Alex Tighe’s career at Temple almost never happened.
“Honestly, Temple was my last choice until I came out for a visit,” Tighe said. “And as soon as I did come out for a visit, the guys on the team made me feel like family and showed me a great time. I went home knowing that this is where I wanted to be, so Temple went from my last choice to my first choice.”
Since making the decision to come to Temple, Tighe has started for the Owls every year and has been a first team Academic All–American Scholar student-athlete every year.
Last year, as a junior, Tighe earned his way to the Visa U.S. Gymnastics Championships, cementing himself as one of the Top 42 gymnasts in the country.
The native of Brookfield, Wis., has carried last year’s success into this year.
On Friday, Feb. 1, at the West Point Open, Tighe helped lead No. 13 Temple to the West Point Open title with the second best high bar score among all participants at 14.550. The following day on individual event finals, Tighe won two event titles, besting out the competition in high bar with a score of 14.300 and parallel bars with a score of 14.400.
Such scores make coach Fred Turoff very glad Tighe decided to come to North Philadelphia. However, Turoff knows Tighe brings more to the men’s gymnastics team than just performance.
“The fact that he does very difficult routines certainly helps us,” Turoff said. “He is certainly a team leader in terms of performance, but he is also a team leader in terms of academics.”
Graduate student and co-captain Taylor Brana agrees with Turoff in both regards.
“[Tighe] is a huge contributor to Temple men’s gymnastics,” Brana said. “His stability on pommel horse, jam packed and difficult parallel bars, and clean and unique high bar routines, provide at least an extra three points to our team score.”
“He also performs in a very stable and confident manner, which brings a sense of confidence to our team,” Brana added.
Last year, men’s gymnastics placed as the runner-up for the National Academic Team Championship, something that was achieved through the help of Tighe.
“Aside from gymnastics, [Tighe] is very intelligent,” Brana said. “He tutors many individuals on our team on a consistent basis and he has a strong GPA that maintains our top ranking as the team with the highest cumulative GPA.”
Tighe currently maintains a 3.92 GPA, while double majoring in applied mathematics and Spanish.
Tighe attributes his work ethic to his success as one of the top gymnasts in the country.
“Well going through high school my coaches always told me that I was mostly hard work, and much less talent, and I think I agree with them,” Tighe said.
“I had to work a lot harder to get where I am, I spent a lot of extra time outside of the normal practice hours doing things that most other kids wouldn’t do, and in turn I think all of that hard work paid off and has turned into talent,” Tighe added.
Looking back on his career while at Temple, Tighe highlights the Visa U.S. Gymnastics Championships as the most memorable.
“It was definitely a learning experience for me,” Tighe said. “You’re there and essentially you are one of the Top 42 gymnasts in the country, and it was an Olympic year so it was a very difficult field, but being there and competing with guys that are on the Olympic team and have won Olympic medals, it’s something that is very humbling.”
Tighe finished the Visa U.S. Gymnastics Championships with an all-around score of 104.350, good enough for a 35th place finish amongst the best gymnasts the United States has to offer.
Samuel Matthews can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.