Owls fall for second straight week

The host and rival Penn State easily handled Temple.

Men’s gymnastics lost their second dual meet in a row Saturday afternoon as Penn State beat Temple on their home floor 431.550 to 401.600.

Despite the 30-point margin, coach Fred Turoff was happy with how his team improved from last week.

“Overall I’m happy that we did well at the end of the meet,” he said. “Pommel horse was decent for us that four of the six guys stayed on, but we counted a fall there, so that’s not good. And then we went to floor exercise and I couldn’t believe it, five guys had falls on their routines. That’s abysmal.”

Floor exercise was by far the worst event for the Owls, as their team score was 63.900, almost six points less than the Nittany Lions’ score of 69.850. Temple only had one gymnast score above a 13 in the event, which was senior Brendan Williams with 13.650.

“They have to learn to stay on their feet better [on floor],” Turoff said. “Most of the falls occurred on dismounts. Last weekend we were much better on floor. This week, the training was decent. But here, some will blame it on the different feel of the floor, but I don’t buy that. The floor’s going to be a little bit different, but you’re going to have to adapt when you go to another gym.”

On the other side of things, vault was Temple’s best event, due to a team score of 70.000. Three gymnasts scored above 14 in the event, and Turoff said the success was credited to the same thing that was a problem on the floor.

“They stayed on their feet pretty much,” Turoff said. “We didn’t have a lot of jumping around on landings, only one guy took multiple steps. And their vaults are getting a little bit better. That was nice that we were able to score 70 in one event.”

Both bar events were a problem last week for the Owls in McGonigle Hall. This week, the Owls scored a 67.600 in the parallel bars, led by sophomore Jon Rydzefski’s score of 13.850. On the high bar, Jon Rydzefski again led Temple with an individual score of 14.150, part of a team score of 66.750.

“Last week we were terrible in parallel bars, because four guys fell off,” Turoff said. This meet, everyone stayed on. Everybody stayed on high bar too, which was very nice.”

The biggest gap between Temple and Penn State came on the rings. Evan Eigner had a team-best score of 14.350, which also was the highest score for Temple in any event. But the Owls’ team score of 66.250 was more than eight points worse than their opponent, as the Nittany Lions tallied a 74.850 in the same event.

Temple scored a 67.100 in the pommel horse, compared to Penn State’s score of 72.850. Brendan Williams had the team-high score of 14.050 in the event.

Comparing the coaches of both teams, Penn State’s head coach Randy Jepson is quite similar to Fred Turoff. Each have coached over 30 years, and both preach the importance of the idea of the student-athlete.

“Penn State has always been a strong program, and we’re the only two programs left in Pennsylvania,” Turoff said. “So of course there’s a rivalry towards them, but it’s weighted towards them because they tend to have a much more supportive program then we do. But we appreciate each other’s gymnastics, and they see my guys are going to do some good stuff. And we get to see what they do, and hopefully my guys will learn a little bit when they see better gymnasts and say, oh that’s what we want to do, come up to that standard. The longer a coach coaches, the more you get to appreciate what everyone else does.”

Next week, Temple returns home to face University of Illinois at Chicago and Air Force Academy. The meet starts on Saturday at 7:30 pm at McGonigle Hall.

Steve Bohnel can be reached at steven.bohnel@temple.edu or on Twitter @SteveSportsGuy1.

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