Well, I think you could call Korri and me crazy college gymnastics fans for real now. Haha! Last weekend, we decided to spontaneously hop on a plane to Portland, Oregon, and then drive an hour and a half south to Corvallis to catch the gymnastics regional competition at Oregon State University. (Regionals marks the start of the NCAA tournament. The top 36 teams are sorted into four regional sites. Play-in meets on day one narrow the field down to the “round of 32” for day two, and then it’s cut down to the “sweet 16”, who compete on day three for a spot in the “elite 8” at nationals.) Our hometown team, Boise State, ended up being seeded in the Corvallis regional, and we wanted to support them and also watch other top teams that we hadn’t seen in person before.
The night before our trip, as I was trying to fall asleep, I thought to myself how weird and coincidental it would be if our plane to Portland was the Oregon State plane…and lo and behold…IT WAS THE OREGON STATE PLANE! I couldn’t believe it when I saw it. I’m probably the only person who thinks that’s hilarious but that’s okay. I was very amused by our luck!
We landed in Portland early on Friday, rented a car (it only cost us $55 for two days plus gas), and headed south. We stopped for a bite to eat and to walk around the Woodburn Premium Outlets, a super nice—and large—outlet mall just south of Portland. Korri bought himself a rain jacket at The North Face outlet, which was a wise decision since it ended up raining all weekend. I had brought my new rain jacket along for a test drive.
After walking around the outlets, we got back on the road to continue the drive to Corvallis. Boise State’s meet started in the early afternoon. As the 12th-ranked team, they competed against No. 5 Denver, Washington, and Southern Utah. They met all three teams in regular season meets, and Denver was the only team we hadn’t seen in person. Individual gymnasts from non-qualifying teams were also at the regionals, and one of our favorites, Sophia Hyderally of Alaska, rotated with Boise State. Sophia competed on beam and I truly don’t understand how she didn’t score better than a 9.9!
Boise State came in second right behind Denver, securing their place in the “sweet 16” and in the regional final meet on Saturday. We had a couple of hours to kill before the evening meet and decided to eat at Block 15 Brewing in downtown Corvallis. I picked their special—a half rack of ribs—and OMG! The meat was so tender it fell off the bones. It was outstanding! We also shared a plate of fries. ;)
The evening meet consisted of No. 4 Florida, No. 15 Oregon State, Stanford, and Iowa. Three gymnasts from Utah State competed as individuals, including Madi Ward-Sessions. Madi is my favorite tumbler on floor. She is absolutely incredible to watch in person, and I loved that we were able to see her in her final meet as a senior! (Both Sophia and Madi were so close to qualifying to nationals as individuals!) I was also excited to watch Florida in person. The energy in the arena with the Oregon State fans was high, and I knew that the meet on Saturday would be intense! Florida and Oregon State advanced to day three to compete against Denver and Boise State. The top two from each regional final meet go on to compete at nationals.
Corvallis is about an hour away from the Oregon Coast, so on Saturday morning, we drove out to see the ocean! We stopped first at Nye Beach in Newport. We could tell the waves were massive, and we drove north to Yaquina Head Lighthouse (officially the Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area) to get a better view. The visitor center noted that the seas were “moderately smooth,” which means waves up to 21 feet. Pretty sure I would never want to be on the water with 21-foot waves! Haha.
We wandered down to Cobble Beach while at Yaquina Head to get up close. There were quite a few “sneaker” waves that surprised us! I loved the sound the waves made as the water rushed over the cobbles. The geology in that area is so cool! We drove farther north past Depoe Bay to the Boiler Bay Viewpoint, where the waves were crashing like crazy against the cliffsides. We got lucky with no rain at the coast but did get sprayed with saltwater at Boiler Bay.
We made one more stop on our way back to Corvallis at the Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport. It’s located close to the aquarium, and wow, what a cool place—especially if you’re into marine science! It’s perfect for kids and adults alike, and I found it to be super interesting with lots of hands-on activities.
The rain joined us again when we got back to Corvallis, just in time for a baseball game! Korri heard that the Oregon State baseball team (2018 national champions) was at home over the weekend, so we made sure to catch the second game of a doubleheader. We stayed for about an hour before the rain started absolutely pouring. We left to dry off and grab pizza before the final gymnastics meet started.
I knew the Saturday meet would be a lot of fun, but I still had a lot of nervous energy because I wanted the Broncos to do well! Florida started on beam and ended up counting a fall in their total score, so they were in 4th place after the first rotation and again after the second rotation. Even though Florida fought until the end, Oregon State was on their game and ended up upsetting Florida for the second place finish and trip to nationals! It was the only regionals with an upset, and no one in the gym world predicted that Florida, the #4 team, would not make it to nationals. I’m slightly bummed because Boise State had a chance to make their first nationals appearance, but I know they will get there someday! :)
We headed out of Corvallis very early on Sunday morning to catch an early flight out of Portland. All in all, I am so happy we decided to jump on the plane to Portland. I love when we do random trips like this, especially when they’re tied to gymnastics and the ocean! ;) We don’t have any other trips planned as of now but hopefully that’ll change soon! Who knows, maybe we’ll do something spontaneous again soon…ha!