When freshman all-around gymnast Daisy Todd approached the bars at the NCAA regional meet on Saturday in Morgantown, West Virginia, she knew this meet was already different than any other she had experienced in her first season at Temple.
“I felt pressure especially because there was a lot of press and people around the event,” Todd said. “They knew I was going to be there to do one event, so there was definitely pressure to do well.”
While many programs sent their entire teams, Temple’s only gymnasts were Todd and sophomore all-around Aya Mahgoub, who was a vault alternate.
Todd became the first Temple gymnast to compete at the regional meet since 2009 and only the eighth in program history.
“It was different, because I had two coaches and a trainer, basically there just for me,” Todd said. “While that is nice, I definitely missed my teammates, especially because most of the other girls at the meet were with their teams.”
Todd’s score of 9.8 gave was her seventh score of at least 9.8 on bars this season, which tied the program’s individual all-time record.
Todd became second-year coach Salim-Beasley’s first gymnast to compete at regionals.
“It’s always very exciting when you can see the development and the growth of a program,” Salim-Beasley said. “Daisy being able to advance on to regionals as a freshman is extremely impressive, and having stellar seasons as a rookie is not something you see very often.”
Yet, less than a year ago, it was uncertain whether Todd would even compete in her freshman season. She sustained an injury during her junior year of high school that continued to affect her as a senior and made her status questionable in the fall.
Todd competed at every single event as an all-around gymnast and brought home three individual event titles, two of which on bars.
She earned three Eastern College Athletic Conference Rookie of the Week Awards, one ECAC Gymnast of the Week Award and finished second in the all-around at the conference championship meet. Her all-around score of 39.025 at the conference meet is third-highest in program history.
“My confidence has been boosted a lot throughout the season,” Todd said. “At first I was a little apprehensive, but as the season progressed, I learned just how fun it is to be a part of this team.”
Todd earned ECAC Co-Rookie of the Year honors, becoming the first Owl since the 2009-10 season to do so.
Todd helped Temple break its all-around program record six times and earn its first score higher than 194.
“I am so excited for what is to come in the next three years,” Todd said.
Varun Sivakumar can be reached at email@example.com. Follow The Temple News @TheTempleNews and @TTN_Sports.