On Saturday, the club men’s gymnastic facility in McGonigle Hall 143 was vandalized.
Executive Director of Campus Safety Services Charlie Leone said five juveniles, one of which has been identified as a 14-year-old boy, broke into the facility through an exit door that was not properly shut.
The five boys broke four mirrors and a flat-screen TV mounted on the wall, coach Fred Turoff said. Betadine was also poured on the floor routine area, which left a stain, he added.
“It was kind of a slap in the face,” senior co-captain Grady Cooper said. “I’ve been telling the guys to not stress. We can’t control this.”
Leone said the juveniles, who could be charged with felony burglary, “just went into the unlocked rooms they found” and there are no exact calculations on the vandalism, but he estimated the damages were around $5,000.
“It seemed kind of ridiculous they would come in,” senior and club president Jordan Motter said. “They didn’t steal anything, I don’t think, so it seems pointless, really. I’m upset about it because this is our area.”
The team learned of the damage on Monday, when a member of the co-ed club team texted Cooper, who forwarded the message to the team’s group chat.
Turoff said he learned about the vandalism after he received an email from Sean Conran, the facility manager in the College of Public Health, asking him about the damage. He then arrived on campus at 3 p.m. and began cleaning with his team.
“I went to see after one of my classes and it was a little bit exaggerated … We are just happy none of our equipment is damaged,” Cooper
On Jan. 8, the team returned to its facility after being unable to practice in room 144 since Dec. 11, 2015 because of the university’s academic calendar and renovations.
The gymnastic equipment in McGonigle Hall 144 was moved to room 143 over winter break, forcing the team to practice at Upper Merion Dance & Gymnastics Center, LLC.
“Training at another gym is not like training in your own gym,” Turoff said. “We had to travel there and back. It just one of those adversities you have to deal with.”
The team has its first meet of the season on Friday at the West Point Gymnastics Open at the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York.
The Owls, who are in the National Association of Intercollegiate Gymnastics Clubs, will face Penn State, Navy, Army and the College of William and Mary, who are all Division I-affiliated.
“Coming from when I was a Division-I athlete, and how we prepped for that, we are not ready at all,” junior Misha Kustin said. “The whole messing of the gym isn’t a factor.”
Michael Guise and Julie Christie can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @TheTempleNews.