Dani Dessaints was the vault champion at the Champaign Regional with a 9.925, but the Beavers have work to do before the NCAA Championships.

Godofredo Vasquez, Mid-Valley Media file photo

The Oregon State gymnastics team has a little less than two weeks to prepare for the NCAA Championships.

The No. 8 Beavers have some work to do before competing on April 14-15 in St. Louis.

That was evident from their performance at the Champaign (Illinois) regional. The Beavers were able to make it out as the second-place finisher, but it was rough going on the way to a 196.150.

There were a few miscues on two events, an uncharacteristic problem considering the Beavers had put together scores of 196.825, 197.125, 197.325, 197.475 and 197.400 in the five previous meets.

"It's interesting because we change concepts as in you have to place a certain place instead score a certain score," coach Tanya Chaplin said. "However, it's really the same in a lot of ways and I think that it's just really making them realize that you don't do more than you can do. You just do your job. Because, really, we could have gained eight- or nine-tenths just by doing our job. That's how much we gave up.

"So we're just going to get back in and put them in different situations where that pressure's there, or perceived pressure is there, so that they know how to work through those things."

Chaplin said the pressure of postseason competition could have been a factor, but that it might have been more of an issue of some of the gymnasts trying to overreach in an effort to do just a little more to try to win.

That can cause anxiety and affect the outcome of a performance.

"They need to really truly trust their training and just do what they do and know that the training that they've done is going to get them to where they need to be," she said. "Even though they had all those mishaps, they still made it to nationals, so I think they're not dwelling on it too much but we are focusing in on those individuals that had a harder time and continuing to focus in on how to not let internal obstacles or internal anxiety (set in). Because it usually is self-perceived. It's either from an experience you've had in the past or something you're thinking about that could happen if I do this.

"We talk about it all the time: live in the moment, not in the past or the future. So it's really getting back to that part as well."

At nationals, the teams are sorted into a bracket and are not seeded like they have been in the past. Both sides of the bracket are fairly even.

The Beavers will compete in the early session along with Oklahoma, Washington, UCLA, Utah and Denver.

The second session will have LSU, Nebraska, Michigan, Alabama, Florida and Georgia.

"It is very interesting how on one side of the bracket you have all the SEC and the Big Ten schools and then our side it's all the Pac-12 and Big 12," Chaplin said. "So it's strange how all the conferences are basically grouped together. That seems to really come to the forefront when you look at the brackets."

Chaplin likes the two-week break between regionals and nationals.

She said it helps the gymnasts get in some physical recovery time and is particularly helpful for the Beavers in this case after getting through tough spots in the regional.

"And I think in some ways it was good for us to go through what we went through at regionals," Chaplin said. "A lot of times we have a great regionals, get into nationals and what happened (last weekend) at regionals happens at nationals. So I'm looking at it as a positive in that, 'OK, this shows some of the things that we need to get back and work on.' Let's help prepare them so that they can really trust what they have done all this season and they're ready to go.

"That's kind of how we're looking at it right now because had those not popped up we may not have put as much focus in on something that we really do need to focus in on."


Sports Reporter

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