Oregon State Gymnastics thrives in first home meet

Max Braly, Multimedia Contributor

Oregon State gymnastics put on a show at home on Saturday in a competition against Northern Illinois and Seattle Pacific. The performance brought the team their third victory and the highest score of the season (196.900).

The Beavers scored a 9.900 or better in every event, which was good enough for sole ownership of three first places–vault, balance beam, and floor–and a tie for first in uneven parallel bars.

After battling injuries in both of her freshman and sophomore seasons, junior Dani Dessaints posted a new career high score on the balance beam (9.900).

“It’s something that is indescribable to be able to come out here and compete in front of the home crowd after a year and be able to do that,” said Dessaints. “It’s indescribable. Amazing.”

Dessaints wasn’t the only Beaver who has battled the injury bug. Redshirt senior Erika Aufiero was sidelined all of last season due to an injury to her knee.

“There’s nothing better than competing in front of our fans and to be able to know that we have them behind our backs,” said Aufiero. “It’s just such an extra confidence booster to be able to get back out there since (Dani and I) haven’t been out there in such a long time. It’s just good to know that (the fans) do appreciate we do get back out there and we appreciate them just as much.”

Now that the team has its health, it also has depth.

“They are competitive,” said head coach Tanya Chaplin, “It’s a healthy competition in the gym, where you are excited when someone else gets a new skill, but it also pushes you to get better because you know that (another’s improvement) could take your place in the lineup.”

The improvement was noticeable as the Beavers increased their final score by more than two points from a week ago.

“We’re competing against everyone in the country,” said Chaplin, “Those scores are there, so if we want to be in the top ten we are going to have scores like this week in and week out. We are working hard to improve, and hopefully next week we will do a little bit better than we did this week.”

Dani, Erika, and the rest of the team might splurge a little for some celebratory ice cream, but that doesn’t mean they will get complacent.

“It was a great win, and we love to celebrate, but celebrate right now, and then tomorrow it’s just get back in the mindset,” said Aufiero, “We still haven’t peaked, and that’s what is most important. There is still work to do. It was a great night, great success, but there’s always more we could do.”

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