Sports

Gym rat: Smith is a perfect 10 at OSU

Oregon State University junior Tasha Smith won Pac-10 titles on the vault and floor exercise last month. Smith also received a perfect 10.0   on the floor exercise during a dual-meet in February against BYU. - Photo courtesy OSUBeavers.com
Oregon State University junior Tasha Smith won Pac-10 titles on the vault and floor exercise last month. Smith also received a perfect 10.0 on the floor exercise during a dual-meet in February against BYU.
— image credit: Photo courtesy OSUBeavers.com

Beamer graduate is one of the top gymnasts in the Pac-10, nation

Tasha Smith has accomplished perfection.

The Todd Beamer High School graduate dazzled 4,000 fans earlier this season when she wowed the judges with a perfect 10.0 on the floor exercise in a dual meet against Brigham Young University.

“Floor is always the event that stands out when people think of me and so I was like, ‘I bet, if I’m as good as people say, I bet I could get a 10,’ ” Smith told the Corvallis Gazette-Times. “That kind of started the whole thing.”

The “perfect” score Smith posted during the February meet wasn’t out of the blue. Smith has established herself as one of the top gymnasts in the Pac-10 Conference during her three seasons at Oregon State.

As a freshman, Smith was plagued by injuries for much of the season. But she rebounded to take Pac-10 titles on the vault and floor in 2006. She also helped the Beavers earn a spot in the NCAA championships. Smith narrowly missed the individual vault finals but was named a second team All-American.

As a sophomore, Smith earned first-team All-American honors on the vault following a 9.90 at the NCAA Championships. During individual finals, Smith’s first vault scored as the third-best in the nation, but a fall on her second vault left her in 11th place.

She also proved to be a clutch performer at the NCAA Regional meet last season. Needing at least a 9.90 to propel the Beavers into the NCAA National Championship Meet, Smith came through with a 9.925 to earn the regional floor exercise title and advance the Beaver team into the national championships.

Her junior season has been even more impressive. Smith recently earned All-Conference honors on the vault and floor exercise, winning Pac-10 titles in both events.

Smith and the rest of her Oregon State teammates are set to compete at the 2008 NCAA West Regional Women’s Gymnastics Championships on Saturday. The event will be held at Oregon State. The Beavers enter the competition with the second-best qualifying score, behind the University of Michigan. The top two teams in the meet will advance to the NCAA Championships at Athens, Ga., April 24-26.

Smith didn’t compete for the Todd Beamer gymnastics team while in high school. She trained at Gymnastics Unlimited under coaches Jeff and Linda Lutz.

Honors keep coming for Bressler

Decatur High School graduate Kyle Bressler recently concluded his junior season on the Oregon State wrestling team. For the second year in a row, Bressler competed at the NCAA Wrestling Championships.

This year, Bressler advanced into the fourth round of the 2008 NCAA Championships in St. Louis last month after winning the Pac-10 title at 197 pounds.

Bressler won his opening round match over Dustin Porter (Gardner-Webb), 3-1, in overtime before falling into the consolation bracket after being pinned by No. 1 seed Josh Glenn (American) in the second round.

Bressler eventually beat Lamar Brown (Rutgers), 4-2, before being eliminated by Arizona State’s Jason Trulson, 3-2. Bressler beat Trulson in overtime to win the Pac-10 championship. He finished 19-12 overall this season.

Bressler was also named to the Pac-10 All-Academic Wrestling Team last week. This is his third honor after being named to the first team in 2006 and receiving second-team accolades last season.

He is majoring in construction management at Oregon State.

Sports editor Casey Olson: 925-5565, sports@fedwaymirror.com

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