Gymnastics squads prepare for meets

Coming off of last week’s season high team score of 191.625, women’s gymnastics (4-18) will look to keep their momentum going forward this Saturday, as they head to Penn State University for a quad-meet with New Hampshire, University of Pennsylvania, and host Penn State for a 4 p.m. competition. Meanwhile, men’s gymnastics (10-3) will begin its spring trip this weekend. The No. 12 Owls will start their spring trip, flying to California for a Sunday meet with the Golden Bears starting at 5 p.m. before heading to Air Force next Thursday, and University of Illinois-Chicago next Sunday.

Coming off of a career day last week, senior Jean Alban will aim to keep her good form and help lead the Owls to victory this Saturday at Penn State. At last week’s quad-meet at West Virginia University, the Springfield, Mass. native posted career highs in vault, uneven bars, and in the all-around.

Women’s coach Aaron Murphy said his team is excited for this weekend’s competition.

“Our team is really looking forward to the Penn State meet with New Hampshire and

Penn,” Murphy said. “Coming off our season high at West Virginia with a 191.625, we hope to top that score on Saturday.”

Murphy has been very pleased with his team’s performance of late.

“The past couple of weeks have been a blast to watch the team grow more and more confident with their gymnastics and I feel the team is peaking at the right time,” Murphy said.

After defeating State University of New York at Brockport last week, men’s gymnastics will also look to keep their momentum going forward heading into their spring trip.

In an injury plagued season, senior Brett Statman will look to keep progressing. Statman performed well winning event titles in vault and floor exercise at SUNY Brockport, in only his second appearance for the Owls this season. Nagging back pains have kept Statman out the majority of the year.

Men’s coach Fred Turoff said his team is eager to begin their spring trip.

“We’re looking forward to our Spring Break trip,” Turoff said. “We’ll meet California-Berkeley on Sunday, so we expect good competition.”

Along with competing, Turoff said he plans to do a little sight-seeing with his team during their spring trip.

“We’ll visit San Francisco and Muir Woods in California, Garden of the Gods and Pike’s Peak in Colorado, and probably go up the Sears Tower in Chicago,” Turoff said. “It’s important to see more than a hotel room and a gym on trips when we can.”

Alban ECAC Gymnast of Week

The awards continue to keep falling Temple’s way. In six weeks of competition, Temple has had at least one gymnast recognized on the Eastern Collegiate Athletics Conference weekly honor. Senior Jean Alban is the most recent recipient of an ECAC weekly honor. The Springfield, Mass native has been named the ECAC Gymnast of the Week
for the second time this season.

At the Owls most recent meet last Sunday at West Virginia University, Alban was the main contributor to Temple’s season-high team score of 191.175. In the best performance of her collegiate career, Alban posted career high scores on vault (9.575) and uneven bars (9.675), and had her highest score of the day on balance beam (9.750). All en route to setting a career best all-around score of 38.650.

Alban and the rest of the Owls will compete this Saturday at Penn State at 4 p.m.

Men’s gymnastics defeats State University of New York

Both men’s and women’s gymnastics were in action on Sunday, March 3. The No. 12 men’s gymnastics (10-3) easily defeated State University of New York at Brockport with a final score of 394.150-258.100, taking all six event titles in the process. While women’s gymnastics (4-18) posted a season-high team score of 191.175, placing fourth behind Denver (196.800), host West Virginia (196.375) and George Washington (195.300).

Senior Brett Statman announced his presence back into the line-up. The Rye Brook N.Y. native has missed the majority of the season due to back problems but proved to still be in good form, winning the event title on both vault and floor exercise.

The freshman duo of Jon Rydzefski and Evan Eigner also had performed very well. Like Statman, Rydzefski also won multiple event titles, beating all competitors in both high bar and parallel bars, while classmate Eigner claimed the event title on rings. Senior Alex Tighe completed the sweep for the Owls, taking home the event title on pommel horse.

This was the men’s last meet before their spring trip, where the Owls will be competing across the country three times in a span of one week. They will first head to California for a 2 p.m. meet Sunday, before heading to Air Force next Thursday and then closing out their trip the following Sunday at University of Illinois-Chigaco.

Even though women’s gymnastics did finish last at West Virginia, they did set a new season high team score of 191.175 in the process.

Senior Jean Alban was the main contributor to that score for Temple. Alban posted career-highs in vault and bars, leading to her career high in the all-around as well with a score of 38.650.

