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Kaytianna McMillan

Kaytianna McMillan was named the Pac-12's gymnast of the year at the Pac-12 meet on Saturday. McMillan and the Beavers will take part in the regionals in Champaign, Illinois, on April 1. 

Anibal Ortiz, Mid-Valley Media

The Oregon State gymnastics team members did not have to wait long before their destination for the NCAA regionals was announced.

The No. 8 Beavers knew they would be paired with No. 5 UCLA, so when the Bruins appeared as the top seed for the Champaign, Illinois, regional, everyone in the Reser Stadium Loge for the selection party expected what was coming next.

Even so, when Oregon State flashed on the big screen as the No. 2 seed in the regional, it set off a celebration.

No. 17 Iowa, Illinois, Eastern Michigan and Ohio State round out the regional, which will take place April 1.

"I think that the only reason it may have been a little surprise is because I believe Alabama and Michigan were seeded with Illinois, but they changed some of the things so that way we could get people closer to their time zones," OSU coach Tanya Chaplin said. 

The top two finishers out of each of the six regionals advance to the NCAA Championships on April 14-15 in St. Louis.

The regional site is new to the Beavers.

"We've never been there, this is going to be our first time. So it's always fun going to a place you've never been, it's a new adventure," senior Kaytianna McMillan said. "We're just so excited with how we've been placed with UCLA above us. It's going to be a great competition, definitely very close and I think we have the ability to come out on top."

Competing in the same region as UCLA should benefit the Beavers.

The teams have met twice this season with the Bruins winning in Corvallis and the Beavers finishing higher at the Pac-12 meet this past Saturday at Stanford.

"I think it's good that we got placed with UCLA because we were just with them and they're a really good team and they're really classy as a team, too, so I think it will be a really good meet for us and we should have a lot of fun," junior Dani Dessaints said.

The Beavers are coming off a big performance in the Pac-12 meet.

OSU scored a 197.400 to finish second to Utah. UCLA and Washington tied for third at 197.100.

"I thought it was a really special meet," Dessaints said. "Yeah, we didn't win, but that's not the point of it. We really went out with a fight. We really put our heart out there and we had a lot of fun and from the moment we started on floor we knew that something special was going to happen and it did."

The score was good enough to bump the Beavers from No. 10 to No. 8 in the national rankings.

It was the fourth straight meet score surpassing the 197 mark.

"We needed another good away score for our RQS to bump us up to eight because we were at 10th going in," McMillan said. "It was awesome to go out there and be able to put up another 197 and it's really clear in our eyes that's the kind of team we are, that we consistently put up at least 197s, so that's the plan to do in the future as well."

While the teams were waiting for the Pac-12 meet awards, McMillan got a big surprise.

She was named the Pac-12 gymnast of the year.

"No, I didn't know that was a thing. I didn't know they announced those awards there even," McMillan said. "So it was a great honor to be there, especially with my team who has helped me get as far as I have, to celebrate that with them was incredible."


Sports Reporter

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