Temple entered its final meet of the season, the Eastern College Athletic Conference Division I Women’s Gymnastics Championship, on a streak of three meets with team scores of 195 or higher.
The Owls (18-17) looked to top their mark of 193.675 at the 2017 ECAC meet, which ranks as their best performance in program history.
Instead, they fell short and posted a 192.675 at the ECAC championships to place last out of six teams at The Palestra on March 24.
“We definitely pioneered this year and built off of what we had with our record-breaking year last season,” coach Umme Salim-Beasley said. “But of course, we were hoping that our outcome at our conference championship would’ve been better than it was. But really this is the most consistent year that I’ve ever had as a coach.”
Coming off the 2017 season, in which Temple broke its team score record six times, the Owls thrived during the peak of their season. The only regular-season meet when the team failed to achieve a score of 193 or higher was on Jan. 14.
For her team’s regular-season success, Salim-Beasley received the 2018 ECAC Coach of the Year award.
The Owls achieved their highest team score in program history during the second meet of their streak of 195-plus scores. They had a record-breaking performance on senior night on March 11, notching their first score of 196 or higher in program history and setting a record of 49.300 on the floor exercise at McGonigle Hall.
“There’s always a high going into that meet,” Salim-Beasley said. “The team really wants to have a standout performance for its seniors being able to compete for the last time at home. So for us, that was probably the most exciting because we broke the team school record for the second time in one weekend.”
Sophomore all-around Jaylene Everett had one of the key performances during the Owls’ record-setting senior night. She became the first Temple gymnast to score 9.925 on the floor exercise since 2002.
Freshman Tori Edwards set a career-high in the all-around, senior all-around Sahara Gipson tied her career-best score on the vault and sophomore all-around Daisy Todd had a season-high on the bar.
The four gymnasts also had strong performances at the ECAC championship. Everett, Todd, Gipson and Edwards helped the Owls record a vault score of 48.90, which is the team’s all-time highest score at the ECAC championship.
Todd became Temple’s first ECAC vault champion with a score of 9.825. Gipson recorded a 9.80 to tie for second. Everett and Edwards each tied for fifth on vault with scores of 9.775.
“I think the team definitely worked on consistency, and that was one of our strengths,” Gipson said. “Although we have some ups and downs, I think to pull through and finish the meets was really important. We had a lot of depth this season that definitely helped a lot.”
Gipson and Everett qualified for NCAA regionals as vault competitors. It marks the first time Temple will send two specialists to the meet. Salim-Beasley said Gipson and Everett will need to perform “flawless vaults” on Saturday at Penn State.
The winner of the vault competition will advance to the Division I semifinal competition in St. Louis on April 20. Edwards was also selected for regionals as the alternate for the floor competition.
Temple nearly doubled its number of individual event scores of 9.8 or higher from 36 in 2017 to 68 this year.
“I think we were all extremely excited for her,” Todd said. “Umme has done so much for this program, and she has really made a huge impact on the program and the future of the program and I think we’re all thankful to have her as a coach.”