In its first meet since being stranded 80 miles outside of Pittsburgh for nearly 27 hours, Temple visited West Chester University Friday night for a quad meet with the host West Chester, Ursinus College and Centenary College.
The Owls earned a second place finish with a team score of 189.575, finishing behind the Rams who posted a 190.875.
“I think we lost a little bit of momentum not competing last weekend,” coach Umme Salim-Beasley said. “We kept that in mind, knowing that we may be out of sorts a little bit because our bodies are used to being in competition and, then we had several days off with the bus situation. So it did change things around for us a little bit.”
After arriving at the competition, the Owls’ coaching staff received an X-Ray of sophomore Gina Tucker’s foot, which revealed she had a fracture and would not be able to compete.
Tucker has the team’s highest individual vault score this season, posting a career-high 9.7 in the Owls’ victory over William & Mary University Jan. 15.
In addition, sophomore Kerry Arone remained sidelined for the second consecutive meet with a dislocated thumb.
Tucker’s injury meant Temple lost its floor team’s second alternate. Rather than having six gymnasts in the lineup and the judges taking the top five scores, each score for the Owls would be considered toward its team total.
“Every single routine had to count,” Salim-Beasley said. “The girls knew that and, they didn’t let that fluster them at all. They knew that they had to get out there and they had to have good routines and that’s what they did.”
The bar team had the highest individual score posting a 47.70. Junior Briana Odom and sophomore Sahara Gibson total a 9.65 for their routines.
The beam team began the night led by second alternate and sophomore Alexa Phillip’s 9.75. Odom and sophomore Kayla Kennedy had matching scores of 9.65 and senior captain Reagan Oliveri rounded out the scoring with a 9.6.
Floor followed, with Odom earning a 9.75 followed by freshman India Anderson’s 9.55.
The vault team was led by Gipson and Odom’s scores of 9.65.
“We had a good performance,” coach Umme Salim-Beasley said. “The girls stepped up, moved into the spots that were available and did the best that they can.”
Another thing the Owls needed to adjust to was the gym the meet was held in.
Normally meets are held in an arena setting, but West Chester’s practice facility was the host site Friday night.
“It’s definitely not the type of setting that we’re used to competing in,” Salim-Beasley said. “To be in a small gym where it was very closed in and, there wasn’t a lot of places to move around was definitely not ideal. The girls handled it well, it just doesn’t feel the same compared to a large arena.”
Temple will host its first meet of the season at McGonigle Hall Friday Feb. 6, the Ken Anderson Memorial Invitational.
The meet begins at 1 pm and will include West Chester, Ursinus, the University of Pennsylvania and Southern Connecticut State University.
Dan Newhart can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @dannynewhart