The Oregon State gymnastics team’s bid for a spot in the NCAA Championships came down to the anchor of the final event of Saturday’s finals of the NCAA Corvallis Regional in Gill Coliseum.
The Beavers got into striking distance of Florida’s 196.700 and second place — Denver had already finished and outdistanced the pack with a 197.375 — after McKenna Singley came through with a 9.875 and Isis Lowery followed with a 9.900 to set up OSU’s final floor performance.
It came down to Kaitlyn Yanish.
Yanish stuck her landing on her final tumbling run and the crowd knew before the score was announced, a few spilling out of their seats as they cheered. Yanish’s 9.900 gave OSU second with a 196.900.
The Beavers are headed to the NCAA Championships in Fort Worth, Texas, in two weeks.
Yanish was not aware of the situation right after her routine.
“It just felt so exciting,” Yanish said. “We went out and we did what we know how to do every day in practice. I think our student section was a little bit bigger, we had quite a few of the girls on our team there and their energy definitely built up our energy. It just felt like we were champions.
“I had no idea that we were going but everyone was super excited and I was super excited. It was just a lot of fun.”
The Beavers struggled a bit at the start of floor, with Mary Jacobsen scoring a 9.625 after an unsteady landing. They also had two 9.750s before Singley came through with a 9.875. Lowery followed with a 9.900 and it came down to Yanish.
Singley said the crowd provided the Beavers a big lift on both nights.
“The energy they brought, it was amazing,” Singley said. “It makes the energy for us even greater and it makes it more exciting and more fun, especially because Beaver Nation is one family and having that energy, having them cheer us on like that, even between events, it just gets you excited and it makes you feel so loved and you want to do it not only for us, you want to do it for them.”
The Beavers had their usual rotation for the meet, starting on vault, then bars, beam and finishing on floor.
That was a happy coincidence for OSU.
“The committee drew that rotation probably back, I’m not exactly sure, but earlier in the year,” Chaplin said. “They may have done it in the fall. It was printed out. We didn’t know where we would be ranked at that time and it just happened that we were ranked in the right seed to fall into that bracket that we finished with our home rotation here in our Olympic order starting on vault. It was I guess fate that happened because they actually draw those way before we get here.”
OSU finished with a 49.100 on vault, with Singley and Lacey Dagen leading the way with 9.850s. Destinee Davis, Yanish and Jacobsen all finished with 9.800s.
Two falls on beam hurt Florida and the Gators started with a 48.475. Boise State finished bars with a 49.000 and Denver took the lead with a 49.300 on floor.
On bars, Colette Yamaoka and Jacobsen both had 9.800s to kick off the event. Lowery hit for a 9.900 and Mariana Colussi-Pelaez matched it. Halli Briscoe came through with a 9.825 and Sabrina Gill anchored with a 9.900 for an event score of 49.325.
OSU sat in second halfway through the meet at 98.425. Denver was first with 98.500, Boise State third with 98.050 and Florida gaining ground on floor (49.425) with a 97.900.
The Beavers did not have the huge beam score they did on Friday, but they came through with a solid 49.300. Lowery had a 9.825, Lacy Dagen and Maela Lazaro both finished with 9.850s, Madi Dagen scored a 9.875 and Gill anchored with a 9.900.
That put OSU at 147.725 going into the final rotation. Denver was holding on to the lead with 147.950. Florida moved into third with 147.275 and Boise State had a 146.950.
The Beavers finished the day going 24 of 24 on the events, even with a few minor miscues.
“We just kept trying to grow from Pac-12s, that momentum we finished with going into (Friday) and then taking that momentum into (Saturday),” Chaplin said. “I thought they showed a lot of strength, courage and grit. This was the second day of competition and they really just honed in, focused in on what they needed to do and it came out to where we’re actually heading to Fort Worth now. That’s just incredibly exciting for us.”