They twist, turn and flip through the air with amazing grace. They use strength, flexibility and will to conquer various apparatuses that stand in their way. The sport revolves around a team concept that depends upon the performance of each individual on their particular event.
The sport is women’s gymnastics, and Temple’s team is one to be reckoned with. The year 2002 has been a special one for this overlooked Temple University team. Paige Ozaroski, a sophomore standout on the all-around competition, calls this season, “Temple’s best ever.”
The Feb. 26 dual meet at UMass epitomized the Temple’s season. The Owl’s beat UMass for the first time since 1992 and set three records in the process. The Owls broke the team (192.100), team bar (48.100), and individual bar records (Ozaroski-9.850).
“The UMass win was a step in the right direction for the program,” head coach Ken Anderson said.
The team’s success this year can be attributed to a few key components. Ozaroski said the teams’ greatest strength is depth.
“We have depth at every event,” she said. “This team has more depth than past teams.”
Anderson attributes the success to depth, some surprising freshman and a strong returning nucleus.
“Injuries and a lack of depth killed us last year. We lost only two seniors and we have three freshmen that have been even a bigger help than I expected,” he said.
“We improved our weakness on the vault and bars, breaking school records in those events. Also, our beam and floor have continued to stay strong,” Anderson said.
With the Atlantic 10 championships on March 23 the Owls have high aspirations.
“We would like to finish higher in the A-10. We are also a long shot for the regional tournament as a team,” Anderson said. “This is one of the first times some individuals have a chance in qualifying for regionals.”
The Temple women’s gymnastics team is catching the Atlantic 10 by storm this year and needs the support of their fellow students.
Ozaroski put it this way: “You can go see your basketball, football and baseball but there is another sport out there with something different to offer. It showcases the individual talent of some amazing athletes. Come out and see one of our meets just once and you’ll be hooked.”