Oregon State gymnast Sydney Gonzales opened the season with strong performances in three events last weekend at the Super 16 meet in Las Vegas.
The junior from Newport Beach, California, posted her career-high score in the floor routine with a 9.875. Gonzales also scored a 9.850 on the balance beam and 9.800 on the vault.
“I was really pleased to go out there and really put what I had been training in here out on the competition floor, so that was really fun,” Gonzales said. “It definitely creates a strong foundation of confidence and trusting your training to go out there and perform how you want to in the future.”
Oregon State coach Tanya Chaplin said Gonzales’ performance was a direct result of a very focused offseason.
“She’s worked tremendously hard since last season and to see all of that work pay off. She was doing what we see in the gym. That was wonderful to see happen on the competition floor,” Chaplin said.
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The Beavers were not satisfied with their overall team score of 195.450 which resulted in a third-place finish in their four-team session at the Super 16 meet. The lower than expected score was largely a result of a rough start on the uneven bars in the team’s first event of the season.
“I think the biggest thing was uneven bars. The rest were right in there and had we done what we normally do on bars that would have set us in a much better position,” Chaplin said. “And if you look at bars, it’s probably our youngest lineup, so they want it really bad. But it’s setting aside what they want and focusing on what they need to do and what they technically need to do.”
Two Oregon State freshmen — Jennifer McMillan and Francesca Caso — made their collegiate debuts on the uneven bars. McMillan scored 9.750 in the event which was the team’s second-best score in that rotation behind Jade Carey’s 9.825. Caso scored 9.600.
Fellow freshman Savannah Miller made her debut on the floor and scored a very solid 9.800. Chaplin said Miller took a very aggressive approach to her routine.
“It’s good to see that from a freshman,” Chaplin said.
Another highlight from the opening meet was Jenna Domingo’s 9.850 on the beam, which placed her in a tie for second in that event.
Oregon State, which is ranked 26th nationally after the opening weekend of the season, will compete Saturday at the Wasatch Classic in West Valley City, Utah. Third-ranked California, No. 16 Iowa and No. 20 Pitt will also be competing at the meet.
Gonzales said the meet is being held at the Maverik Center, which will also host the Pac-12 Championships on March 18.
“It’s really great practice, especially for Pac-12s, because we’re in the same arena. So I’m really looking forward to doing another practice run for that,” Gonzales said.
Chaplin said the goal this weekend is to show improvement in every event against a group of high-quality opponents.
“There were some misses that are uncharacteristic, so hopefully we can put those aside and focus back in on landings, especially on uneven bars, and just little misses from people that we don’t usually see those misses from in practice," Chaplin said. "Hopefully that all comes together in competition."