PAC 12 Championships

I’ve mentioned previously how one of our favorite things to do here in Oregon is attend gymnastics meets at Oregon State University.  The majority of the family are “Beaver Believers”, and Oregon State is a perennial gymnastics talent.  We try to go to as many home meets as we can.  A couple weeks ago, they got to host the PAC 12 Conference championship.  Mom, Dad, Nathan and I were lucky enough to get tickets and attend. 


The PAC 12 is a really tough gymnastics conference.  Nationwide, UCLA is ranked 6th, Utah 9th, OSU 10th, and Stanford 11th.  We had the opportunity to see some very talented gymnasts and amazing performances.



It seemed like every team brought their A-game. Stanford fell off pace after the first rotation, but UCLA, Utah, and OSU were all vying for the lead to the very end.  Utah’s gymnasts were incredible – I think they stuck every landing that night!  They were like machines, they were so consistent.  UCLA and Utah started out incredibly strong, but OSU stayed right on their heels and started to make up ground on the third rotation.  We saw some great performances from the Beavers, several of which garnered 10’s from some of the judges!  Every time a 10 went up, the crowd would roar their approval.

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One of the big individual performance of the night came from one of the UCLA gymnasts, Vanessa Zamarippa, who scored a perfect 10 (meaning her four scores combined averaged to a 10.0) on the vault.  I have never seen a perfect 10 before, so it was pretty cool to see what a perfect routine looks like!

The best part of the meet was the fourth rotation.  By then, OSU had passed UCLA by a slim margin, but still trailed Utah.  Utah was on beam, UCLA on vault, and OSU on bars.  The Beavers had to not only overtake Utah, but they had to hold off UCLA on one of their strongest events.  The Beavers rose to the occasion and brought the crowd to their feet with an school record-setting bar rotation that included scores of 9.925, two 9.950’s, and a 9.975.  Combined with a few slight wobbles from Utah on the beam, the Beavers easily took over the lead and got a standing ovation from the home crowd.


After attending every home meet this season, it was so rewarding to watch this team bring home the PAC 12 championship!  We can’t wait to cheer them on at the NCAA Regional this weekend.  Go Beavs!


Florida, Part 3: Around The World!

Our third installment of Florida pictures brings us to Epcot, where we rode some rides, did some learning, and visited a variety of different parts of the world (present and future)!


We started the day exploring Future World and hitting the rides, some of which were very memorable.  Mission Space simulated space flight training.  I made the mistake of choosing the most “advanced” level on that ride – for someone who suffers from motion sickness, it was not the wisest choice!  It took a quite a while for me to recover from that one.  We visited the Chevrolet Test Track, where we each designed our own cars, then went on a roller coaster that tested the performance of our cars.  I had some trouble figuring out how to use the computer to design my car, and ended up with a vehicle that didn’t really resemble a car at all (Nathan described it as a purple Batmobile).  Interestingly enough, my non-car outperformed his (I feel this is worth noting).  Then we hit the Innoventions Pavilion, where we got to design our own roller coaster ride, then ride on it in a simulator!  It was pretty cool.

We got a lot of education in Future World as well.  After we hit the rides, we visited the Land Pavilion and took a boat tour through Epcot’s hydroponic greenhouses.  It was really neat to see all their innovative, unconventional growing techniques.  For instance, they grow things like tomatoes and cucumbers on “trees”.  They focus on growing plants in a way that benefits the grower, consumer, and the environment. 

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In the afternoon, we made our way over to the World Showcase.  Epcot has many different countries of the world scattered around their huge lake.


One of the best parts about having so many countries to explore?  Having so many different foods to sample! Nathan was particularly excited to visit Germany and sample some of their food, as he has German ethnicity.  He was especially excited when we found an entire caramel themed store there. During our travels through the World Showcase, we sampled cannoli from Italy, caramel corn from Germany, empanadas from Mexico, and the big attraction – bratwurst from Germany!


In Italy, we found ourselves in the middle of the town square just as a live show was starting.  We were right next to an empty table, so we had front row seats to the action!  The show was a performance by the comedy troupe The Ziti Sisters.


The Ziti Sisters were hilarious!  One of their big things was getting the audience involved in the act.  Nathan was trying to act all aloof and unnoticeable, in an effort to avoid getting pulled in.  He kept grumbling about how he would refuse if they tried.  Just then, one of the Ziti Sisters walked over and pulled him into the show!  (And of course, he didn’t say no).  Initially, he was playing a guest at a wedding.


His next “role”/task was to hold this painting while the Ziti Sisters used audience members to recreate it:


But the Ziti Sisters had hidden a surprise under Nathan’s side of the painting!


It was so much fun to watch!  And I think if you asked Nathan, he would have to say he honestly had fun being part of it (even if he grumbled about it at first).

We finished off our day at Epcot watching their amazing evening fireworks show over the lake.  Epcot was Nathan’s favorite park of the four Disney parks.  Fun rides, interesting facts, and good food?  Count us in!