Deirdre Mattocks Bertotti said her transition into running a meet as interim head coach of the women’s gymnastics team for the first time was a smooth one. With coach Aaron Murphy currently serving an indefinite suspension, the 2006 Temple graduate took the reins in the Ken Anderson Memorial Invitational on Saturday afternoon.
Temple would finish in second place with a total score of 191.700, while Bridgeport came out on top, posting a score of 193.575. West Chester placed third, scoring 190.575. While Mattocks Bertotti specialized in coaching the Owls on the balance beam as an assistant, being familiar with all the events helped ease her along, she said.
“It was really just trying to get to know the girls timing and exactly where their mats need to be,” Mattocks Bertotti said. “I understand the skills and all the rules [for all the events].”
While the Owls’ total was roughly a half-point lower than their season high from a week ago in a meet at the University of Pennsylvania, Saturday marked the second meet of the 2015 season that they would hit their goal of 190.
Dealing with the news of Murphy’s suspension wasn’t easy for some members of the team in preparing for Saturday’s meet. It was announced on Tuesday that Murphy would not be coaching as the athletic department’s investigation into violation of department policy continued. On Thursday, Temple brought in former Olympic gymnast Bill Roth as an interim assistant coach.
“I just hope that we can all get through this,” sophomore Briana Odom said. “This meet today shows that we are stronger and we can still come together.”
After the meet on Saturday, Temple honored its seniors, as the invitational marked the final meet of the 2015 season at McGonigle Hall. The Owls will finish the regular season with four consecutive road meets before the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference Championships at Yale.
The Owls next meet is Feb. 22 at Ursinus. Temple came out on top 189.900-189.570 when the two schools met on Jan. 24 at McGonigle Hall.
Greg Frank can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @g_frank6.