Earlier this season, coach Josh Nilson sat down and met with two players to discuss the Owls’ plan for road meets.
Senior Morgan Fridey and freshman Jacqueline Terpak compete for the same roster spot, because only a limited number of athletes can travel to road meets. Nilson decided the best course of action would be to leave one of the two back in Philadelphia. They backed Nilson’s decision, partly because of their history as former club teammates, he said.
“It definitely helped that they knew each other before and wanted the best for each other because that’s a difficult spot to be in when you’re trying to fill lineup slots,” Nilson added.
Terpak and Fridey have known each other since 2013 when they met at Prestige Gymnastics in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Terpak chose Temple because knowing she’d have a former teammate with her added comfort, she said.
Since the 2014-15 season, at least one athlete on the Temple University gymnastics roster competed for Prestige Gymnastics.
“[Morgan and Jacqueline] are really supportive of each other, having similar backgrounds, and it definitely shows in competition,” Nilson said. “They are very supportive of whatever decisions I make, and they’re always in each other’s corner.”
Back in 2016, Fridey and Nilson were trying to get Terpak to go to different schools. Fridey wanted Terpak to join her at Temple, while Nilson was recruiting Terpak to Utah State where he was an assistant coach from 2013-16.
When he was at Utah State University, Nilson recruited Terpak heavily because he learned about Prestige’s track record of producing college gymnasts, he said.
“Prestige does a tremendous job of preparing their athletes for the next level,” Nilson added. “It’s pretty rare to find a club that sends athletes to college every year or every other year, and Prestige does that.”
After talking to former Prestige Gymnastics members like Fridey, Terpak committed to Temple because she wanted to stay close to her hometown of York, Pennsylvania.
Temple is a “popular” destination for Prestige Gymnastics because of its proximity to the area, said Jennifer Fatta who is the owner and head coach of the club with her husband.
“Temple has done a great job of recruiting locally and promoting itself as a strong program in the area,” Fatta added.
Terpak saw an added incentive because she and Fridey built a strong friendship before college. Terpak and Fridey were “close” friends as teammates, Fatta said.
Fridey started her college career elsewhere, but like Terpak, proximity to home drew her to Temple.
She started her gymnastics career at Ball State University but transferred to Temple after her freshman season to attend college closer to home.
“We both had previous teammates who had competed at Temple and they both told us how much they loved it and how good of a program it was,” Terpak said. “Being so close to home and already knowing people I knew I would be happy there and feel comfortable.”
Besides the proximity to home, Terpak and Fridey chose to attend Temple because of a recent line of athletes from Prestige Gymnastics who came to the university.
“Prestige did a really good job of preparing me for the next level of Gymnastics and having to prepare the younger athletes now.” Fridey said.