Gymnasts come up short in NCAA qualifier

Three gymnasts from the men’s gymnastics team competed at Michigan University on Thursday in the NCAA national qualifying competition.

Jon Rydzefski and Jakob Welsh competed in the all-around, while Evan Eigner participated on the still rings.

Coach Fred Turoff said Rydzefski missed two out of his six routines, while Welsh missed three routines.  This cost both gymnasts as they scored a 78.950 and 78.050, which put them in eighth and ninth place out of nine competitors in the all-around.

Turoff’s son, Eigner, couldn’t crack 14 in his rings routine, earning a 13.900.  It was his second lowest score of the season – the only one lower was back in the first week of the season at the West Point Open on Jan. 17, when he scored a 13.800.

Aside from nerves of competing at the biggest competition of the season, there was a specific reason Turoff pointed to when looking at his gymnasts’ drops in scores.

“When you get to the national championship, [the judges] know that the best people are here,” Turoff said.  “So they certainly are stricter on scoring…They have to, because you have to separate the guys who are good from the guys that are great.”

The national qualifier was the last week of competition for Temple at the Division I level. Last December, the university voted to cut the team. The program is slated to lose its varsity status on July 1. Turoff said he was very pleased with one week in particular this season.

“I think the biggest thing was when we got to our conference championship,” Turoff said.  “Any time you have less than four or five falls, you have a good week, and to have only one fall at the conference championship, that’s a tremendous accomplishment.”

Steve Bohnel can be reached at steven.bohnel@temple.edu or on Twitter @SteveSportsGuy1.

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