most recent meet. 

“Our biggest challenge has been uneven bars, with losing so many of our regular uneven bar athletes,” Chaplin said. “And this group has been working really really hard to increase their difficulty and increase their consistency. So I was glad to see that their consistency was much better. So that helped us tremendously just on that event”.   

Heading into the halfway point of the meet, the Beavers had a score of 97.750, while the Golden Bears had a score of 98.900. Despite being down, the Beaver Bubble wasn’t worried. 

Once again, Peterson started the Beavers off on the right foot, scoring a 9.925 on the beam event. Bird and Young scored personal bests on beam as well, with Bird scoring a 9.700, while Young scored a 9.750. Madi Dagen would match Peterson’s score, also scoring a 9.925 on the beam event. 

Peterson, who led off for her team in two separate events, said that leading off is important, especially because she knows that she has to set the pace for the Beavers. 

“When you lead something, you have to lead it with confidence and positivity and trust in everything, and that’s kind of what I did today,” Peterson said. 

And Peterson’s performance was something that caught the eye of coach Chaplin as well, who endorsed the performance of their team leader. 

“[Kristina Peterson], starting us off on beam with a 9.925, she did [have] a great performance,” Chaplin said. “And we see those Beaver teams in practice, so it’s nice to see that she put it together in a competition.”

On the floor event, the Beavers continued their stellar performance. Mack matched her career-best by scoring a 9.850. Kayla Bird scored a personal record of 9.900. And Yanish, who holds the eight-best average score on floor in the country, finished the group off even better than they began by scoring a 9.950. 

Despite high scoring performances in all four events, the Beavers would fall to the Golden Bears by a score of 196.200-197.425. The 196.200 was a season-best for the gymnastics team, which left Chaplin, along with the other gymnasts happy with the overall performance. 

After their previously scheduled meet against the Wildcats was canceled, Chaplin said that the Beavers simply went back to the mat and back to practice, trying to improve their gymnastics. And, despite the loss, the coach remained optimistic at the improvements shown in the meet, and can’t until next time, when the Beavers will face off against the UCLA Bruins at Pauley Pavillion.

“I was pleased to see a lot of the things that we worked on over that time period,” Chaplin said. “[It] helped us in this competition and paid off for us in this meet against Cal. And hopefully, we can just continue that going into UCLA at the end of the week.”