The arrival of Jade Carey has launched a new era for an Oregon State gymnastics program which already boasts a proud history.
Carey, who won the gold medal in the floor routine last summer at the Tokyo Olympics, won the all-around competition on Saturday in her first meet as a member of the Oregon State program. The energy and enthusiasm shown by Carey and her teammates energized the crowd at Gill Coliseum and created enormous interest in the upcoming home meet with UCLA and UC Davis.
The Beavers will host the Bruins at 2 p.m. Sunday in a meet that will be broadcast on Pac-12 Networks.
“Jade is an amazing individual. She is incredibly talented, one of the most hard-working athletes I’ve ever known. Jade is consistent, there’s no high, there’s no low, she’s just right there. It was just so enjoyable to watch her compete with the joy that she has for the sport that she loves so much,” said head coach Tanya Chaplin.
Oregon State has a long history of success in gymnastics. The Beavers have qualified for the national championships 29 times and have won six Pac-12 Conference titles. Five different Oregon State gymnasts have won individual titles at the NCAA championships, most recently Amy Durham on the floor in 1993.
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Carey joins a team that has two returning All-Americans. Kaitlyn Yanish is a two-time All-American on the floor routine and Madi Dagen earned that honor on the vault last season.
Recognizing that history is important, Chaplin believes. Saturday night wasn’t the first time the crowd has been thrilled by a performance and it won’t be the last.
“We’re building off of that legacy. There are different times that the energy has just been electric,” Chaplin said. “The fans are going to see some incredible gymnastics, across the board. Obviously Jade’s there doing what she does, but our other athletes have really upped their game, too.”
Oregon State has several experienced gymnasts in place to offer leadership. There are super seniors Yanish and Colette Yamaoka, and a regular senior class which includes Dagen and Kristina Peterson.
“They're an incredible, caring group to really be able to take this freshman class under their wings,” Chaplin said.
They also lead by example. Chaplin said Dagen and Yanish have worked hard to expand their skills late in their collegiate careers.
“They’ve both been continuing to push themselves on events that didn’t always come natural to them,” Chaplin said. “That’s exciting to see and is a huge example to our underclassmen.”
Including Carey, there are nine freshmen in this year’s class. Most of them were recruited from the western United States, but the class also includes Trinity Pyle, from Rome, Georgia, and Phoebe Jakubczyk of the United Kingdom.
“It’s a fun energy. It’s a young team. We have nine freshmen. That’s a huge freshman class,” Chaplin said. “It’s a very team oriented group. What is going to be best for the team is what I’m going to do. They work their tails off to make the lineup decisions hard for us this week.”
The Bruins struggled in their first meet of the season on Monday, placing third in a three-team meet behind Minnesota and Iowa. The Bruins’ lineup includes Jordan Chiles, a native of the Pacific Northwest who was part of the US squad in Tokyo, and Emma Malabuyo, who was an alternate on the team.
Sunday's meet was originally scheduled to be a head-to-head matchup between Oregon State and UCLA. UC Davis was added to the competition on Thursday after the Aggies' scheduled meet this weekend was canceled.