‘Having a good time’: Energetic duo reunites at Temple

Coach Josh Nilson originally recruited Jazmyn Estrella and Faith Leary to Utah State University.

Junior Faith Leary (left) transferred from Utah State to Temple before the 2020 season, and senior Jazmyn Estrella transferred from Utah State to Temple before the 2019 season. | (LEFT) SCOTT SASSAMAN / COURTESY (RIGHT) MICHAEL WADE / COURTESY INGRID SLATER / PHOTO ILLUSTRATION

Temple gymnastics coach Josh Nilson was trying to pay attention to a floor exercise at practice. 

Then something caught his attention. Senior Jazmyn Estrella and junior Faith Leary were dancing together in the corner of the gym. 

“There could be a TV show of [Estrella] and [Leary], and I’m pretty sure everyone would watch it,” Nilson said. “You just walk in, you look at them and you think, ‘What are those two doing, and what is that dance move.’”

As an assistant coach, Nilson recruited both athletes to Utah State University before he left to take over Temple’s program in 2018. He was excited when his recruits entered the transfer portal. 

“There is not a single member of the team that doesn’t like them,” Nilson said. “They are there for their entire team. They are always dancing around and having a good time, everyone loves them.” 

Estrella and Leary are close friends, which dates back to their time as teammates at Utah State in 2018. Now teammates again at Temple, they are excited to compete on the same floor once more.  

Estrella transferred to Temple from Utah State before the 2019 season and competed in 12 of Temple’s 13 meets. She made Division 1 All-Eastern College Athletic Conference First Team for vault and bars. She also made the ECAC Second Team for beam. 

Estrella was a part of the beam lineup that set a program record with a combined score of 49.225, which helped the Owls bring home the ECAC Championship in 2019. Estrella set the team’s highest score on the bars when she scored 9.875 in March 2019.  

Leary transferred to Temple before this season. 

She left Utah State with many accomplishments, including the school’s eighth-highest vault score of all time. She also tied for seventh all-time with a single-season floor average of 9.844 in 2018. 

In 2019, Leary competed in seven meets as a floor specialist for the Aggies. She finished tied for 16th place with a score of 9.750. Her personal best as a floor specialist is a 9.9, which she scored in February 2018. Leary recorded her personal best vaulting score in March 2018 when she scored a 9.9. 

“[Leary] will bring power with tumbling and vaulting,” Estrella said. “She will bring a lot of energy.”

Estrella remembered when Leary stuck a vault as a freshman at Utah State. Landing that vault was a special moment and Estrella embraced her right after with a huge hug. It’s a moment she’ll never forget, Leary added.

“She’s a leader, and she puts herself on the line every single time, whether she’s in pain or anything like that,” Leary said. “She wants to see the team prosper.”

Estrella supported Leary when she was making her decision to transfer to Temple, Estrella said.

“She talked to me a lot when she was deciding where to transfer, and I told her how much I loved it here,” Estrella said. “I think I did have a little bit of an influence on her.”

It was comfortable knowing Estrella went to Temple when she made her decision, Leary added.

“You get a family thing with this sport, and we all know how hard it is and it’s something we bond over,” Leary said.

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