Last season, the women’s gymnastics team finished with a 10-24 overall record and a fifth place finish in the Atlantic Ten Conference. Now, in his third season as coach, Aaron Murphy looks to improve those marks.
“My expectations are high,” Murphy said. “With this good start the team can realize that they can go pretty far this year.”
Murphy’s expectations are high for the season because he said he can achieve the goals set out for the team.
And one of those goals is a top three finish in the conference, he said.
“Along with a top three finish, [another goal] is a postseason competition in the USAG Nationals,” Murphy said. “Not for us to only qualify but to also advance to team finals, which we haven’t done in three or four years.”
Senior co-captain Winter Sneed said she believes the Owls can achieve the goals her team has set.
“If we can show stronger routines and performances and [receive] higher scores as a team, I think we can do really well and place higher,” Sneed said. “We have a lot of potential as a team.”
One intangible that will also contribute to the Owls’ success will be the new additions to the roster, whom Murphy claims have helped focus the rest of the team.
“A big improvement is the freshmen we brought in from September. When they were brought in, the rest of the team saw their skill level, and the upperclassmen knew their skill level had to go up, too,” he said. “It’s been a positive thing because they have all been pushing each other to become better and better.”
The Owls will need that kind of in-house competition as they prepare to battle with big-time programs like West Virginia and Maryland this season.
“They are huge team[s], and they are known for their high scores, [they] are going to be tough,” Murphy said. “That pushes these girls to do much better.”
No matter whom the Owls play or who is performing for them, for all the team’s expectations and goals to come together, the upperclassmen will need to properly lead.
“They have the experience,” he said. “They’ve been here before, and they’ve been here longer. They know the stresses of the season and how grueling it can be. If they let the underclassmen know that if they stay consistent you will get to the end of the season [then] when the freshmen and sophomores take that advice, that whole team is going to carry out through the rest of the year.”
The Other Side
While the women look to improve from last year, the men’s gymnastics team looks to stay on top.
The Owls, who are in search of their third consecutive Eastern College Athletic Conference Championship, won the title last year by the slim margin of one-tenth of a point.
“I think we will have a winning season,” said coach Fred Turoff, who is entering his 32nd season at Temple. “I believe we have a good chance at defending our conference championship.”
To help defend the ECAC title, the Owls will look toward their incoming class of freshmen and several players returning from injury.
“I am hoping that the score from the first and second place guy isn’t too far from the score of the fourth and fifth guy,” Turoff said. “In case of any problems, we have a score that can fill in.”
As for winning a third straight championship, Turoff said jokingly that he would like to win by more than one-tenth of a point this time.
Nick Hollenstein can be reached at email@example.com.