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NCAA 2018: Meet the Oregon State Freshman Class

Oregon State's three freshmen. Photograph: Kaitlyn Yanish/Instagram The 2018 NCAA season is still months away, but it is never t...

Oregon State's three freshmen. Photograph: Kaitlyn Yanish/Instagram

The 2018 NCAA season is still months away, but it is never too early to start knowing the incoming freshman class for each team. This is both a way to begin thinking of potential lineups, and a way to get to know less well-known gymnasts and their routines.

At the end of last season the Beavers said goodbye to five outstanding seniors: Erika Aufiero, who hit 84 out of 91 routines in her career, and is the 2017 Pac-12 uneven bars champion with a score of 9.950; Silvia Colussi-Palaez, who hit 27 out of her 29 routines in her career, and had a career-high of 9.925 on bars; Madeline Gardiner, who is a four-time NCAA All-American and a two-time Regular Season All-American; Megan Jimenez, who had career-highs of 9.850s on both beam and floor; Kaytianna McMillan, who is the 2017 Pac-12 Gymnast of the Year, a 2017 AAI Award finalist and scored a perfect 10.0 on the uneven bars; and Taylor Ricci, who hit 48 out of 49 routines in her career and had a career-high of 9.875 on floor exercise.

Oregon State is welcoming three new freshmen: Savanna Force, from Reno, Nevada; Alexis Gonzales, from Newport Beach, California; and Kaitlyn Yanish, from Chandler, Arizona. They are also welcoming Lacy Dagen, from Pleasanton, California, who is a junior transfer from Florida.


Savanna Force trained at Deltchev Gymnastics Academy. She has competed as a Level 10 gymnast since 2014. Force is the 2017 Nevada State floor champion, and the 2017 bronze medallist on floor at the Region 1 Championships. Force’s most successful competition in 2017 was the Deltchev Classic, where she won the floor title, was second on vault and in the all around, third on bars and fourth on beam. Force competed at the Nevada State championships also in 2015, where she won bronze medals both on vault and on beam.

Force’s best apparatus is floor. She competes a double pike, a full twist into full twist and a one-and-a-half-twist into front layout, as well as some beautiful splits. She also competes a very good FTY on vault, a Tkachev on bars and, on beam, she is training a BHSO + LOSO + LOSO.


Alexis Gonzales trained at Gym-Max until 2015 and at Wildfire Gymnastics in 2016 and 2017. She has been competed as a Level 10 gymnast since 2015. Gonzales competed at the Southern California State championships in 2017, where she finished second on vault and beam, fourth on floor and fifth in the all around. A month later she competed at the 2017 Region 1 championships, where she tied for bronze on balance beam. In 2017 Gonzales also won two gold medals on balance beam at the San Diego Classic in January and at the Daytona Beach Classic in February.

Gonzales excels on bars, where she competes a Jaeger, a Pak salto and a double tuck dismount. She is also very good on beam, where she performs a free-walkover into back-handspring step-out series and a front full-twisting dismount. On floor, she is a twister. She competes a two-and-a-half-twist into front pike, a front layout into front pike and a front full twist. She has a beautiful choreography and presentation.


Kaitlyn Yanish trained at Arizona Dynamics Gymnastics. She is a four-consecutive-time Junior Olympic qualifier (2014-2017). At the 2014 J.O. National Invitational Tournament, she won bronze in the all around and was fourth on bars. At the J.O. National Championships in 2015, she won gold on bars, tied for gold on floor and was fourth in the all around. In 2016, she finished once again fourth in the all around. And in 2017, she tied for second in the all around, and was fourth on vault ad floor (tied). In 2017, Yanish also competed at the Arizona State championships, where she won the all around and the bars beam and floor (tied) titles. And at the Region 1 championships, she won gold in the all around, vault and floor, silver on bars and tied for bronze on beam.

Yanish is an excellent all arounder. On floor, she competes a double layout, a full twist into front layout and a double tuck. On beam, she performs some original work: a BHSO + LOSO series, a switch-leap into LOSO and a BHSO into one-and-a-half twisting dismount. On bars, she competes a shoot-over to the low bars and a double layout dismount. Finally, on vault she performs a high FTY.


Lacy Dagen did her club training at San Mateo Gymnastics, and competed as an elite gymnast in 2012. She spent her first two college season as a Florida Gator. She sat out her freshman season (2016) due to a torn ACL and missed most of last season (2017) due to a torn meniscus, which required surgery in February. She competed for Florida only once, on vault, in 2017 and scored a very good 9.850. Dagen was released from Florida on a medical scholarship at the end of last season and soon afterwards she announced on Twitter her commitment to the Beavers for her junior year. She wrote: ‘There's another beaver in the Dagen house!!! I'm excited to announce that I will be continuing my academics and gymnastics at Oregon State University in the fall. Very grateful for this opportunity!!’ Lacy’s sister Madison also competes for Oregon State and will graduate in 2018.

Dagen’s best apparatus is beam. During her club career, she used to compete a free-walkover, a sheep jump, a BHSO + LOSO series and BHSO + back-handspring + one-and-a-half-twisting dismount. Danger is however very good also on the other three apparatuses. On bars, she used to compete a Ray and a Pak salto. On floor, she competed a  one-and-a-half twist into double tuck,  full twist into front layout and a double pike. Finally, on vault she competes a high FTY. Due to her recent leg injuries, she may be forced to modify her routines, but she has plenty of potential to be key to the Beavers.

Good luck to the future Beavers!

Article by Talitha Ilacqua

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