A Balancing Act

“They work hard in class and compete hard in the gym,” says Tanya Chaplin, OSU Women’s Gymnastics coach. “School is always our number one priority.

Exercise and sport science major Mandi Rodriguez says, “My most memorable event was winning the all-around in front of 6,000 people at our Pink-Out meet this year. The energy in Gill Coliseum was amazing and the feeling of performing for those people for a cause greater than myself is just indescribable.”

The women’s gymnastics team finished eighth at nationals, the best finish since 1996. Senior Mandi Rodriguez medaled at the NCAA Championships’ Individual Event with a third place finish on the vault. Mandi, who is majoring in exercise and sport science, is one of six gymnasts from the College of Health and Human Sciences. Other HHS teammates are senior Laura-Ann Chong and Melanie Jones (exercise and sport science), Jen Kesler and Becky Colvin (merchandising management), and Makayla Stambaugh (human development and family sciences).

Every night we compete in the legendary Gill Coliseum is truly memorable. We have one of the biggest and most genuine crowds in the nation and just being in there and having the privilege of compete is such a rush! (Jen Kesler,  merchandising management major)

“They work hard in class and compete hard in the gym,” says Tanya Chaplin, OSU Women’s Gymnastics coach. “School is always our number one priority. They are preparing for careers so academics are important.” “If they are successful, OSU is successful.” According to Chaplin, the perfectionist approach that the gymnasts take to their sport translates to their studies, and OSU provides great support so student athletes can stay on top of their classes. “The internet makes a huge difference – they stay on track with their studies and communicate with their professors who are really invested in helping them succeed.”

“We have mandated study tables in the locker room and the library which really helps during the week,” says Mandi. “I love my major, especially the classes about motor development. It’s interesting to apply the things we learn in class to my sport and vice versa. “ Mandi is also in the OSU Global Medical Brigades Club and will be traveling to Honduras this summer to deliver medical aid to villages in need. “I am a Mexican citizen and an American citizen which is why I am also majoring n Spanish.

Jen Kesler has balanced gymnastics and school her whole life so has good handle on her studies in merchandising management. “I love my classes – especially the hands on, interactive aspects. The faculty are so passionate about the industry and have really helped me succeed. “ Jan was the team captain for the OSU Gymnastics Relay for Life Team and enjoys the team’s community service projects.

“It’s great to see them grow in the athletics and academics,” says Tanya.   “Each year they become more comfortable with their professors and their majors.  Many continue on to graduate school and have successful careers.” Visit this link to read more about the OSU gymnasts.

Clockwise from top left: Melanie Jones, Makayla Stambaugh, Laura-Ann Chong, and Becky Colvin.

2 replies on “A Balancing Act”

We are SO impressed with the gymnastics program at Oregon Sate U. Jen Kesler is our very special and precious contributor and it is always a our pleasure to see how well she and the team perform. Thanks for sharing this great news and helping students reach their goals.

Maralyn and Carl Johnson

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