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OSU gymnastics: Three seniors taking the next step in life

OSU gymnastics: Three seniors taking the next step in life

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Friday evening’s quad meet will be senior night for three Oregon State gymnasts as Mary Jacobsen, McKenna Singley and Mariana Colussi-Pelaez will be honored for their time with the Beavers.

It won’t be their final chance to compete in front of the Gill Coliseum crowd — that will come at the NCAA Corvallis Regional on April 4-6 — but it’s the final meet of the regular season and they will be recognized after the event.

All three will be embarking on new phases of their lives once they wrap up their time at OSU.

Singley has been accepted to law school at University of Utah, where she will be able to pursue a degree while close to her hometown of Bountiful.

“I actually knew I wanted to be a lawyer since I was 11 years old, just based on stuff I saw happen in my life. I saw stuff that I wanted to prevent in other people’s lives and families, so a big part of me wanted to be a lawyer,” Singley said. “I just want to help people, I want to be able to be an advocate for people and help in any way I can.”

After drifting away from the notion of becoming a lawyer for a few years, Singley’s interest was rekindled during her sophomore year at OSU when one of her professors spoke on people following their passion in life.

At the end of her junior year, Singley began preparing for the LSAT and spent that summer studying and starting the application process.

Her involvement with the Student-Athlete Legislative Team and the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee was helpful in building her resume.

“I applied to six different schools, I ended up getting into three of them and was late-listed by two and rejected by one,” Singley said. “My top choice was always University of Utah. I was able to go visit this summer and being there just felt right. It felt like somewhere I belonged and so when I found out that I had gotten accepted into Utah, I was just elated. I was so excited.”

Singley said she’s interested in criminal law, specifically prosecution.

“And ultimately I want to work my way up to being a judge,” she said.

Jacobsen heard that Google interviews were tough and that other companies used the same techniques as Google, so she figured it would be a good idea to practice by going through the process with the company.

To her surprise, she wound up with a job.

“I decided to apply just so I could practice because I figured, OK, if I could practice doing interviews at Google, then I can do interviews at other companies,” Jacobsen said. “So I did four interviews at Google and I ended up getting a job, which I wasn’t really planning on that. I was just doing it for practice.”

She will start in September as a software engineer.

“I’m not sure what I’ll be doing yet because Google takes the first year to train their software engineers and they use different algorithms to try to place us on the best teams that will fit us, so I actually have no idea what I’ll be doing there yet,” she said. “I could be on any team. But I’ll know in a year.”

The company has offices in Seattle and Kirkland, Washington, so Jacobsen will be relatively close to her home in Puyallup.

Her two younger sisters both work in the Seattle area as software engineers and Jacobsen said they all might try to move into a townhouse and live on the different floors.

“I sort of started a trend because I decided to major in (computer science with the computer systems option) and then my two little sisters, I talked them into it as well,” Jacobsen said. “So hopefully they like it.”

The plan isn’t quite set in stone for Colussi-Pelaez.

She has applied to medical school and is waiting on word from a few colleges.

The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, located in Dublin, is her top choice.

“I heard that there’s good opportunities there because less people apply and my little sister is at a six-year program there, so that’s also part of the reason as well,” Colussi-Pelaez said.

Colussi-Pelaez made the decision to pursue a career in medicine after spending some time at Oregon State.

“The more science courses I took and the more exposure I had, like clinical exposure, I realized that was something I really connect with and something I really wanted to do,” she said.

She is interested in becoming a pediatrician.

“Because I really enjoy working with children and I’ve also shadowed a pediatrician,” she said. “And doing that kind of thing made me realize, wow, this is exactly what I want to do.”

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The Oregon State gymnastics team took a step forward on Saturday, but there’s plenty of room for the Beavers to get better.

OSU finished with a 195.325 to win a three-team meet against Seattle Pacific (189.525) and Centenary 182.625.

The Beavers improved from last week’s score of 194.450 at the Critique Classic in Kissimmee, Florida, but continued to deal with a few rough patches.

“I feel like this was a whole new vibe,” Kaitlyn Yanish said. “Last weekend, it was a good start for us, it was a little weird here and there but I feel just being back in Gill it brings back the magic and all the spice and I feel like we feel so comfortable and at home here. It was just completely different from last weekend.”

The Beavers got strong performances from a few of their experienced gymnasts, but coach Tanya Chaplin said some of the younger athletes are still finding their way.

“We have a lot of newbies competing and they’re trying so hard that they’re creating mistakes,” Chaplin said. “So they’re trying to stick those landings and then that actually creates them to tighten up and take a step forward instead of just relax into the landing. So the heart is in the right place. They’re pushing as hard as they can and that’s good to see. Now with each week that confidence will continue to grow.

“So it’s kind of finding out who are those first couple of people in each lineup. We have a few that we’re playing with in different spots to try and figure who is it that’s going to be those go-to people at the end of season, so you’ll probably see some shuffling on a few events here and there still.”

The Beavers had a solid start on vault. Madi Dagen scored a 9.800, Lacy Dagen a 9.825 and Yanish wound up with a 9.850 to win the event. The Beavers finished with a 48.850 on the event.

Bars became a significant struggle. The Beavers had a fall and were forced to count a 9.375 by Isis Lowery and a 9.600 by Sabrina Gill, who suffered an injury during her routine and was forced out of the beam rotation.

Colette Yamaoka had a 9.725, Alyssa Minyard scored a 9.775 and Halli Briscoe came through with a 9.850 for first and the Beavers finished with a 48.325.

“We obviously started off a little slower than we would have liked but we came back and after bars we kind of reset and we were like, let’s not live in the past, let’s just focus on what we have next,” Lowery said. “I think we did a great job of flipping it and just going into beam and floor and being aggressive and just attacking our routines.”

The Beavers were able to overcome Gill’s absence on beam as Madi Dagen scored a 9.825 and Lowery hit a 9.875 before Maela Lazaro anchored with a 9.850.

“There were a few wobbles here and there but overall they fought and the majority of the beam routine was really solid,” Chaplin said

A strong finish to the meet came on floor. Kristina Peterson had a 9.750, Savanna Force came through with a 9.850 and Lowery and Yanish capped off the scoring with 9.925s.

“Isis has been really, really consistent and it just was off (on bars),” Chaplin said. “But she came back on the next two events and did a phenomenal job with a 9.875 and a 9.925.”

Lowery said the Beavers don’t get caught up in worrying about scores during a meet.

“I think we do a really good job of not letting the scores affect us,” she said. “We can’t control that. We’re not doing a routine and then sitting up on the table and judging ourselves. So we just try to focus on what we can control and that’s our gymnastics. Regardless of what the scores come up as, we can’t change that. We’ve just got to go out there and do our best not to give them anything to take.”

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