Isis Lowery knew she wanted to compete for the Oregon State gymnastics team for years.

An Australian hailing from Melbourne, Lowery had never been to an OSU meet. She had to watch the Beavers on YouTube or once in a while on TV.

What really convinced Lowery was meeting and competing alongside former OSU gymnast Olivia Vivian, who is also Australian.

Lowery also knew Melanie Jones, who was also an Australian who competed for the Beavers, but wound up around Vivian much more. Vivian was at OSU from 2009-2012 after competing in the 2008 summer Olympics.

"I was really good friends with Olivia," Lowery said. "At nationals one year she had just finished college and came to nationals and we were in the same group and she was telling me, 'Oh, I think you would love college gymnastics, it's so much fun.' So she got talking to me about Oregon State, so that's kind of where I got started getting an interest for it."

Lowery contacted the Oregon State coaches and the Beavers were interested but had to wait a few years before beginning the recruiting process.

"She wrote us when she was very young so we we've been able to watch her for many years before she actually got to an age where we could recruit her," OSU coach Tanya Chaplin said.

"I gave her a call when she was recruitable and we started talking and building that relationship and I let her know what year we had availability and everything seemed to work out well and so we were able to get her over here to start competing for us."

Going to college in another country can be a rough time for many students.

Most are away from home for the first time and the distance can be too great for frequent visits.

It has been a little easier for Lowery. Her father is from Michigan and she has other relatives in the Los Angeles area, so she had already made a few trips to the United States to visit family.

Lowery also competed in a couple of gymnastics meets in Oklahoma and Texas, so there was no culture shock when she arrived in Corvallis.

She made her first trip to Oregon in 2015 for her official visit to OSU.

"Oregon is great. It reminds me a lot of home. It has a lot of trees, it's very green and especially Corvallis, it's a nice little area. I feel there's a real family vibe here as well," Lowery said.

"I wasn't too worried about coming here and being homesick or anything like that. I think because I did leave when I was a bit older, I was kind of ready to leave home and do my own thing and be independent and so coming here has allowed me to do that."

Her family came to Corvallis recently from Australia to see her and she was able to spend Christmas with her relatives in California, which has helped.

Lowery also has her teammates, including roommate Sabrina Gill, who also took two years off to train before starting her college career.

Gill tends to be on the quiet side, while Lowery is very outgoing and the contrast had Gill a bit worried.

"At first I was scared we wouldn't get along because we were just so different, but we just work well together because we're so different and we balance each other out," Gill said. "But I was worried at first because I thought she wouldn't like me because I was just so different from her."

Gill said Lowery has been able to take on a leadership role because she is an older freshman.

"Even just being a freshman I feel like she's already one of the best role models because being 20 also she has a lot of wisdom and she's always super positive, so that helps," Gill said.

Lowery has been competing consistently on floor this season with a couple appearances on beam.

She had a career-best 9.875 against Utah and has also scored a 9.850 and three 9.825s.

Lowery said she is working on an upgraded pass on floor and is looking to add that in postseason.

"I'm just working on my consistency, just try to clean everything up as best I can," she said. "We've got feally strong lineups on all four events, so being able to jump in where I can and help the team that's really what it's about at this point in the season."

Now when Lowery clicks through YouTube videos, she just might catch a glimpse of herself on floor for the Beavers.

"It's kind of crazy, even seeing myself on TV or Youtube or something like that, I used to watch back home and be like, 'Oh my God, that's my team.' And now I'm on the team," she said. "It's kind of weird, I'm still wrapping my head around it, but I'm having so much fun and it's so great."


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