Beam line-up leads Temple to victory

The woman’s gymnastics team finds success on beam.

To the average individual, a four-inch-wide balance beam looks too thin to even walk upon, let alone attempt gravity-defying routines on. But to the women’s gymnastics balance beam line-up, the beam might as well be as wide as Broad Street is long.

The balance beam event has been Temple’s strongest event all season long, and the Owls continued their success on Sunday, Feb. 10, in dual-meet at Ursinus. With the Owl’s highest overall event score (48.650), the beam line-up lead Temple to victory, besting Ursinus with a final score of 190.675 to 186.975.

Those responsible for anchoring Temple’s beam line-up are senior Jean Alban, junior Sylvie Borschel, sophomores Alexis Arena and Taylor Rakus, junior Brittanie DeMeno and team captain junior Heather Zaniewski.

Regarding the beam line-up’s team-leading score on Sunday, Zaniewski was very pleased.

“It was awesome,” Zaniewski said. “We were really behind each other, and when you are competing you really need to hit [the routine] and that’s what we did.”

The beam line-up has been hitting their routines all season long, being Temple’s highest scoring event in four out of five meets this season.

“[Balance beam] has definitely been our best event,” coach Aaron Murphy said. “I think straight from our first competition at George Washington that it has been our strong hold for our team. They have been doing a tremendous job on that event and I’m very proud of them.”

“To us it’s almost just like getting up there and going on automatic pilot,” Zaniewski said. “We know we need to hit, and we know we’ve all been hitting in practice day in and day out.”

Zaniewski earned a score of 9.700 on the apparatus last Sunday, tying her with teammate Arena for fifth highest for the competition.

Borschel said she believes the chemistry of the line-up has a lot to do with the success the Owls have had on the balance beam this year.

“I think that we work really well together,” Borschel said. “I think we can always balance off of each other, and I think that the more we compete together the better it gets, and it’s nice that we’re hitting so well.”

The lone senior on the apparatus, Alban credits the mental stability of the line-up for its success.

“I think that as a team we mentally prepare ourselves in practice, and I think that definitely reflects our meet outcomes,” Alban said. “I think that we are pretty consistent as a team.”

Borschel and Alban, along with teammate Rakus, all tied for second on beam last Sunday with a score of 9.750, behind only Ursinus’ Kristin Aichele’s career best score of 9.850.

Even though the beam line-up has been performing, as Murphy said “tremendously,” the participants still believe that there is room for improvement.

“Every week I think we’ve gotten a little bit better, and then a little bit better, but there is still room for improvement,” Zaniewski said. “We need to fix the little things, but I think we can easily fix the little boo boo’s here and there, and then from there it’ll be awesome.”

“I still think that we can only get better from here,” Alban said. “It’s just the little details that we have to fix, but we are pretty consistent and I feel like that is going to stay the same.”

Someone who will be very happy for the continued consistency of the beam line-up is Murphy, he said.

“We hope that beam stays [consistent],”Murphy said. “We want to make sure that [beam] stays going as well as it should be, and also the other events kind of [have] to pick up what beam is doing.”

The beam line-up will look to continue their success next Sunday at the Towson Invite, at 1 p.m.

Samuel Matthews can be reached at

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