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McKenna Singley had been unable to compete as an all-arounder through her first two seasons as an Oregon State gymnast.

Singley, a junior, competed on all four events at one point or another, but an ankle injury had been a major roadblock for her to compete as an all-arounder.

Until last week in the season-opener at Pittsburgh.

"I guess coming off of last year, having it taken because of an injury to not being able to train other events is unexplainable until you go through it. To have that opportunity this year has been incredible," Singley said.

"Coming from an ankle surgery, the biggest thing I wanted to do was get back to doing what I loved. There's no words for how much I missed it. To be able to go on each piece of equipment has been amazing, but even better to do it with this team because they've been amazing, supportive through every step of the journey, especially the coaches and of course (team trainer Deb Graff) has been awesome too."

She wasn't sure about her role at Pittsburgh until late in the process.

"Deb had been checking in with me, making sure my ankle was ready to go for about a week or two, so kind of around there," Singley said.

Singley's scores weren't particularly great, with a 9.625 on vault, a 9.700 on bars and floor and a 9.725 on beam. She has career bests of 9.900 on bars and floor and 9.825 on vault.

The Beavers did not get a lot of high scores from the judges as a team and wound up winning with a 194.850.

Coach Tanya Chaplin was happy with Singley's performance in her first college all-around experience.

"We really tried to keep her off of vault and floor all of last year, so she's made up a lot of ground in the fall and she's coming back really well. We just need to continue that confidence, and I think that's what helped competing this first meet," Chaplin said.

"The heart that she showed on the floor was incredible, bars she could have easily fallen off but she covered and she continued her bar routine, and that makes all the difference. Same thing on floor. She took kind of a deep squat but made sure that she stayed on her feet and ended up with a decent score. So those things make a huge difference."

It was a big moment for Singley, who has gone through her share of tough times during her first two seasons at OSU.

Her teammates, support staff, mother and personal faith helped carry her through the difficulties.

"To say that there aren't times where you question if you're coming back, there definitely are," Singley said. "And to trust the process and trust that there's a greater purpose to coming to where I am today."

Chaplin said Singley is scheduled to make her second appearance as an all-rounder on Friday at Utah.

That also happens to be a homecoming for Singley, who is from Bountiful, Utah.

She enjoys competing in front of the big crowds that Utah draws, and the chance to go through the all-around in front of family and friends is a first. But this trip will be particularly special for Singley.

"I guess what makes it really the most special is I get to have my mom (Sherrie Eichmeier) in the stands for the first time ever in college doing an all-around, which is big to me because she's the reason I'm here," Singley said. "She's done everything, she's been my biggest cheerleader, and to know that she's going to be in the stands, that's the best part of it."

The plan is to go with Singley on the all-around as long as she is healthy enough to compete on each of the four events.

Singley will stick with her current role unless she needs a break and then will cut back for a meet or two.

"I take it day by day. Some days my ankle's definitely better than others. Just listening to it, what it can handle for the day, communicating with the coaches and with Deb," she said.

"But it's looking like each day can be just working around that and going in for treatments every day and making sure I'm doing everything I possibly I can on my end and they're doing everything they can on their end, which has been very helpful during this process."

Chaplin said Singley could develop into a strong all-arounder if she stays healthy and mentally strong.

"The thing that we need to do with 'Kenna is continue that internal confidence and growth," Chaplin said. "Because she has the lines, she's beautiful, she could be one of our top all-arounders, she just has to continue to believe in herself and trust her body moving forward."


Sports Reporter

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