A postseason charge has the Oregon State gymnastics team as one of the final eight teams as the Beavers head into the NCAA Championships in Fort Worth, Texas, this weekend.
That doesn’t mean the Beavers are just going to be happy with landing in the top eight.
“You never count yourself out, you always believe in your abilities and this team has really taken that to heart,” coach Tanya Chaplin said. “They know that anything is possible if they do their job. It is a little different mindset than a lot of other teams. They don’t worry about the what-ifs. They just go for it and see what happens after that.”
The Beavers compete in Friday's evening session (4:30 p.m.) along with No. 1 Oklahoma, No. 5 Denver and No. 8 Georgia.
No. 2 UCLA, No. 3 LSU, No. 6 Utah and No. 7 Michigan make up the morning session. The Beavers have already faced Denver, UCLA, LSU and Utah, so they will be very familiar with the opponents.
“This is huge,” senior Mariana Colussi-Pelaez said. “We kind of came in as the underdogs in our regionals so it was great to just put it all out on the floor and just perform our best routines and make it.
“I don’t really think we have any expectations. I think we just have to go there and just have the same kind of mindset going into regionals, just we have nothing to lose, just put it all out on the floor. Just really celebrate our gymnastics and have fun.”
Junior Isis Lowery said the Beavers earned their spot and are excited to be a part of nationals.
“We saw an opportunity and we just happened to peak at the right time and the season’s not done yet, we still have a lot we want to achieve. But it’s great knowing that we’re going to be amongst some of the top teams in the country,” Lowery said. “To know we’re a part of that and that every single part of being there is important to us, we’re not just planning on going in there and just being there to be there, we’re going there and we’ll try to make it to that final four and then once you get there, it’s anyone’s game.”
Chaplin said the Beavers have shown that ability to fight through a meet all season, but it came to the forefront in the Pac-12 meet. The Beavers were able to bounce back from an early fall to finish in third.
That momentum carried over to the Corvallis regional.
“There’s always room for improvement but I think that we’ve really just been rolling with the momentum and in regionals we were at home, the crowd was just, I can’t even describe it. I get goosebumps just talking about it, how electrifying it was to be in that environment,” Lowery said. “Second day we hit 24 for 24 and I think we’ve only done that one other time this whole season. It’s just good to finally have everything start to fall together at a great time and we’re looking to be even stronger at nationals.”
Lowery said the Beavers have worked on maximizing their rest since the regional and have been working on group assignments.
The Beavers have also focused on detail work. Chaplin said they have been polishing their landings, which could make a significant difference in how a judge sees the performance.
If a gymnast sticks a landing but does not get her heels together, it could mean a lower score.
“That was something we noticed is they would stick but they wouldn’t finish completely by putting their heels together and that could be a tenth deduction,” Chaplin said. “So we need to make sure that we’re really good with the follow through and not just get really excited about the stick but finish it all the way through.”