The women’s gymnastics team finally saw its string of first place finishes end Saturday at Rutgers, as the Owls placed third among four teams.
Penn State won the meet, posting a team score of 195.825. Host Rutgers finished in second (194.575), followed by Temple (191.950), with Ursinus rounding out the group (184.825).
Despite the third-place finish, coach Aaron Murphy pointed to a long-standing record that his team has now matched.
“After that win against Ursinus, that put us with 11 straight wins,” Murphy said. “So we tied the all-time record set by the 1989 team. That’s pretty spectacular for us.”
Murphy said that floor was again a strong point for his team, and the Owls’ score of 48.625 was their best score of all four events. Senior Jasmine Johnson led the way, earning a 9.800. Johnson’s performance on floor was also a team-high for the entire competition.
Conversely, Temple’s worst event was on the bars with a team score of 47.325. Senior Heather Zaniewski earned a 9.725 to lead the Owls in this event.
On the balance beam, Sylvie Borschel’s score of 9.750 was a team-high. Temple posted a 47.925 in the event, which was led by host Rutgers, who compiled a team score of 49.000.
“In beam and bars we counted a fall,” Murphy said. “So if we were to hit [in those events] that would have been our all-time highest score. We would have went really, really big.”
One student-athlete who continues to be consistent is sophomore Reagan Oliveri. The all-arounder posted a total score of 38.300, which was good for fifth out of nine competitors in that category.
“I don’t want to jinx her,” Murphy said. “But she is one of our most consistent girls, she’s solid across the board. As long as training and practice goes smoothly, I think she’s going to stay a very consistent performer.”
Two other gymnasts that stood out on the score sheet were Alexis Gunzelman and Sidney Sanabria-Robles of Penn State. They scored a 9.900 on the floor exercise and vault, respectively. Gunzelman also won the individual all-around with a score of 39.400.
Looking ahead, Murphy continues to emphasize the fact that the focus for his team is to “keep outdoing themselves”. However, as Temple heads to Ursinus College in Collegeville next weekend, he does expect a favorable head-to-head result.
“We’re going to go in there and obviously look for that win,” Murphy said. “But like I said before, for us it’s all about points. So we just have to focus on us, and maybe get our girls to each gain one extra tenth in each routine. If they can do that, we’ll be two points up than we were last weekend.”
Temple has already beaten Ursinus head-to-head twice this season. If the Owls can beat Ursinus next week, they’ll break that record set in 1989 with their 12th straight victory.
Steve Bohnel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @SteveSportsGuy1.