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The Oregon State gymnastics team is looking to build off a big start to the season.

The Beavers went to then-No. 8 Auburn last week and left SEC country with a 195.575-195.275 win.

In gymnastics, rankings are based on scores, not wins or losses. While the score was solid enough to move OSU from No. 13 to No. 9 in the current rankings, the win could very well have the higher impact on the Beavers.

"I think it's a huge confidence booster for our team as a whole," senior all-arounder Kaytianna McMillan said. "Just knowing that we can go out there and we can beat a team like Auburn at home, that's definitely a huge step for us moving forward."

The Beavers were led by McMillan, who won the all-around with a 39.125. McMillan tied for first on floor with a 9.825.

Erika Aufiero won bars with a 9.850, Maddy Gardiner took first on beam with a 9.900 and freshman Isis Lowery was part of the three-way tie on floor.

OSU hit 23 of 24 routines.

Lowery and Sabrina Gill both competed in their first college meet. The Beavers have nine freshmen on the roster, but took five with Destinee Davis, Halli Briscoe and Maela Lazaro also making the trip.

"I definitely think it's (set) a pretty high standard for our team for the season," McMillan said. "I don't think a lot of the freshmen really knew what to expect going into the meet and after the meet they understood more what our program's about and what we're trying to do."

Lowery, from Melbourne, Australia, enjoyed the experience.

"I thought it was so much fun, especially my first travel meet and my first meet as a freshman in college," Lowery said. "The energy was really high, so I thought that was really awesome."

She had an immediate impact on floor for the Beavers.

"I've got a really fun, energetic floor routine, so I just have to go out there and have fun, just focus on each pass at a time," she said. "It was really fun because my team was behind me, doing it, like joining in with me."

The road win was a strong start for OSU, but the Beavers have to build on it to stay on track toward meeting their goals of a berth in the NCAA championships and a Super Six finish.

That begins Friday with a meet at Seattle Pacific.

"I think any win is a good win, but certainly a win on the road against a very good opponent is definitely even better. And at the beginning of the season to get that definitely means we're headed in the right direction," associate head coach Michael Chaplin said.

"They even know that we left a bunch of tenths out on the floor. We work on sticking landings and cleaning things up and the ceiling's a lot higher for us, which is really good. So I definitely think it's a positive, it's a great way to start the season, it's exciting."

Why a trip to Seattle Pacific? Well, the Beavers do not travel to University of Washington this season.

It's an opportunity to add another strong score on the road, which is important for the Regional Qualifying Score.

And it allows area gymnasts to check out Oregon State in action.

"It's our backyard, we recruit out of that area," Chaplin said. "For me personally, (Seattle Pacific) is where I started coaching college 23 years ago.

"Last year we went to Lindenwood, this year we're going to SPU. SPU comes to us every year, so it was time to get back there and have a meet. We weren't scheduled to go to see Washington this year, so we thought this would be a good year for us to do that."


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