Alban also tied teammate and junior team captain Heather Zaniewski for the team high score on balance beam as well. The pair both scored a 9.750 leading to the team’s overall score of 48.500 on the apparatus, which was once again the team’s highest overall event score. Zaniewski followed beam up with a new personal best on vault as well scoring a 9.675.

Next, the Owls will look to notch a couple of wins when they will head to State College, Pa. to compete in another quad-meet with host Penn State, New Hampshire and ECAC and city-rival Penn. Competition begins Saturday at 4 p.m.

Men’s and women’s gymnastics return to action

After having a week off, both men’s and women’s gymnastics will be back on the road this weekend for their respective competitions this Sunday. Men’s gymnastics (9-3) will be traveling north for a dual meet with State University of New York at Brockport. While women’s gymnastics (4-15) will be heading down south to West Virginia University for a quad-meet with Denver, George Washington and host West Virginia.

In facing tough opponents like West Virginia, George Washington and Denver, the women’s gymnastics team is not intimidated, but rather excited, to face high quality teams.

Women’s head coach Aaron Murphy said, “We will be going head to head with some pretty big programs in women’s gymnastics. West Virginia, Denver and George Washington have great teams and we have never seen Denver before, so, they will be fun to watch.”

In preparation for the meet, the Owls have been focusing on tidying up their routines to get the highest optimal score.

“We have taken the past week, along with this week, to clean up any execution errors that we have at this point to ensure that our team score will hit the 191.00 mark which we still need to do this season,” Murphy added.

Meanwhile, in facing SUNY Brockport, men’s gymnastics will be facing an opponent of lesser quality. Men’s head coach Fred Turoff plans to use this to his advantage, by providing valuable experience to gymnasts that are not in the everyday rotations.

“Since we’re meeting a team that is weak,” Turoff said. “It will give me a chance to work some guys who can’t make the primary squad.”

Turoff also explained that this Sunday’s meet is also a great opportunity to ease senior Brett Statman into the line-up. Statman has missed the majority of the season because of frequent back pain, and will look to make the best of the last meet the team has before their spring break trip, in which the team will face tough competition against California, Air-Force, and Illinois-Chicago.

For both men’s and women’s gymnastics, this Sunday’s competitions will begin at 2 p.m.

DeMeno and Kilkenny take conference honors

The Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference recognized two Temple gymnasts for their performances against Ursinus last Sunday. Junior Brittanie DeMeno was named the ECAC Gymnast of the Week, while freshman Tara Kilkenny was nabbed as the ECAC Coaches’ Choice Award winner.

DeMeno was a major contributor to Temple’s overall victory over Ursinus. The native of Staten Island N.Y., competed in all four events and was awarded an all-around score of 38.200 including a career best (9.550) on bars. Her all-around score was the best in the competition.

Kilkenny was not originally going to compete in last Sunday’s meet, that was until fellow freshman Hannah Popper dislocated her elbow in warm-ups. Coach Aaron Murphy gave Kilkenny the last-minute nod to compete on bars. In her collegiate debut, Kilkenny nailed her routine and was awarded a 9.675, the best score on the apparatus in the entire

DeMeno, Kilkenny and the rest of the Owls will prepare for their next meet, the Towson Invitational, which will be held on Sunday at 1:00 p.m.

Tighe advances to finals

Senior gymnast Alex Tighe will be advancing to the final day of
competition at the Winter Cup held in Las Vegas. The Brookfield WI.,
native placed 11th on high bar and 17th on pommel horse, good enough
to advance through the preliminary rounds of approximately 92

Although Tighe advanced, he was still not completely satisfied with his day.

“It was some good, some bad,” Tighe said. “I had a nice pommel horse
routine, it was nice and clean, not too much difficulty.”

Tighe scored a 13.600 on the apparatus, however, the routine Tighe was
most looking forward to having a good showing in was parallel bars and
that did not go well.

“Unfortunately it was a disaster, it was the event I was most hopeful
for having a good showing. I had a very difficult routine, but it just
wasn’t my day,” Tighe said.

Tighe was able to bounce back for his routine on high bar, scoring a 13.85.

“I was able to turn around quickly and get myself in a good mind frame
to do a nice high bar routine to finish off the meet,” Tighe said.

Tighe will be competing in the finals starting Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

Tighe invited to Las Vegas

Temple University will send one gymnast to Las Vegas this Thursday to
compete in the Winter Cup.

