Back at the start of the 2012 season, the Oregon State Gymnastics team scored a victory over the fourth-ranked Oklahoma Sooners in a match that meant more to the team than kicking the season off on the right foot.
After the program wrapped up a year defined by strong team success in 2011, the 2012 Beavers had their work cut out for them in the shadow of what was Oregon State’s best finish to a season since 1996. Not only did the 2011 team finish with a strong 5-1 record, but they managed to parlay that success into a PAC-10 title and an eighth-place finish in nationals.
Backing up their success from 2011 would be no easy task either. The 2012 version of Oregon State Gymnastics would need another spectacular season in order to emerge from that shadow that their success from the past year left behind. Starting the season against the fourth-ranked Oklahoma Sooners, nothing would come easy on their way to replicating that success.
The Beavers were expected to be a strong team in 2012, starting the season ranked 7th in the NCAA. OSU went into their season-opening match against the Sooners, contending with Oklahoma’s higher ranking as well as their NCAA-leading streak of 32 straight regular-season wins. But the underdog Beavers were not to be denied in their Jan. 13 showdown with Oklahoma, handing the program their first regular-season loss since 2009 by a final score of 196.525 to 195.675.
Oregon State had a historic performance to pull off the upset, with their score of 196.525 going down as the highest opening game final result in their program’s history, a record that still stands today. Leading the way in scoring for both teams was Oregon State’s senior all-around gymnast Leslie Mak, whose total score of 39.400 was enough to earn her PAC-12 gymnast of the week honors.
Mak excelled with her performance on the uneven parallel bars, leading the individual scoring there with a 9.900. Three more Beavers followed close behind. Sophomore all-around gymnast Brittany Harris, junior all-around gymnast Makayla Stambaugh, and senior bars, beam and floor gymnast Olivia Vivian all finished with a 9.850. Freshman all-around gymnast Chelsea Tang also came close with a 9.825.
Despite owning sole possession of the top four spots in bars, the Beavers were not able to create much separation in that category. While Oregon State finished with an impressive final score of 49.275, the Sooners were close behind with a 49.025.
The overall scores stayed competitive throughout the match. Oklahoma managed to get the upper hand in the vault routine, outscoring the Beavers 48.950 to 48.850, but with Oregon State’s greater margin of victory in the bars and a tied result of 49.100 in the balance beam, the Beavers managed to carry a 147.225-146.875 lead into the floor routine.
It was in this final event where the Beavers managed to truly set themselves apart and pull away from the Sooners for a victory. Once again, Oregon State managed to secure the top three spots of the routine in their floor performance. This time, they were led by Stambaugh, who scored a match-high 9.925 in the event. Following closely with a pair of 9.875 scores was Mak and junior all-around gymnast Melanie Jones.
The historic win saw great individual performances from a handful of Oregon State’s team, all of which helped get the Beavers off on the right foot in 2012 and led them to another successful season. After winning that match against Oklahoma, the Beavers managed to score wins in four more consecutive matches while placing first in two tri-meets along the way.
While the team wasn’t able to defend their conference title, the 2012 Beavers used their success from the regular season to make their way into the NCAA Championships, finishing in 12th place.