CORVALLIS, Ore. – The 10th-ranked Oregon State gymnastics team rallied to finish fourth at the NCAA Women’s Gymnastics Championships Corvallis Regional and missed qualifying as a team to the national championships Saturday night. Sophomore Chelsea Tang and junior Brittany Harris qualified in the all-around and senior Makayla Stambaugh qualified on the floor exercise to compete at the NCAA Championships later this month.
Three falls on their first event – the uneven bars – an event they were ranked fifth in the nation on entering the meet, proved to be too big of a hole to climb out of leaving the Beavers needing to perform perfectly and other team to falter.
“I did tell them, ‘You don’t know what’s going to happen in the rest of this meet, and if a door opens we have to be ready to walk through it. But a door will have to open for us in order to do that. Now it’s our turn to fight and make sure we are ready if that situation arises,’” head coach Tanya Chaplin said.
Beginning the meet with a bye, the Beavers entered the floor ready to compete on their highest ranked event in the second rotation. Hannah Casey got OSU out to a quick start scoring 9.825 to tie her career-best for her fifth meet in a row. Tang added a 9.775 and Harris scored 9.85. However the damage was done with uncharacteristic falls by Stambaugh, Stephanie McGregor and Erika Aufiero.
The Beavers rebounded nicely on the balance beam with Katelyn Ohlrich (9.85) and Tang (9.90) tying career-highs and Stambaugh and Melanie Jones adding season-high tying scores of 9.825 and 9.90 respectively. Throw in a 9.80 from Harris and the beam team had equaled a season-best score of 49.275. But despite the season-high, OSU still found itself in sixth place at the halfway point.
Still hoping for the competition to falter, Oregon State continued to knock out routines and post impressive scores. Following their second bye rotation the Beavers moved to the floor exercise. Cerise Witherby led off with a great routine to tie her career-high of 9.825, Tang followed with a 9.85 and Harris scored 9.775. Seniors Jones and Stambaugh performing their final floor routines in Gill Coliseum as the Beavers’ one-two combination didn’t let down the 3,256 faithful in attendance. Jones delighted the crowd to the tune of a 9.925 and Stambaugh followed shortly after scoring 9.95 to tie for first in the regional, qualifying her to advance to the NCAA Championships on the event. In all, OSU’s floor team scored 49.325 matching their second-best score of the year.
Entering the final rotation and despite two strong rotations, the Beavers were still in sixth place heading to the vault. Four of OSU’s five seniors vaulted on the event and all four performed well. Jones led off scoring 9.825, Stambaugh scored 9.85 and Hailey Gaspar and Kelsi Blalock posted matching scores of 9.90. Add in Tang’s 9.775 and the Beavers tallied 49.250 on the vault and 195.375 moving past California and Boise State to finish fourth overall.
“Usually we are good at coming back strong and getting it together,” Chaplin said. “I wasn’t sure especially going from bars to beam what beam was going to be like. We talked for a long time in the back before they came out and they were strong and they stayed mentally strong on beam and then came back on floor and vault. I think vault was obviously more emotional for our seniors and we had a lot of them vaulting. They knew mathematically that there was no way they were going to make it and they were trying to enjoy it as much as possible knowing that this was going to be their last competition.”
Harris, Stambaugh and Tang will return to action at the NCAA Championships hosted by UCLA April 19-21.
NOTES: It is the first time since 2005 that the Beavers have not qualified to the NCAA Championships … three individuals is the most OSU has ever had qualify to NCAA … the last OSU gymnast to qualify to nationals as an individual was Tanya Ricioli-Hebron as an all-arounder in 2004 … the top two teams and the top two all-around competitors (who are not on an advancing team) from each regional advance to the national championships. In addition, the event winners at each regional advance to the national championships (in that event only) if they are not part of a qualifying team.
Team Scores: No. 4 Georgia 197.425; No. 16 Arkansas 196.950; Arizona State 195.700; No. 10 Oregon State 195.375; No. 21 Boise State 195.350; California 195.125.
All-Around: 1. Katherine Grable (ARK) 39.650; 2. Brittany Rogers (UGA) 39.475; 3. Chelsea Tang (OSU) 39.300. Other OSU Scores: Brittany Harris 39.125; Makayla Stambaugh 38.675.
Vault (49.250): 1. Katherine Grable (ARK) 9.950; t2. Hailey Gaspar (OSU), Kelsi Blalock (OSU), Natasha Sundby (ASU), Serena Leong (CAL) 9.900. Other OSU Scores: Makayla Stambaugh 9.850; Melanie Jones 9.825; Chelsea Tang 9.775; Brittany Harris 9.700.
Uneven Bars (47.525): 1. Chelsea Davis (UGA) 9.900; t2. Madisyn O’Brian (CAL), Brittany Rogers (UGA), Shelby Salmon (ARK) 9.875. Other OSU Scores: Brittany Harris 9.850; Hannah Casey 9.825; Chelsea Tang 9.775; Makayla Stambaugh 9.050; Erika Aufiero 9.025; Stephanie McGregor 8.700.
Balance Beam (49.275): 1. Shayla Worley (UGA) 9.925; t2. Chelsea Tang (OSU), Melanie Jones (OSU), Sarah Persinger (UGA), Brittany Rogers (UGA), Katherine Grable (ARK), Erin Freier (ARK) 9.900. Other OSU Scores: Katelyn Ohlrich 9.850; Makayla Stambaugh 9.825; Brittany Harris 9.800; Kelsi Blalock 9.700.
Floor Exercise (49.325): t1. Makayla Stambaugh (OSU), Shayla Worley (UGA), Katherine Grable (ARK) 9.950. Other OSU Scores: Melanie Jones 9.925; Chelsea Tang 9.850; Cerise Witherby 9.825; Brittany Harris 9.775; Kelsi Blalock 9.350.