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Beavers aim for Super Six

Beating No. 1-ranked UCLA, No. 3 Utah and No. 6 Arizona State in dual meets at home says something about the Oregon State gymnastics team. So do two losses.

Scoring 196-plus points in meets at Stanford and Washington shows the Beavers have consistently put together strong performances away from Corvallis. The road judges' response was a good sign for a team hoping for its fourth consecutive NCAA berth.

Ranked ninth nationally, the Beavers scored 196.475 at UW last weekend and narrowly lost to the Huskies. If not for some falls on the beam, the Beavers could have eclipsed the 196.675 they tallied in a loss to UCLA and their 196.90 in a win over Utah.

'We're not scoring two points higher at home than on the road,' OSU coach Tanya Chaplin says.

The Beavers, who placed fourth in the Pacific-10 Conference, second at their regional and 12th at the NCAA championships last year, maintained their No. 9 national ranking, based on their 196.36 average. Average scores qualify teams for regionals, and OSU looks solid.

The Pac-10 championships are March 29 at UCLA. Regionals (site to be determined) are April 12, and the NCAA meet is April 26-29 at Lincoln, Neb.

Beating Utah was huge; it was only the sixth time that OSU has beaten the perennial power.

Juniors Lindsay Nelson and Tanya Ricioli have combined for five all-around dual-meet wins. The Beavers have surprised teams even without senior Annie Campbell, who is redshirting.

Junior Elaine Yoder, from Wilson High, says making the Super Six finals is a realistic goal. It would be the next step for Chaplin, in her sixth year at OSU.

'This is a good year for it because of our depth,' says Yoder, a beam specialist with a best of 9.9 (three times).