After the university announced on April 30, 2015, that Umme Salim-Beasley would be the next head coach of the women’s gymnastics team, the 2014 East Atlantic Gymnastics League assistant coach of the year set goals for her new team to reach.
As her first season as head coach winds down, Salim-Beasley feels her team has reached most, if not all of the expectations set before it—being competitive with each team on the Owls’ schedule and having a competition where the team did not have to count a fall deduction toward its score.
“We’ve really tried to work on the little things, the little things being landing deductions and form issues,” Salim-Beasley said. “Of course, in competitions, falls are what cause deductions. The little things like steps on landings are the things we’ve really been able to fine tune.”
The Owls hosted their second home meet of the season on March 5, which was also senior day. Temple welcomed the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Bridgeport to McGonigle Hall for the tri-meet.
Senior Reagan Oliveri earned first place for her all-around score of 38.2.
“I think the performance [against Penn and Bridgeport] was our best performance,” Salim-Beasley said. “We definitely fell beneath the expectation of what we thought we could do on bars and beam, our concentration level just was not where it needed to be. But overall it was nice having the opportunity to compete at home for the second time.”
Temple competed at Ithaca College on Feb. 28, earning a first place finish among five teams with a score of 191.15.
Junior Briana Odom scored a 9.75 and 9.675 on her floor and vault routines, respectively.
“I know a lot of us were feeling tired and a little worn out, but I think that we put out really, really great routines,” Odom said. “We did a really good job of staying in our bubble [at Ithaca]. At [The Pink Invitational] we were getting distracted watching other teams and their routines, but I think at Ithaca we did a good job of just staying with ourselves and focusing on our gymnastics.”
The Owls’ final competition before the Eastern College Athletic Conference championships was held at Brown University, where the team finished in third place out of four teams at the meet.
The ECAC championships entail one meet between each team in the Owls’ conference—Brown University, College of William & Mary, Cornell University, Yale University and the University of Pennsylvania.
“I am very intrigued, just seeing what scores other teams in our conference put up and knowing our ability and what we can do, I think it is going to be whichever team is most focused and determined,” Odom said. “I think at this point we can be that, but it’s anybody’s game.”
Last season the Owls finished in fifth place at the event, held in New Haven, Connecticut. The team logged a 192.075 to finish ahead of Cornell, which scored a 191.225.
In 2014, Temple’s McGonigle Hall was the host of the championships and the Owls finished third out of six teams with a score of 191.775.
Oliveri said being a senior raises her and her teammates’ motivation to do well in the Owls’ last few meets.
“It would kind of just be a perfect ending to the four years for us to go out and have a really good championship meet,” Oliveri said. “I think for me, I always like going up against William & Mary. I know some of the girls on that team. I also like going up against [the University of Pennsylvania]. I get to see my friends, and they’re just teams I like going up against.”
Dan Newhart can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @danny_newhart.