Mid-January win boosts Owls

The Owls finished second in Saturday’s quad meet at West Chester University.

Kayla Kennedy launches into her dismount off the beam at practice on Wed. Jan. 27. | ZACH FISCHER

Following an 0-2 start, the Owls faced a near 300-mile trip to Williamsburg, Virginia to face the reigning Eastern College Athletic Conference champions, William & Mary College.

The last time the teams faced off on March 16, 2014, the Tribe defeated the Owls 193.375-189.525. Temple hadn’t defeated William & Mary since the 2012 season.

Shortly before the meet started, sophomore Kerry Arone dislocated her thumb in an exhibition session and was unable to compete.

Arone has competed in all four events, served as the anchor on bars and has a season-high all-around score of 37.45 earned Jan. 3 against Central Michigan University.

Despite the challenges, the Owls earned their first victory of the season, defeating the Tribe 190.15-190.05.

“Beating William & Mary was a really big victory for us,” said freshman Breahna Wiczkowski, who scored a 9.65 on beam versus William & Mary. “It felt really, really good. Kerry got hurt during warmups, and bars was our first event, so it shook us up a little bit. We were really able to pull through that and the team was able to regroup after what happened.”

On Friday, the Owls finished second at the West Chester quad meet, defeating Ursinus College and Centenary College.

The Owls finished with their highest team score this season, 191.375, on Jan. 17 at the Lindsey Ferris Invitational.

Briana Odom, Danielle Vahala, and Reagan Oliveri perform on beam at practice Jan 27. | ZACH FISCHER TTN
Briana Odom, Danielle Vahala, and Reagan Oliveri perform on beam at practice Jan 27. | ZACH FISCHER TTN

The team took third place, finishing behind George Washington University, ranked No. 11 in the Jan. 26 GymInfo NCAA gymnastics poll, and Cornell University, which finished with a score of 194.025.

“The confidence really shows through the energy the team has,” Wiczkowski said. “Our meet [at George Washington] the energy was through the roof. Everyone was cheering, we had our whole team there, we were loud and energetic. Once you have the energy of your teammates behind you it makes your skill so much easier to do.”

Before the team’s victory against the Tribe, the Owls fell to Kent State University on Jan. 10.

The bar team led Temple in scoring against the Golden Flashes, finishing with a total score of 47.45.

Arone and junior all-around Briana Odom each earned individual scores of 9.675 on the bars, and sophomore Sahara Gipson landed a career-high 9.7 on her routine.

“It’s never easy to be the away team because you’re at a disadvantage not knowing the arena and not really being familiar with the equipment,” coach Umme Salim-Beasley said. “You have to make quick adjustments. Kent State had a very bouncy floor, so you have to be able to adjust so you’re not flying out of bounds on your landing.”

Daniel Newhart can be reached at daniel.john.newhart@temple.edu.

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