Churchill grad earns Pac-12 gymnast of the year honors, heads to NCAA finals with Beavers
CORVALLIS, Ore. - A huddle and a cheer start off Oregon State gymnastics practices.
But the cheering just continues.
And one of the loudest voices that can be heard is senior Kaytianna McMillan.
"We're just singing, we have music, we're just a very vocal team," she explained.
For the Coburg native who graduated from Eugene's Churchill High School, this marks the end of her journey at Oregon State.
On Friday, Kaytianna competes in her final collegiate meet as a Beaver: the NCAA national championships in St. Louis, Missouri.
"I'm so excited," she said Tuesday. "You have a bit of nerves, but it's really just a celebration of everything we've been through this season."
It's been a long road to get to this point.
Before college, Kaytianna trained for years at the National Academy of Gymnastics in Eugene.
She won the junior national all around title while in high school.
That requires dedication.
"On days she wasn't doing gymnastics," her mother Jill said, "she was doing it in the living room."
Kaytianna showed all the signs of being a great gymnast early on.
"When she was a little kid, she was totally fearless," her mother said.
Kaytianna love of the sport took her to Oregon State, her mother said.
For her first three years, she was dogged by injuries.
Head coach Tanya Chapil said Kaytianna never gave up.
"She is someone who always took a positive outlook to adversity that was thrown her way and she worked through it," the coach said. "I'm so proud and happy for her that she's had a season like this."
Kaytianna was recently named Pac-12 Gymnast of the Year.
And she scored her first perfect 10 this season on the bars in front of a home crowd at Gill Coliseum.
"For her to get that perfect 10 was just again more icing on the cake," her mom said, "and I feel like she's had a lot of icing this year."