Owls prepare to host ECAC championships

ABI REIMOLD TTN Junior gymnast Allan Malone competes at a home meet.

The No. 10 men’s gymnastics team defends its national ranking at home.

The men’s gymnastics team competed in the final home meet of the season, honoring eight seniors on senior day with wins against No. 11 Air Force and Brockport (N.Y.) on Sunday, Feb. 26.

Coach Fred Turoff said he tried to work as many seniors into the rotation during the tri-meet as possible. Senior Chris Mooney led the way with a first place score of 83.100 in the all around competition, while other seniors contributed to the win.

“Chris Mooney had a pretty good day,” Turoff said. “Matt Martin had a very good rings routine and did a great vault, Adam Al-Rokh is a steady guy who gave us performances where we needed them and Blake Collins also did well.”

“It’s nice to have guys like that and the seniors are the ones who are supposed to be consistent and should know how to compete and do well,” Turoff added.

Each meet takes more than just physical strength and stamina, as there is a lot of time dedicated to preparing for each event.

“A lot of us do mental imagery, we sit down and picture our routines going through our heads,” junior Alex Tighe said. “If you do that it really helps.”

“Competing in the home stadium is a really nice feeling with your friends and teammates around really calms your nerves,” Tighe added.

Tighe entered the meet as the No. 11 gymnast in the country on the horizontal bar with an average score of 14.050, which leads the Eastern College Athletic Conference. The Wisconsin native is the only returning gymnast on the team who competed at the NCAA Championships last year, where he placed 28th on the parallel bar.

Turoff said Tighe made strides in the parallel bar during the tri-meet, as he finished third for the team with a 13.900.

“First parallel bar he hit in its entirety so far this season so it was very good to see that,” Turoff said. “[Tighe] is one of those guys I count on, he’s terrific on parallel bars and horizontal bars and he is hitting pommel for us so that’s very nice to have.”

By the end of the season, Tighe said he wants to be at his peak condition in time for the conference championship which will be held at McGonigle Hall.

“I’m trying a lot of new difficulties on my events and it’s coming along in the gym,” Tighe said. “In the meets I’m taking my time and hopefully by the end of the season it’ll be there.”

Next up for the Owls will be a road trip to Army for a dual meet on March 2. Temple, who is currently No. 1 in its conference, will compete at home again at the ECAC Championships on April 6-7 for a two-day meet, which Turoff said may bring a large crowd.

“I hope that the university community will respond and come and see the meet,” Turoff said. “We’re going to have terrific competition. I’d love to see 1,000 people in the stands. It’s going to be a terrific meet.”

Coeli Danella can be reached at coeli.danella@temple.edu.

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