Sophomore all-around Aya Mahgoub stood on the spring floor, getting ready to make one more tumble pass at practice on Thursday when coach Umme Salim-Beasley turned off the music and called all of her gymnasts together at the end of practice.
When her teammates noticed Mahgoub was missing, they stopped what they were doing and started cheering for her as she landed the pass with ease.
Five days prior, when Temple traveled to Tennessee to compete at the Ozone Invitational, Mahgoub made her way to the vault.
She heard her teammates cheering when she landed her routine. This time, the cheers were because she set her career-high score of 9.825 on the event during the Jan. 14 meet.
“It was pretty amazing,” Mahgoub said. “Landing and feeling good about yourself is one thing, but when you see your teammates running up to you and all of the hugs and high-fives, it’s just amazing.”
That wasn’t the only record Mahgoub set in the Owls’ second meet of the season.
Mahgoub, senior all-around Briana Odom, junior all-around Sahara Gipson and freshman all-arounds Yasmin Eubanks, Jaylene Everett and Daisy Todd set a new program vault record with a combined score of 48.875.
“We definitely knew that our difficulty level from last year to this year increased by at least a half a point,” Salim-Beasley said. “We knew they had the potential to do it, and we thought this would be the year we would be able to do it, but we just didn’t think it would be this early, which was a nice surprise.”
The previous record score of 48.65 was set in 2012 and tied in 2014.
The vault was the second event of the day for Owls at the invite, but they didn’t know they officially broke the record until after the meet when the coaching staff looked back at its record charts and compared scores.
“We were just keeping our focus from event to event,” Salim-Beasley said. “We knew we had a really good score, but we didn’t say, ‘Oh my gosh. I think this is a school record.’ We said ‘OK, let’s go get ready for the next event and do great there.’”
Odom didn’t find out about the record until she was checking her Twitter feed on the way home from the meet.
“I was looking on the Temple page and someone tweeted that we broke it,” Odom said. “I was like, ‘Oh, so we were right.’ We were just joking around about it, but now it’s been proven that we broke the record.”
“I personally didn’t know until probably two or three events later, when Sahara Gipson came and told me,” Mahgoub added. “It was pretty exciting.”
The Owls finished the meet in second place with a season-high score of 192.225, only 1.35 points behind the program record for highest team score, which is the next record the gymnasts hope to break.
The previous record of 193.575, which was set in 2004, hangs on the wall in Temple’s practice gym as constant motivation for the gymnasts.
In their home meet against Ursinus College on Sunday, the Owls scored 193.375, the second-best score in program history.
“We are coming for that record this season, I will tell you that,” Odom said Thursday. “I would love for a team that I am on to be up on that wall so when girls come in they see it and say, ‘Wow that 2017 team must have been really good,’ and I can say, ‘I was on that team.’”
Tessa Sayers can be reached at email@example.com.