Graduate all-around gymnast broke a 15-year school record.
“Finally” was what coach Aaron Murphy said when describing graduate student Katie Canning’s performance in the Eastern College Athletic Conference Championship Saturday, March 24 at the Palestra.
Canning led the Owls to a third place finish in the event, in which the team posted a score of 192.450. With an all-around score of 39.200, Canning shattered a 15-year Temple record, something she has been working toward since the start of her collegiate career. She also claimed first at the meet in the all-around competition.
The record, previously set at 39.025 by Adrienne Carver in 1997, had been on Canning’s radar since she was a freshman at Temple. Despite the record being a respectable score, Murphy acknowledged that Canning had the capability all along.
“It’s been possible for a long time,” Murphy said. “It has just taken her now five years to do it. That is just one of those all-arounds that has stood for a while.”
The closest that Canning previously came to the record occurred three years ago as a sophomore when she posted a score of 38.95. The career mark for Canning gave her a glimpse of the record.
“My sophomore year I realized that I could [break the record],” Canning said. “But I really did not think I could do it.”
Canning, now in her fifth season with the team after redshirting her senior season due to injury, has been an integral part of the gymnastics program during her career.
“The career itself, if she didn’t break it, would still be a phenomenal career,” Murphy said. “I don’t believe it could have worked out better for her.”
With very few meets actually taking place close to home, there are rarely huge crowds supporting any one team. Canning’s ability to break the record in front of a home crowd as well as her parents had an impact on her.
“It is a huge thank you,” Canning said. “This is my last ECAC event. It really justifies that they paid so much money for me to do something and I did well.”
The Owls stood high in the leaderboard for the entirety of the championship. Entering their final event on the balance beam, Temple was in a prime position to finish in the Top 2 of the ECAC Championship. However, the Owls only managed to post a score of 47.125, the lowest on the day for the team and the lowest score out of all seven teams in the event.
“I was hoping we would fall in the Top 3,” senior Kaity Watson said. “I honestly thought if we had our best performance we could get second. It was disappointing. People split the beam, you can’t plan on that. It’s not their fault it just kind of happens.”
With the University of Pennsylvania winning the event by posting a score of 194.400, every fraction of a point is crucial, especially in an event of this caliber.
“Every time I come to this meet it comes down to the nitty-gritty,” Murphy said. “It is going to be that one-10th or two-10th that separates these teams. Right after [uneven parallel] bars was over I was able to glance up at the scoreboard and saw that we were a couple tenths from first place.”
Three of the six gymnasts fell in their beam event. Murphy wasn’t sure if nerves or any other factor had an impact on their performance.
“Honestly I don’t know what was going through their heads,” Murphy said. “At this stage in the game in the season they should be able to handle pressure, I don’t know what happened.”
Canning, who had a career performance, wrote her name into the record-books. As Canning discovered on Monday, March 26 that she will be an alternate for the regional competition held on April 7 in Raleigh, N.C. The team will compete for its final time together on April 12 at the USA Gymnastics Championships in Bridgeport, Conn.
Ibrahim Jacobs can be reached at email@example.com.