Temple’s women’s gymnastics team exceeded expectations this year.
And this past weekend they capped an impressive season with a fourth place finish at the 2003 USA Gymnastics (USAG) Collegiate National Championships in Denton, Texas.
Heading into the USAG Championships the Owls were considered strong but not exactly a juggernaut.
After advancing to the Final Four with three Owls earning All-American honors, you can be sure everyone at the tournament will remember their efforts.
Texas Women’s University captured its seventh team title with a score of 195.6, a new meet record.
Air Force finished second, Seattle-Pacific placed third, and the Owls rounded out the final team standings with a score of 191.9.
Coach Ken Anderson was extremely proud the team made it to the final round of competition, where the team drew applause from most spectators, a majority of whom were supporters for the champion Pioneers.
“If they weren’t for Texas, they were rooting really hard for us,” Anderson said. “We came in knowing we were an underdog.
They weren’t about to give up. The determination and spirit is very high with this team.”
With a deep, talented roster, Anderson expected the team would break a few records throughout the season.
The Owls waited for their biggest stage and broke three team records, adding to the euphoria of a successful weekend.
Temple broke records in overall score, floor exercise with a 49.0 (the previous was 48.975) and the uneven bars (49.05), which they had broken the day before.
“We kept coming close all year long and it turned out they started breaking records during the championships,” Anderson said.
The Owls struggled with the balance beam, but did not lose composure, following it up with a record-breaking performance on the uneven bars.
Anderson said the three seniors – Cicely Warrington, Andrea McGary, and Brynne Hillman – kept the team together with their leadership, enabling the ladies to set the new school marks.
Earning All-America honors were the top eight performers in each event. Paige Ozaroski, Cicley Warrington, and Erin Davis represented the Owls on the All-American teams.
Ozaroski finished third on the uneven bars and fourth on the balance beam, doubling up as an All-American.
Erin Davis tied for eighth on the beam and Warrington placed second on the floor exercise with the highest finish of any individual Owl.
Adding to the list of accolades, four Owls also walked away with academic All-America honors, including Ozaroski, Jen Beaver, Hillman and Andrea McGary.
To cap off the weekend, McGary took home the Mari-Rae Soper Award, given to the gymnast who displays unparalleled passion and devotion during the meet.
For Anderson, the recognition was sweet.
“We were ecstatic,” he said. “It was a great weekend, the kind that showed people that Temple is strong.”
With only three seniors graduating, the Owls appear to be a very deep team, making the future bright.
However, Anderson and his team are not through savoring their wonderful weekend in Texas.
“I’m flying on cloud nine right now,” he said
Jason Haslam can be reached at email@example.com.