The Winter Cup is a field of the best 92 gymnast in the country.
Senior Alex Tighe is the lone recipient from Temple to receive an

Tighe looks to be able to get past the preliminaries on Thursday, and
make it to the finals on Saturday.

“The goal is to go out, hit my routines, and make the finals,” Tighe said.

The same aspirations were spoken by coach Fred Turoff.

“For the Winter Cup,” Turoff said. “I’d like [Tighe] to improve upon
his finish, and advance to the second day of competition. If he hits
his routines as he did the event finals at the West Point Open, I
think he has a good chance to do that.”

The preliminaries begin this Thursday at noon, and the finals will
begin Saturday starting at 7:30 p.m.

Alban wins ECAC honor, third straight for gymnastics

Women’s gymnastics has now had gymnasts win Eastern Collegiate
Athletic Conference awards in every week of the young season. The
latest to receive a weekly honor is senior Jean Alban, who was awarded
the ECAC Gymnast of the Week, along with University of Pennsylvania
senior Dana Bonincontri.

Alban was not even in the vault line-up for coach Aaron Murphy to
start the day during the Owls most recent meet at University of New
Hampshire last Saturday. But when teammate Natali Ruzich had to be
pulled, Alban came in as an alternate and stepped up to the challenge,
posting a score of 9.425 on the apparatus.

With the entrance into vault, Alban ended up competing in four events
for the day. Marking the first time she has done so since her freshman
year, when she was the 2010 ECAC Rookie of the Year.

After vault, Alban nailed her routine on bars scoring a 9.475. Then,
Alban’s performances on beam (9.600) and in the floor exercise (9.650)
were crucial, as they helped the Owls secure second place in both
events. She ended the day with a career-high all-around score of
38.150, good enough for second place in the competition.

Alban and the Owls will look toward their only home meet of the
season, this Saturday at the main gymnasium of Pearson-McGonigle at 1

-Samuel Matthews

Zaniewski is second Owl in two weeks to win ECAC Coach’s Choice Award

Junior Heather Zaniewski is the second gymnast in a row to win the
Eastern Collegiate Athetic Conference Coaches’ Choice Award for the Owls. The team captain followed her fellow teammate sophomore Taylor Rakus, who won the award the previous week.

In the team’s meet last Saturday at Pittsburgh, Zaniewski, competing
on the balance beam, smashed her foot during the routine. She was then
consequentially taken out of her next event (vault) because of the

Later, when Temple was in a desperate need for points, coach Aaron
Murphy sent Zaniewski out to compete in her routine on bars.

The team captain went out and nailed her routine on bars without any restraint from her nagging foot injury. She posted a team best score of 9.550 on the apparatus and was awarded with the ECAC coaches’ Choice Award for her performance through the pain.

Looking forward to the Owls’ next meet, Saturday at New Hampshire at 4
p.m., Murphy says that he expects Zaniewski to be in the lineup and
ready to compete.

-Samuel Matthews

Gymnastics travels for Saturday competition

The men’s gymnastics team starts its season Saturday in Annapolis, Md. at the Navy Open at 2 p.m. Temple will compete against Springfield, Penn State, William & Mary and hosting Navy.

Temple looks to continue off of last season’s success in which the squad finished first in the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference and 10th in the NCAA national rankings, as well as sending five gymnasts to the NCAA Nationals, including returning seniors Allan Malone and Alex Tighe.

This Saturday marks the 37th season that Philadelphia native, and American gymnastics legend Fred Turoff, will be the head coach of the men’s program. The Temple and USA Gymnastics Hall of Famer will look to lead the Owls to repeat as ECAC champions, making it Turoff’s 18th conference title in his tenure.

The women’s gymnastics team will journey to Pittsburgh Saturday for a tri-meet against Maryland, New Hampshire and hosting Pittsburgh, starting at 7 p.m.

Sophomore Taylor Rakus looks to stay in good form after an impressive display at George Washington last week. Rakus, competing for the first time since tearing an anterior cruciate ligament during her senior year of high school, aced her beam routine gathering a score of 9.600 in her first collegiate event, earning her the week’s Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference Coaches’ Choice Award.

“We took this past week to work on our problem areas from the first meet at George Washington and are looking to go into this competition and be as confident and consistent as possible,” coach Aaron Murphy said about the upcoming meet. “The goal is to not count any falls to the team score at the end of the day.”

Sam Matthews