Gymnastics place third and fourth in weekend competition

The men’s gymnastics team got its 2013 season underway on Saturday with a third-place finish at the Navy Open with an overall team score of 407.05, while the women’s team placed fourth out of four in Pittsburgh.

On finishing third, coach Fred Turoff was not overly pleased with the results.

“The team did not perform optimally,” Turoff said. “There were many errors, some quite unexpected and that did cost us a good bit of points.”

Despite the fourth-place result, coach Aaron Murphy was very happy with his team’s performance.

“I was very, very pleased,” Murphy said. “Our score of 190.00 actually ended up being three points higher than our last meet at George Washington. I was very very happy with our performance.”

Turoff suspects that a case of the butterflies might have had an effect on his team, however Saturday’s results did not concern Turoff moving forward.

“That was the first meet so a lot of guys were nervous,” Turoff said. “I think many of the unexpected errors are correctable, and I think that we are going to have a nice season.”

“We look forward to building off what we did today next weekend,” Turoff added. “We also look forward to improving on the unexpected errors we made today.”

Murphy singled out the balance beam lineup as once again being stellar for the Owls. Leading the way was sophomore Taylor Rakus, who followed her last week’s score of 9.60 in her first competitive event since tearing her ACL her senior year in high school, with an even more impressive score of 9.65, a new career high.

Junior and team captain Heather Zaniewski injured her foot on routine on the beam and was forced to pull out of the vault event. She saw the doctors at Pittsburgh, and they believed the foot would bruise up but be nothing serious. Murphy believes that the injury will not cause her to miss any time and she should be ready for the team’s next meet.

Turoff singled out junior Brendan Williams and freshman Jon Rydzefski as having an impressive meet to start off this year’s season.

“Brendan Williams had himself a fine day,” Turoff said. “He worked three events and did not have any major errors in any of those events which was very nice.”

Williams’ most significant contribution came on pommel where he scored 13.70 which added to the Owls’ overall score 65.40, good enough for a team third-place finish on the event.

While competing in his first ever collegiate event, Rydzefski scored a 14.05 on horizontal bars, 13.30 on the still rings and a 13.25 on pommel.

“He had a very nice day, his first meet ever for Temple and he got through all of his routines,” Turoff said.

Senior Brett Statman was taken out of the meet after his first event because of stabbing pains in his back. The injury was bothering Statman throughout the week in training and seared up in competition. Turoff said that he plans to take it easy with Statman this upcoming week in practice, and get him checked out by the trainers. He also added that he hopes the injury is just a strain.

The men’s team will look toward its next meet when it goes to Springfield next Sunday for a 1 p.m. competition. The women will journey to New Hampshire for the team’s next Saturday at 4 p.m.

Samuel Matthews can be reached at samuel.matthews@temple.edu.

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