The women’s gymnastics team concluded the 2005 season with a fifth-place finish at the ECAC Championships on Saturday. The Owls’ 190.125 score placed them four spots behind champion Towson. The Tigers won the meet with an overall score of 194.525.
It was the Owls’ first nine-team conference meet in Harrisonburg, Va., after leaving the Atlantic Ten Conference after last season.
Coach Ken Anderson said the gymnasts put forth a good effort, with their only troubles coming on balance beam. He and assistant coach Aaron Murphy were particularly impressed with senior Cheryl Cerminaro’s 9.775 on floor routine, the Owls’ highest-scoring event.
“Cheryl competed in three events, and did her job by hitting to the best of her ability,” Murphy said.
The Owls’ vault score of 48.150 was their highest of the season. But the team’s poor score on balance beam brought down the otherwise satisfactory performance on bars and vault, co-captain Lindsey Stern said.
“The falls on beam killed us,” she said. Stern was the Owls’ only all-around competitor, finishing with a score of 37.625.
Injuries were an issue going into the meet. Junior Deirdre Mattocks dislocated her right elbow on March 19, prior to the regular-season finale at Penn State, and did not compete Saturday. Sophomore Sarah Liebowitz continued to feel pain from a high-ankle sprain suffered March 5. The coaching staff decided to put her on uneven bars anyway, and she scored a 9.175.
“My coach expected a higher score, but [at least] I made the routine with no falls,” Liebowitz said. She did an easier routine because of the ankle injury, but said the pain was lessening.
Fortunately for the Owls, there were no injuries Saturday.
Also on bars, senior Erin Davis and freshman Christine McNeil each scored a 9.60, and the Owls’ team score for the event was 47.875.
The 2005 season got better over time, according to the coaches and gymnasts.
“It started off rocky, and we had a lot of work ahead of us,” Murphy said. “Every meet, we got better and better as the season went on.”
Stern agreed, calling the team’s lineup at the beginning of the season “shaky.”
“We improved a lot and had a pretty good season overall,” Stern said. “Our depth helped us [get through] the injuries.”
In her final college meet, an emotional Alexis Zafferes said this year’s team was her favorite since arriving at Temple four years ago. She posted a team-best 9.725 score on vault.
“I loved the team we had this year,” she said. “My one wish is for them to keep [improving] and get better.”
Next year, junior Jennifer Blatt said she wants the incoming freshman to provide the upperclassmen with more of a challenge.
“This year, the upperclassmen led the team,” Blatt said. “Next year, I want the freshmen to give us a run for our money and show us what they’re made of.”
Dan Murphy can be reached at email@example.com.