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Madeline Gardiner and the Oregon State gymnastics team is looking for a big meet at the Pac-12 Championships.

Kaytianna McMillan sat in front of members of the media last Saturday after the Oregon State gymnastics team scored a season-high 197.475 in a win over Illinois-Chicago and predicted the Beavers would win the Pac-12 Championships.

Maybe McMillan was caught up in the moment, but it's not as if she's calling a long shot.

The No. 10 Beavers scored a 197.125 at Stanford and a 197.325 against Washington before topping that in their final home meet of the season.

Not a bad time to start peaking.

"So I would say definitely three weeks in a row now scoring a season-high has shown that our team hasn't peaked yet and I think even building off of this last season-high our team hasn't peaked yet," OSU senior Taylor Ricci said. "So going into Pac-12s I think we're in a really good position. I would say Pac-12s, regionals, nationals and Super Six that I could see our team keep building and just be peaking at that perfect time, which is awesome for this team."

The recent upswing in scores is not a fluke.

The Beavers are relatively healthy this season with McMillan back at 100 percent and Erika Aufiero and Dani Dessaints good to go.

Add seniors Madeline Gardiner, Silvia Colussi-Pelaez and Ricci and the Beavers are deep and talented.

"Personally, I think where we are as a team is in one of the best spots that I have been," Gardiner said. "And I think that we're still on our way up and we have a lot more that we can do."

The Beavers did finish second in the meet last season, scoring a 196.925 to tie with Utah while UCLA won the title with a 197.250.

OSU entered the meet as the fourth seed. The Beavers are third this year behind UCLA and Utah.

"So we're definitely striving for that title this year," Ricci said. "I think that's been a fire under us for this whole season and just kind of showing what Oregon State's made of."

The meet provides a perfect lead-in to the NCAA regionals.

It brings all seven Pac-12 teams together and the competition level is top-notch.

"This meet is definitely great to kind of prepare us for regionals because we are in a conference where there are top teams and I think that does help us prepare for what's coming at regionals and hopefully nationals," sophomore McKenna Singley said.

Singley experienced the meet last year and said it's a good way for freshmen to get acclimated to postseason.

"At Pac-12s we go one at a time, so all eyes are on you," she said. "I think it's great to have them under that pressure and to feel it before the real thing at regionals and I think it's a great preparation for them."

Another strong performance would be a big springboard into nationals for the Beavers.

They can improve their Regional Qualifying Score and build more confidence.

"I know this team knows what they're doing but it always helps to go out there and have a stellar performance," Gardiner said. "And I think that if we can do that at Pac-12s, that would really help us with regionals, with nationals, with really putting ourselves out there and going big."


Sports Reporter

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