Men’s gymnastics finishes 12th at NCAAs

Temple was the 12th and final team to make the NCAAs, and that is where they placed last Friday.

The Temple men’s gymnastics team entered the NCAA Championships as the 12th and last team to make the field, and that is exactly where the Owls finished. They were eliminated from competition last Friday after failing to place in the Top 3 in their group’s qualifying round.

“It was a little disappointing,” redshirt senior Scott Bloomfield said. “We really thought that we would perform better. We are better than we showed this weekend. It’s not how we wanted to end our season.”

Despite a solid season, the Owls had aspirations for better. The team said it had hoped to finish among the Top 8 teams at the NCAAs.

“We need everyone to do their part. We need to look at what we didn’t do well and make sure that we improve for next year,” fellow redshirt senior Jesse Kitzen-Abelson said.

“We really need to get better at the pommels, the parallel bars and the rings for next year,” Kitzen-Abelson added. “All of those spots held us back this year, and we really need to improve for next year.”

The offseason may begin as early as this week for the majority of the team.

“We will begin training for next season on Tuesday,” Bloomfield said. “We need to improve for next year. No excuses will be acceptable. We have to make this happen.”

Coach Fred Turoff said that he believes his veteran team can make another run in the NCAAs next year, as his returning student-athletes know what to expect in conference competition and can effectively balance schoolwork with athletics.

“Our most important goal is that we win the conference,” Turoff said. “If we do that, then we will almost definitely take care of our NCAA goals.

“Nineteen of our 22 student-athletes have a GPA over 3.0, and they know how to balance the two,” Turoff added. “They know that our conference is tough, but we have almost everyone back, and we will be strong and poised to make a very strong run next season.”

Bloomfield and Kitzen-Abelson will bring their leadership and veteran presence back to the Owls next year, as they will return as fifth-year seniors.

“Having everyone back will be a big key,” Turoff said. “We have a very cohesive unit right now, and we need to build on what we have right now.”

The University of Michigan ended up edging out last year’s NCAA Champion, Stanford, by a score of 360.5 -359.8 to claim this year’s men’s gymnastics NCAA title. The win for Michigan avenges its second-place finish behind Stanford last year.

The Owls will return to action in January 2011.

Ryan Rosengrant can be reached at ryan.rosengrant@temple.edu.

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