Following last week’s victory, Temple University gymnastics improved its score to secure another meet win.
The Owls (7-6) posted a 194.200 score to beat the University of North Carolina and the University of Pittsburgh. Temple finished last in the vault and floor exercise but its strong first-place performances in the balance beam and uneven parallel bars carried the Owls to victory.
The strong performance allowed the Owls to defeat North Carolina and Pittsburgh, which are ranked No. 33 and No. 36, respectively, by the NCAA’s College Gymnastics Association.
“The team is finally realizing just how strong they can be,” coach Josh Nilson said. “We’ve been trying to cut out the big mistakes from our performances, and now we can begin to focus on the little things.”
Nilson wanted the team to eliminate their mistakes, and the Owls were close to mistake-free on Friday, he said.
Temple won the balance beam event with sophomore Monica Servidio recording a career-high 9.900 score to tie for second. Junior Jazmyn Estrella and freshman Ariana Castrence tied for fifth in the beam event with a 9.825 score.
Servidio and Estrella’s 9.750 tied with two others for second place in the uneven parallel bars.
After their sweep in the home opener on Jan, 27, the Owls maintained their composure and remained focused on Friday.
“They were calm, more so than I have ever seen them this year, heading into this meet,” Nilson added. “After doing well at home, it was kind of like hitting a reset button. They were collected and motivated.”
Nilson set a goal for the team during the week: to score more than 9.525 in each performance. If an athlete records a score below 9.525, their performance would not be recorded on the final score sheet.
“24-for-24 is now going to be a season-long goal,” Nilson stated. “We need to stay calm and make improvements slowly, but at this point in the season we need to be 24-for-24, and we will continue to eliminate mistakes over the next few meets.”
Temple ranks No. 48 in the country, but Nilson believes the team will consistently improve to move up the rankings.
“We are finally getting the scores we deserve,” Nilson said. “Both of these teams were very good, but we knew we could compete with them, and we were the best team out there today.”
The Owls will face No. 35 University of Maryland and No. 27 West Virginia University on Sunday in a quad meet hosted by Penn. Temple defeated Penn earlier in the season 194.150-190.100 on Jan. 27.