“Beaver Bubble” sets records, gets first win of the season

By Alex Reich
Freshman Ariana Young Greene begins her routine on the balance beam. OSU Women’s gymnastics takes the victory against Washington on January 23rd with a score of 194.925 to 192.875

Andres De Los Santos, Sports Contributor

The highest score that a gymnast can obtain during a routine is a 10. On Jan. 23, in Beavers Gymnastics’ second meet of the season, Oregon State junior Madi Dagen came close to just doing that.

Dagen finished the vault event with a score of 9.950, a personal record for the routine. And, when she stuck her landing, she could not help but feel overwhelmed with excitement and joy. 

“Well, I’ve been working for that, so I wasn’t completely surprised,”  Dagen said. “But also the shock of getting my feet perfectly there was exciting, and I think all throughout my body, I got nerves and excitement. I didn’t even know what to do with myself. So, it was really exciting, probably one of my favorite moments.”

But Dagen was not the only gymnast who was filled with excitement. In fact, the whole ‘Beaver Bubble’, as the team refers to themselves, was filled with this radiant energy, as so many personal records for the Beavers were set. 

After dropping their first meet of the season to the Boise State Broncos, the 34th ranked Oregon State Women’s Gymnastics team got their first win of the season, defeating the Washington Huskies at home, 194.925-192.875. 

On the vault routine, Dagen scored the highest score out of all the gymnasts, with that 9.950 personal best. On top of setting her own record of the night, there were three other Oregon state gymnasts who finished with personal bests for the vault routine. 

Freshman Sydney Gonzales scored a 9.850 on her routine, sophomore Jane Poniewaz followed close behind, scoring a 9.825, and sophomore Kalya Bird also scored a 9.775 for the Beavers. 

By the end, the Beavers finished the vault event with a team score of 49.225. Senior Kaitlyn Yanish, who scored a 9.825, just tried to stay calm and focus on her routine before the impressive performance.

“Before vault, I just like to not think too much,” Yanish said. “Because I feel like if I overthink it then it’s just going to make things worse. I try to tell myself ‘Just do what you know how to do.’ It’s just like every other day in practice.”

More personal records were set on the uneven bars event as well. Freshman Kaitlyn Hoiland, who scored an 8.875 in last week’s meet, got some redemption this week, finishing with a 9.775 on bars this week, setting her personal best. Poniewaz, who scored an 8.925 at the last meet, also made an improvement with a 9.750, setting her own personal record for bars. And freshman Ariana Young, who made her freshman debut for the Beavers, scored a 9.400, in her first competition with the Beavers. 

Head Coach Tanya Chaplin saw some nerves from the first timer’s performance, but was encouraged with the direction that Young is heading.

“With Ariana, it was her first competition as a freshman. So she needed to kind of get that under her belt, and she did a good job of starting us off on bars,” Chaplin said. “Obviously a lot of nerves there, and I could see that a little bit in her dismount, but I think with time, she’ll get stronger as well.”

Sydney Gonzales was also able to join the party, setting a personal record of her own with a 9.800 on the balance beam routine, matching the score of fellow Oregon State junior gymnast Kristina Peterson. 

Poniewaz and Young also set more personal records of their own. Poniewaz earned a 9.750 on her balance beam routine, with Young scoring a 9.275 on her routine. Chaplin expressed her pride after the meet with how much Poniewaz has improved as a gymnast. 

“Jane [Poniewaz] on bars and beam, to see the improvements that she’s making and she’s a newcomer, so this is her first year competing so there were so many highlights,” Chaplin said.

Running with the theme for the meet, another personal record was set on the floor routine, this one by Senior Niya Mack, who scored a 9.850. This was another improvement on Mack’s part, as she scored a 9.000 in the previous meet against Boise State. 

In fact, all the gymnasts that participated in the floor event for the Beavers scored above 9.750, finishing with a team score of 49.400 for the routine. Yanish, who scored a 9.950 on her floor routine, said that Mack has improved so much as a gymnast, and her high score played a key role in the rest of the team’s performances. 

“I feel like Niya [Mack] made such a big improvement from last week,” Yanish said. “And her score and her excitement really led the team [to get] better and better from every routine. So I feel like after she made that, it just really boosted us and all of us were so excited and so amped. So I feel like she’s the perfect lead off, her routine is so exciting, it was so awesome.” 

Chaplin also gave praise towards Mack’s performance, and said that she was proud that Mack was able to believe in herself throughout the meet. 

“Niya, I was so proud of [how] she started us off that way,” Chaplin said. “The one thing that we talked about right before she went was ‘trust yourself,’ because sometimes she starts to second-guess herself. And she was able to come off the floor and say ‘I trusted myself from start to finish,’ and it really paid off.”

After losing in the meet against Boise State the previous week, Dagen said that the team refused to get down on themselves, and used last week’s loss as motivation to work hard in the gym.

Dagen was excited to see how much the team has improved in a short amount of time.

“After the meet, I just felt overwhelmed with just being so proud of everyone,” Dagen said. “We went to the gym this week and we decided [that] we’re going to flip this around, we’re going to work so hard. And I think every single day, everybody put everything into each skill, each routine, and I think it’s really exciting that it all paid off. To have such an improvement in just a week, I’m just excited to see where else we can go with that and just continue to build and build.”

The Beavers will hit the road for their next two meets, as they will face the Arizona State Sun Devils on Jan. 29 and will have a rematch with the Huskies on Feb. 8. The Beavers will return to Gill Coliseum on Feb 13, when they will face off against the Arizona Wildcats.

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